Posts tagged ‘Controversy’

October 17, 2022

Obama Tan Suit Controversy


The Obama tan suit controversy refers to a live, televised press conference on August 28, 2014 where U.S. President Barack Obama announced he was increasing the military response against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria while wearing a tan suit. His suit choice sparked significant attention and led to media and social media criticism. The issue remained prominent in the media for several days with the issue being particularly widely discussed on talk shows.

A light-colored suit is considered casual summer wear and such attire was seen by conservative media outlet Fox News as inappropriate due to the gravitas of the subject matter. The controversy was seen in the context of the slow news season before the run-up to the 2014 election campaign. The suit received mixed reviews from a fashion perspective.

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October 16, 2022



Deflategate was a National Football League (NFL) controversy involving the allegation that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ordered the deliberate deflation of footballs used in the Patriots’ victory against the Indianapolis Colts during the 2014 AFC Championship Game on January 18, 2015. The controversy resulted in Brady being suspended for four games, while the team was fined $1 million and forfeited two draft selections in 2016.

Brady appealed but eventually agreed to sit out the first four games of the 2016 season, which concluded with the Patriots winning Super Bowl LI and Brady being named MVP. The season also saw the NFL change the procedure for monitoring football pressure.

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October 10, 2020



The Hurricane Dorian–Alabama controversy, also referred to as Sharpiegate, arose from a comment made by President Donald Trump on September 1, 2019, as Hurricane Dorian approached the U.S. mainland. Mentioning states that would likely be impacted by the storm, he incorrectly included Alabama, which by then was known not to be under threat from the storm.

After many residents of Alabama called the local weather bureau to ask about it, the bureau issued a reassurance that Alabama was not expected to be hit by the storm. Over the following week, Trump repeatedly insisted his comment had been correct. On September 4, he showed reporters a weather map which had been altered with a Sharpie marker to show the hurricane’s track threatening Alabama.

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July 7, 2016

Mattress Performance

emma Sulkowicz

Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight)’ was a work of endurance performance art by Emma Sulkowicz, conducted as her senior thesis during the final year of her visual arts degree at Columbia University in New York City.

Begun in September 2014, the piece involved her carrying a 50-lb mattress – of the kind Columbia uses in its dorms – wherever she went on campus. She said the piece would end when a student she alleges raped her in her dorm room in 2012 was expelled from or otherwise left the university. Sulkowicz carried the mattress until the end of the Spring semester as well as to her graduating ceremony in May 2015.

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March 21, 2016



Manspreading, or man-sitting, is the practice of sitting in public transport with legs wide apart, thereby covering more than one seat. Both this posture and usage of the term ‘manspreading’ have caused some internet criticism, and debates. The term first appeared in public debate when a feminist anti-manspreading campaign was started on Tumblr in 2013. The Oxford English Dictionary added it as a word in August 2015.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York and Sound Transit of Seattle instituted poster campaigns encouraging respectful posture when other passengers have to stand due to crowding on buses and trains. The MTA campaign carried slogans like ‘Dude, stop the spread please!’

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February 6, 2014

Wardrobe Malfunction


A wardrobe malfunction is accidental exposure of intimate parts. It is different from indecent exposure or flashing, as the latter ones imply a deliberate exposure. There has been a long history of such incidents, though the term itself was coined in the mid-2000s and has become one of the most common fashion faux pas. In everyday context it often happens as a ‘nipple slip’ to women and is relatively common, but wardrobe malfunction suggests a public event or performance, particularly when there are allegations that it was deliberately staged for publicity reasons.

The American Dialect Society defines it as ‘an unanticipated exposure of bodily parts.’ Global Language Monitor, which tracks usage of words on the internet and in newspapers worldwide, identified the term as the top Hollywood contribution to English in 2004, surpassing words like ‘girlie men’ and ‘Yo!’

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August 19, 2013

More popular than Jesus

john lennon by Sebastian Kruger

More popular than Jesus‘ was a controversial remark made by musician John Lennon of the Beatles in 1966: Lennon said that Christianity was in decline and that the Beatles had become more popular than Jesus Christ.

When the quote appeared in the American teen magazine ‘Datebook,’ angry reactions flared up from Christian communities. Lennon had originally made the remark in March 1966 during interviews with Maureen Cleave on the lifestyles of the four individual Beatles. When Lennon’s words were first published, in the ‘London Evening Standard’ in the United Kingdom, they had provoked no public reaction.

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August 17, 2013

Just watch me

Pierre Trudeau

Just watch me‘ is a phrase made famous by Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on October 13, 1970, during the October Crisis (two kidnappings of government officials by Québécois separatists). The term is still regularly used in Canadian political discussion. Trudeau, who had in previous years been a strong proponent of civil liberties, spoke of the need for drastic action to restore order in Quebec.

When questioned by CBC reporter Tim Ralfe on how far he would go in the suspension of civil liberties to maintain order, Trudeau replied ‘Well, just watch me.’ Three days later he invoked the ‘War Measures Act,’ which led to police action against many Quebec dissidents and great public controversy.

April 1, 2013

Meat Dress


American pop singer Lady Gaga wore a dress made of raw beef, which was commonly referred to by the media as the meat dress, to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Designed by Argentine designer Franc Fernandez and styled by Nicola Formichetti, the dress was condemned by animal rights groups, and named by ‘Time’ as the top fashion statement of 2010. The press speculated on the originality of the meat dress idea, with comparisons made to similar images found in contemporary art and popular culture. Architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, for example, had designed a meat dress in 2006.

As with her other dresses, it was archived, but went on display in 2011 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after being preserved by taxidermists as a type of jerky. Gaga explained following the awards ceremony that the dress was a statement about one’s need to fight for what one believes in, and highlighted her distaste for the US military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy.

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March 7, 2013


Payola [pey-oh-luh], in the American music industry, is the illegal practice of payment or other inducement by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on music radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast.

A radio station can play a specific song in exchange for money, but this must be disclosed on the air as being sponsored airtime, and that play of the song should not be counted as a ‘regular airplay.’ The term has come to refer to any secret payment made to cast a product in a favorable light (such as obtaining positive reviews). Some radio stations report spins of the newest and most popular songs to industry publications. The number of times the songs are played can influence the perceived popularity of a song.

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February 13, 2013

Heart Attack Grill

The Heart Attack Grill is an American hamburger restaurant in Las Vegas (formerly located in Chandler, Arizona). It has courted controversy by serving high-calorie menu items with deliberately provocative names coupled with waitresses in sexually provocative clothing. The establishment is a hospital theme restaurant: waitresses (‘nurses’) take orders (‘prescriptions’) from the customers (‘patients’).

A tag is wrapped on the patient’s wrist showing which foods they order and a ‘doctor’ examines the ‘patients’ with a stethoscope. The menu includes ‘Single,’ ‘Double,’ ‘Triple,’ and ‘Quadruple Bypass’ hamburgers, ranging from a half pound to two pounds of beef (up to about 8,000 calories), all-you-can-eat ‘Flatliner Fries’ (cooked in pure lard), beer and tequila (shots are served in four ounce novelty syringes.), ‘butter-fat Shakes,’ and soft drinks such as Jolt and Mexican-bottled Coca-Cola made with real sugar. Customers over 350 lb in weight eat for free if they weigh in with a doctor or nurse before each burger. Beverages and to-go orders are excluded and sharing food is also not allowed for the free food deal.

December 22, 2012

Circumcision Controversies

foreskin man

Male circumcision has often been, and remains, the subject of controversy on a number of grounds—including religious, ethical, sexual, and health related. The Ancient Greeks and Romans valued the foreskin and were opposed to circumcision – an opposition inherited by the canon and secular legal systems of the Christian West that lasted at least through to the Middle Ages. Traditional Judaism and Islam have advocated male circumcision as a religious obligation.

The ethics of circumcision are sometimes controversial. From the mid-19th century, there has been advocacy in some Anglophone countries on medical grounds, such as the prevention of masturbation and ‘reflex neurosis.’ Modern proponents argue that circumcision reduces the risks of a range of infections and diseases as well as conferring sexual benefits. In contrast, opponents, particularly of infant circumcision, often question its effectiveness in preventing disease, and object to subjecting newborn boys, without their consent, to a procedure they consider to have debatable benefits, significant risks, and a potentially negative impact on general health and later sexual enjoyment.

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