FROM Sepp Blatter to Donald Trump, we count down the people that have been making the headlines this year for all the wrong reasons
Where to start with The Donald? The Republican candidate frontrunner for president has been left no stone unturned in his attempts to shock and awe the American electorate as he tramples towards the White House. After a Fox News-chaired debate where Trump was asked to address allegations of misogyny, he attacked the show’s anchor, Megyn Kelly, and said she had “blood coming out of her... wherever.” In another unguarded moment, Trump said Mexico was bringing “drugs, crimes and rapists” into the United States. And more recently, he called for a ban on Muslims entering the country as he claimed Britain had a “massive” problem with individuals who practised Islam. Oh, and he’s joked about wanting to date his daughter (yuck). Tweeting his support for shrill, reason-hating columnist Katie Hopkins was the cherry on top of a vile cake.
In August, Martin Shkreli bought the rights to distribute a drug called Daraprim, a drug used to treat and manage HIV. Overnight, the then-Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO increased its price by 5,000 per cent, which drew angry criticism from Hillary Clinton, and pretty much every other human being with access to a Twitter feed and a conscience. Shkreli, now widely known as “Pharma bro”, told Forbes magazine that his only regret was not raising the price higher.
Before his arrest on fraud charges last week, Shkreli was found to be the mystery buyer of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, a limited edition double album sold for $2 million. Holding the only copy in existence, Skhreli had teased glimses of it to disbelieving fans, and had hit out at the hip-hop group’s leader, RZA, for expressing regret at the album’s sale.
It’s been a few months now, but it still hurts. South African rugby official Craig Joubert dashed Scotland’s hopes of a World Cup semi-final spot after awarding a contentious – and later discredited – last minute penalty to opponents Australia, which saw them win by a single point. If that wasn’t enough, instead of waiting around to shake the hands of the players at full-time, Joubert quickly darted down the tunnel to a chorus of boos. He later admitted doing so in order to avoid an inevitable confrontation with a squad of very, very angry Scots.
Sepp Blatter was today banned from footballing activity for eight years by Fifa, a decision reached by an ethics committee that he had appointed after intense pressure to do something about frequent and longstanding accusations of corruption in world football’s governing body. The ban was made on the basis of a £1.3 million “disloyal payment” made by Blatter to Michel Platini, also banned for eight years, in 2011. But what still sticks in the craw is the farce of the bids for the World Cups of 2018 and 2022, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively. Blatter admitted that an agreement had already been reached with Russia to host the tournament, effectively circumventing a lengthy and expensive bidding process. The Swiss continues to deny any wrong-doing.
A perennial fixture on lists such as these, Katie Hopkins nevertheless outdid herself in 2015 with toxic remarks about refugees fleeing Syria. According to the Mail Online columnist, a photo of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi laying dead on a Turkish beach had been “staged”, and in a column for the Sun newspaper she had written this about the plight of those fleeing the Middle East: “No, I don’t care. Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in the water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care.” A petition to swap Hopkins for 50,000 refugees launched soon after gathered more than 60,000 signatures. At the end of last year, she also managed to offend most of Scotland by referring to nurse Pauline Cafferkey as an “Ebola bomb”.