Being a celebrity has its benefits—bulging bank accounts, private jets, assistants who cater to your every whim—but it also comes with some pretty key negatives, such as being under a constant microscope. It seems the more famous you get, the more everything you say, do, and even wear become topics of conversation—and in some cases, can cause a great deal of controversy.
This is especially evident in the wardrobe arena—lots of unthinking stars have made odd choices and worn ensembles that have been deemed culturally insensitive by everyone from civil rights organizations to bloggers. The most recent example? Former Disney queen Selena Gomez, who’s being hounded for an apology by Hindu rights groups following her MTV Movie Awards performance last Sunday where she wore a bindi on her forehead.
Whether on the red carpet or in a music video, it’s clear that wearing the wrong outfit can get stars into some serious hot water. Of course, this begs the question: Where are all the stars’ handlers, and publicists, and entourages, and image advisors when they really need them?
Click through the slideshow above for a look at the 10 most controversial and offensive celebrity outfits ever!
Selena Gomez is the latest star to catch flack for a culturally-insensitive look. The singer performed at the MTV Movie Awards wearing a bindi, a traditional Hindu symbol, on her forehead, a gesture largely unappreciated by Hindu groups. "It is not meant to be thrown around loosely for seductive effects or as a fashion accessory aiming at mercantile greed," Hindu statesman Rajan Zed told WENN.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Not surprisingly, Chris Brown raised eyebrows in 2012, when the already-controversial singer decided it would be a good idea to go out in a Taliban costume for Halloween, posting the above photograph to Instagram. His clique all wore similar looks, and the Internet went wild with comments about how disgraceful he is.
For their single "Looking Hot," No Doubt staged a "Cowboys and Indians" themed music video featuring lead singer Gwen Stefani in Native American garb. Native American groups were offended based on the video's stereotypical portrayal of the culture, and the band eventually pulled it from the air. Their hotly anticipated album hasn't gained much traction—and it could have something to do with the bad press they received over this incident.
Back in 2005, royal party boy Prince Harry found himself in hot water after a newspaper published photographs of him at a party wearing a Nazi-inspired uniform complete with a swastika armband. The highly offensive outfit made a worldwide splash (and left most people wondering how this could have happened), and Harry eventually apologized for his insensitive behavior.
After a drunken anti-Semitic rant that left former Dior creative director John Galliano unemployed, he resurfaced earlier this year in an ensemble that the New York Post claimed was mocking Hasidic people. Numerous civil rights organizations felt the same way—but it was never confirmed that this was the designer's intention. Known for his eccentric style, there's a chance it was all a big misunderstanding. However, due to his prior reputation, many are unforgiving.
New York Post
Weeks after the Newtown massacre left the world devastated, Lady Gaga appeared onstage at the Born This Way tour in Vancouver wearing a bra with two plastic assault rifles attached to it. People were naturally furious, and felt it was far too soon after the horrific incident to be utilizing guns as props given the political and moral issues surrounding them.
Last year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show featured Karlie Kloss in a feather headdress paired with traditional Native American patterns and accessories. Native American groups caught wind of the outfit and were furious. Victoria's Secret not only apologized, they removed the look from the televised broadcast due to the controversy it caused.
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Although Lady Gaga's meat dress was celebrated by some as an enormous fashion risk and statement, many were displeased with her choice. PETA obviously had some not-so-kind words for the star, and a vegan group suggested that it may even be anti-vegan. Gaga responded by saying that the dress was a protest for the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the United States military. The meat dress is now being displayed at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., but it was a controversial road to get there.
Ted Danson wore one of the most notoriously offensive outfits of all time back in 1993. In a tuxedo and blackface at then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg's Friars Club Roast, Danson made the crowd and Goldberg laugh, but afterwards his behavior was met with a storm of criticism. Talk show host Montell Williams famously said, "I was confused as to whether or not I was at a Friars event or at a rally for the KKK and Aryan Nation."
Photo via Entertainment Weekly