In September, seven months after TMZ first released a video showing Rice, 27, dragging his fiancée (now wife), Janay Palmer, out of an elevator in Atlantic City—and six months after the assault charge against Palmer was dropped by police—a second TMZ video emerged showing an enraged Rice punching Palmer out cold in the elevator. The NFL finally took disciplinary action, suspending him indefinitely and changing how they deal with domestic assault cases. Rice is now seeking reinstatement, though ESPN recently debunked reports suggesting the Indianapolis Colts could take him on. With Janay doing the talk-show circuit and downplaying the assault, some think Rice could ultimately return to the gridiron.
Just last year, the New Jersey governor was a shoo-in for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. But the tables turned in January after he became entangled in “Bridgegate,” the scandal in which top Christie staffers created massive traffic jams in Fort Lee, N.J., in September 2013 by closing the highway toll lanes to the George Washington Bridge. Chaos ensued: kids were late to school and emergency vehicles were held up. Federal investigators are still examining the incident. Christie vehemently denies any involvement but continues to face heavy scrutiny from watchdog groups and news outlets for his lack of transparency.
In April, recordings of racist comments he made privately to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano—in which he asked her not to bring black people to his basketball games—were made public, and billionaire Sterling lost what mattered most to him: the L.A. Clippers, which he’d owned for the past 33 seasons. Later that month, Sterling was officially banned from the NBA for life—including attending games—and fined $2.5 million for his misconduct. He’s dropped the lawsuit against his wife, which accused her of fraud in the sale of the Clippers, but his antitrust lawsuit against the league for $1 billion in damages is ongoing.
Nobody went rogue better than real-life cowboy Cliven Bundy, the rabble-rousing rancher from Bunkerville, Nev., who waged war against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in April to stop it from rounding up his cattle, which continued to graze on public land despite a court order prohibiting it. For a time, the standoff was successful, as the feds have yet to return, sealing his reputation as a right-wing hero. But that changed after a series of racist remarks (“are they better off as slaves, picking cotton . . . or are they better off under government subsidy?”) and bizarre support ads for the Independent American Party.
It was more than a war of words that broke out between online retailer giant Amazon and publishing house Hachette when Amazon tried to take more control over ebook pricing and a bigger cut of sales. Amazon hit below the belt by delaying Hachette’s shipments and reducing stock availability, much to the anger of authors, including Stephen Colbert and Stephen King, who railed against Amazon for compromising their livelihood. It looks as if Amazon and Hachette may have a storybook ending after all, as they came to a pricing agreement in November. But the bookselling giant nonetheless emerged a villain—many high-profile authors are still appealing to Amazon to change its business practices.
It’s been a busy year for Justin Bieber, but not because of music. Instead of releasing an album, as he’s done every year since 2010, the Biebs has been in and out of jail: arrested for the first time in January in Miami for a DUI and driving on an expired licence, then again in September for dangerous driving in Stratford, Ont., his hometown. Other transgressions on his rap sheet include a misdemeanour conviction for egging his neighbour’s home this summer in California and an order to appear in court in Argentina for allegedly assaulting a photographer there last year.
Halloween in France this year was the most terrifying ever—armed clowns have wreaked havoc in cities across the country since mid-October. Police have made numerous arrests, including of teens dressed as clowns wielding knives and pistols, and another clownsuit-clad man who beat a stranger with a crowbar. The phenomenon has incited anti-clown vigilantism, and professional clowning troupes are worried about their reputations. Police aren’t sure what sparked the episodes but point to a YouTube video featuring a prankster clown, and a recent episode of American Horror Story starring a clown killer.