Bad eggs, featuring Vladimir Putin, George Zimmerman and several terrorists

The worst villains in 2013

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Photo illustration by Sarah MacKinnon

Photo illustration by Sarah MacKinnon

Charles Saatchi

He brushed it off as a “playful tiff” with his wife, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson. But the photograph, as usual, tells the truth. The British businessman and renowned art collector reached across a restaurant table and squeezed his wife’s throat, the fear in her eyes captured by a paparazzo’s camera. Lawson moved out a few days later, while police issued an assault caution against Saatchi.

George Zimmerman

A neighbourhood watch volunteer in Florida, Zimmerman spotted a “punk” during one of his patrols: a black teenager carrying a bag of Skittles. Moments later, Trayvon Martin was dead. Zimmerman claimed he shot the 17-year-old in self-defence, and was ultimately acquitted. But in the eyes of many Americans, Zimmerman got away with murder. Now, just four months after the verdict, he was arrested again and charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing a gun at his girlfriend.

Edward Burkhardt

When a train derailed in the small Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic—triggering multiple, massive explosions that killed 47 people—the president of the railway company added even more fuel to the flames with his cavalier remarks. Asked how he could sleep at night, Burkhardt replied: “If you’re tired, eventually you’ll sleep.” When asked how rich he is, he said not as wealthy as the week before.

Richie Incognito

The Miami Dolphins offensive lineman—a monster of a man who is anything but incognito—was suspended after allegedly harassing a teammate so incessantly that he stormed out of practice and never came back. Reports say Incognito sent racist and threatening text messages to Jonathan Martin, and even forced him to fork over $15,000 for a team trip he didn’t attend. Some bullies never grow up.

Bob Nazarian

The owner of Elliot Lake’s doomed shopping mall finally took the witness stand, but his appearance at a public inquiry only reinforced the feeling around town: that he deserves much of the blame for the tragic roof collapse that killed two women. Nazarian admitted that he didn’t thoroughly repair the roof because the mall was a “black hole” and he doesn’t throw money “down the drain.”

Vladimir Putin

With its president’s blessing, Russia introduced a new law that punishes citizens who disseminate homosexual “propaganda.” Fines will be handed out to anyone who distributes information, particularly to minors, that may cause a “distorted understanding” of “non-traditional” relationships. Of course, Putin insists anyone—gay, straight or otherwise—is welcome at the Sochi Winter Games. If backpedalling were an Olympic event, he’d win the gold.

Oscar Pistorius

Speaking of Olympics, the South African track star won’t be attending one anytime soon. A double amputee dubbed “Blade Runner” because of the prostheses he raced in, Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The 26-year-old insists he shot her by accident, mistaking the person in his bathroom for an intruder.

The Tsarnaev Brothers

Chechen immigrants Tamerlan, 26, and Dzhokhar, 20, spent their formative years in a Massachusetts suburb—playing sports, smoking weed, and becoming American citizens. Yet there they were, walking the sidelines of the Boston Marathon with pressure-cooker bombs hidden in their backpacks. Their homemade devices killed three people, injured nearly 300 others and triggered the one question that still lingers: Why?

Via Rail plotters

As Boston mourned its dead, Canadians were reminded—yet again—that our country remains a terrorist target, too. Raed Jaser, a failed Palestinian refugee claimant, and Chiheb Esseghaier, a Montreal doctoral student from Tunisia, were arrested in connection with an al-Qaeda-sponsored plot to attack a Via Rail passenger train.

Lance Armstrong

A doping denier for so many years, the seven-time Tour de France champion finally fessed up—to Oprah Winfrey. But although he admitted his historic cycling feats were fuelled by performance-enhancing drugs, Armstrong said he didn’t technically “cheat.” He doped, he said, to “level the playing field.”

Jeffrey Delisle

Distraught over the breakdown of his marriage, the Canadian naval intelligence officer walked into the Russian Embassy in Ottawa and walked out a traitor. Over the next 4½ years, Delisle sold classified NATO secrets to the enemy, profiting by more than $111,000. The first person ever convicted under Canada’s Security of Information Act, he was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.