If famous people have learned one thing in the whatever-I-say-gets-tweeted era, one would think it’s this: don’t mention Adolf Hitler.
Yet, despite what should by now be glaringly obvious, individuals ranging from Megan Fox to, most recently, Hank Williams Jr. have continued to court controversy by bringing up the Nazi leader. In the hope that celebrities will finally grasp the no-Hitler rule, here’s a rundown of a few well-known entertainment figures who recently got into varying degrees of trouble by invoking the goose-stepper’s name.
Hitler move: In an epic 2009 Wonderland magazine interview, the ”Transformers” star violated the first and most basic rule of employment: don’t imply your boss is like Hitler. “He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is,” she said of “Transformers” director Michael Bay..
Result: Fox stopped being a “Transformers” star. Bay recently told GQ that “Transformers” executive producer Steven Spielberg told the blockbuster director to fire the actress after hearing the Hitler comment. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaced Fox as Shia LaBeouf’s love interest in the third battling bots movie, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”
Hitler move: A photograph of him jokingly dressed as Adolf Hitler was released in March of 2010, right around the time of his messy separation (and subsequent divorce) from Sandra Bullock.
Result: Those already disgusted by James for cheating on America’s Sweetheart found another reason to add an additional layer of disgust.
Hitler move: While speaking to the Sunday Times of London in a July 2010 interview, the “Wall Street” filmmaker said, “Hitler was a Frankenstein, but there was also a Dr. Frankenstein. German Industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support…. Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people.”
Result: The American Jewish Committee issued a condemnatory statement, and Stone issued an apology. “In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret.”
Hitler move: A video surfaced online in February in which the fashion designer used anti-Semitic language and declared “I love Hitler.” Galliano said during a subsequent criminal trial in France that he was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs at the time and did not recall making the statements.
Result: Galliano lost his job at Christian Dior and was found guilty in that trial of anti-Semitic behavior. He was fined 6,000 Euros, or $8,400.
Hitler move: During a Cannes Film Festival press conference to promote his movie, “Melancholia,” von Trier said, “I understand Hitler, but I think he did some wrong things, yes, absolutely. … But I sympathize with him a bit.” He them rambled further and concluded with, “Okay, I’m a Nazi.”
Result: This one’s especially messy. Film festival organizers banned von Trier from the festival, officially dubbing him a “persona non grata” even though he apologized for the comments immediately thereafter, saying he meant them as a joke. He later retracted the apology in an interview with GQ and, earlier this month, took a vow of public silence after announcing that he faces charges of violating French law that forbids justification of war crimes.
Hitler move: During the Big Chill music festival in August, the hip-hop star said, “I walk through the hotel and I walk down the street, and people look at me like I’m [expletive] insane, like I’m Hitler.”
Result: Some audience members booed. But then everyone pretty much forgot about it because the comment demonstrated a profound sense of narcissm more than anything else.
Hitler move: During an Oct. 2 interview on “Fox and Friends,” Williams Jr. referred to a golf game between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as “like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu.”
Result: Williams Jr. was fired from his steady gig as the “Are you ready for some football?” guy on “Monday Night Football.” Williams, who issued a post-presidential-gaffe apology, has since rebounded: his musical retort to the controversy, a slightly recast version of his song “Keep the Change,” had reportedly been downloaded online by more than 100,000 people as of earlier this week. Neither the existing or newly written lyrics contain a reference to Adolf Hitler.