40 Controversies You Probably Didn’t Know About

1Timmy Burch

Comedy Central originally wanted to remove Timmy Burch from South Park due to the potential controversy over the inclusion of a mentally handicapped character. Matt Stone and Trey Parker pushed to keep the character on the basis that other children in the series treat him equally.


2. There was some controversy over the inclusion of Chuck Berry's ‘Johnny B. Goode’ on the Voyager Golden Record. Carl Sagan was told that rock music was adolescent. Sagan responded, “There are a lot of adolescents on the planet.”


3. The German supermarket chain ‘Lidl’ has been involved in over 20 controversies, such as putting additives in meat to avoid salmonella testing, unauthorized surveillance of its employees. They were also awarded ‘The Big Brother’ award for acting almost like slave masters towards its employees.


4. Jerry Lee Lewis courted so much controversy by marrying his 13-year-old cousin at the age of 22 that he went from playing $10,000 concert halls to $250 a night dive bars.


5. The Guns N' Roses hit song Sweet Child o' Mine came under controversy in 2015 when a very similar sounding track by a lesser known Australian rock band was discovered to have been released six years prior. Upon hearing the song, Guns N' Roses's bassist, Duff McKagan, called the similarities "stunning."


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6Teen Talk Barbie

The Teen Talk Barbie's quip "math class is tough" generated controversy among educators who feared it contributed to negative gender stereotypes. It also inspired The Simpsons episode "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy."


7. There was controversy in 1930 surrounding someone because they were paid more than the president. That person was Babe Ruth, and the amount was $80,000.


8. When NOFX bassist Fat Mike caused controversy by elbowing and kicking a fan, he publicly apologized by buying him a beer and letting him kick him back.


9. A double-headed baby who lived a hundred years ago in Europe provided the solution to the age old scientific controversy of whether we sleep because our bodies were tired or was it the brain that got tired? As the baby's head slept at different times, it proved that it was the brain.


10. In 1997, Mattel released ‘Share-A-Smile Becky’ Barbie doll, who was disabled and came with a wheelchair. However, the doll instead created controversy when it was pointed out that the Barbie-Dream-House was not wheelchair accessible and could not accommodate Becky's needs.


11Gerald Ford

President Gerald Ford faced controversy for wearing a digital watch, an expensive high-tech device in the 1970s.


12. Trijicon, a firearm optics company, secretly hid Bible verse references in serial numbers of scopes mass purchased by the US Armed Forces (such as "ACOG4X32JN8:12" referencing John 8:12—"I am the light of the world"). This controversy spawned the nickname "Jesus rifles."


13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was called Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in the UK because of controversy surrounding ninjas and related weapons such as nunchaku at the time.


14. In 2006, Autism Speaks released a documentary, "Autism Everyday" which caused controversy because a mother talked about how she contemplated murdering her Autistic daughter and herself.


15. A flight simulator game named “SimCopter” gained controversy when it was discovered that a designer had inserted an easter egg that generated shirtless “himbos” (male bimbos) in Speedo trunks who hugged and kissed each other and appear in great numbers on certain dates, such as Friday the 13th. Their fluorescent nipples were drawn with a special rendering mode usually reserved for fog-piercing runway landing lights, so they could easily be seen from long distances in bad weather. The egg caused hundreds of himbos to swarm and crowd around the helicopter, where they would be slashed up by the blades, and then needed to be air-lifted to the hospital—which earned the player easy money.


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16Possum-tossing contest

In 2010, Colyton School in New Zealand generated controversy over a possum-tossing contest. Students would shoot the possums (an invasive pest in New Zealand) and then see how far they could chuck the marsupial's carcasses.


17. During a game on March 11, 2007, former NBA player Scot Pollard created a minor controversy when he looked into the camera during a 20-second timeout and said: "Hey kids, do drugs." The light on top of the camera was not working. Pollard said it to get a laugh out of the people in the media truck.


18. Back in the 4th season of The Simpsons, they were dragged into a controversy with one of its songs bashing New Orleans. The next week, a chalkboard gag was made saying "I will not defame New Orleans."


19. The 1978 World Chess Championship was mired by a number of bizarre controversies involving hypnosis, mirror glasses, and blueberry yogurt.


20. The Rolling Stones' record company mistakenly included a comma in the title for their single “Paint It Black” (Paint It, Black), leading to a controversy over its racial interpretation.


21Uta Pippig

Uta Pippig became the first woman to cross the finish line during the 1996 Centennial Boston Marathon. Her win caused a great deal of controversy as she continued the race even after losing control of her bowels and beginning to menstruate.


22. The Vietnam Memorial was designed by Maya Lin, a 21-year-old Yale undergraduate. Once it was revealed that she was Asian a controversy arose, with Ross Perot calling her an "Egg Roll" and forcing Lin to defend her design in front of Congress.


23. In 1992, BBC released a horror mockumentary (Ghostwatch) on Halloween night that was presented as live television and caused a huge controversy because many people believed it was real and there were several case reports of people, mainly children, who suffered PTSD like effects from watching it.


24. Candy company Trolli introduced the "Roadkill Gummy candy", a series of sweets shaped like flattened snakes, chickens and squirrels with track marks on their bodies. The product was pulled from stores due to controversy. 


25. In 1993, a Canadian farmer named Robert Latimer sparked a national controversy on the ethics of euthanasia after killing his daughter Tracy who was suffering from severe mental and physical disabilities.

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