In Brief

Villains of 2015

Social gaffes and horrendous deeds - this year’s had them all

1.       Abdelhamid Abaaoud

The mastermind behind the Paris attacks, Abaaoud, together with six other jihadis, planned the devastating shooting spree which left 129 dead. Prior to that, he was involved in four foiled would-be terrorist attacks in France, as well as in the August 2015 attack on an Amsterdam-Paris express train. He was killed on 18 November in a police raid in Paris.

2.       Katie Hopkins

The former Apprentice winner has spent yet another year voicing her opinions on all subjects:  people with dementia ("bed-blockers"); migrants ("cockroaches") and Pakistani men, whom she linked with a proclivity for sexual abuse. Accused of hate speech and racism, this year she was questioned by police for inciting racial hatred, and had her TV show axed. 

3.       Donald Trump

After the San Bernardino, California, shooting in December, the wannabe Republican presidential candidate proposed that Muslims should be banned from entering the US. He also wants to build a wall between the US and Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out, and loses no opportunity to bash both Democrats and his Republican colleagues – basically, anyone who disagrees with him.

4.       Bill Cosby

This year, more than 50 women have come forward to accuse entertainer Bill Cosby, the 78-year-old star of The Cosby Show, of sexual assaults and rapes spanning four decades. Since the reveltations, he has had 15 institutions cut ties with him and 22 honorific titles revoked. Cosby maintains his innocence and has filed a defamation suit against seven of the women who spoke out.

5.       Walter Palmer

Minneapolis dentist Walter Palmer gained notoriety this summer for all the wrong reasons, after being named as the hunter who killed a beloved Zimbabwean lion. Cecil was a distinctive 13-year-old male lion and part of a research study coordinated by the University of Oxford. He was shot with an arrow during a legal hunt for which Palmer – who claimed he was not aware Cecil was under observation - had paid $50,000.

6.       Viktor Orban

Hungary's Prime Minister is a divisive right-wing politico who champions the idea that liberal 'Western' values have failed, and that national self-interest should prevail. To that effect, he has put up barbed wire fences along Hungary's borders, in an attempt to stop refugees crossing through the country, and has stated that asylum will be refused to all non-Christians.

7.       Martin Shkreli

"The most hated man on the internet", the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG acquired the patent rights for Daraprim, a common drug used to treat toxoplasmosis, and promptly hiked the price from $13.50 per pill to $750. In an act of Christmas karma, on 16 December, Shkreli was arrested and charged with operating a Ponzi scheme through his hedge-fund.

8. Jeremy Clarkson

Long-term Top Gear presenter Clarkson ran into a spot of trouble this year as a violent outburst led to his sacking from the popular BBC motoring show. In March, Clarkson punched Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon in a row which was apparently over the crew's failure to provide the team with hot food.

9. Sir Tim Hunt

British biochemist Sir Tim Hunt, a Nobel laureate, found himself in hot water in June after comments he made about female scientists during the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea: "You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry." Despite his apologies, Hunt soon resigned from his post as honorary researcher at UCL, as well as from other positions – he has now moved to Japan.

10. Chet Hanks

Tom Hanks’s son Chester, who raps under the name Chet Haze, took to Instagram in June to defend his right to use the n-word, which he sees as a term which "unifies the culture of hip-hop across all races." Facing a backlash over his use of the word, Chet issued a clarification, saying that "hip-hop isn't about race, it's about the culture you identify with." In October 2015, Hanks posted a video admitting to an addiction to crack cocaine, and apologising for his comments.


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