by Mikey Rox
From wayward politicians and Olympians to dangerous cults and corporations, this year had all the tenderness of a seasick crocodile. But before we bid adieu to 12 beleaguered months that we’re all eager to send packing, let’s vilify once more these seven Grinches with hearts (and other appendages) three sizes too small.
Three years after Leah Remini publicly cut ties with the Church of Scientology (of which she was a member for more than 30 years), the actress continues her crusade to expose the underbelly of the “religion,” which culminated in November with the premiere of the explosive docu-series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, currently airing on A&E. Through interviews with other ex-members, the reality program provides new details on what appears to be commonplace violence and harassment through the ranks; makes shocking revelations about the church’s policy on shunning anyone suspicious of Scientology and its opposition to same-sex relationships; reveals gross abuses of power by leader David Miscavige, and shows harrowing glimpses of its cult-like brainwashing abilities.
Every week it seems President-Elect Trump is embroiled in a new controversy, the flames of which are fanned by his famously thin skin and a strange affinity for stream-of-consciousness social media usage. If he wasn’t degrading women, he was practicing xenophobia, and if he ran out of steam in those regards, it was because he was busy choosing anti-LGBT cabinet members while taking potshots at the United States military. By all accounts, he’s the thinking person’s worst nightmare – most of whom will spend the next four years with their heads under the covers.
They say the only two certainties in life are death and taxes – and 2016 gave us a long list of famous people who no longer have to pay taxes. This year we said goodbye to some of the most prolific people on the planet (many of them allies to the LGBT community), including (but not limited to) David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Garry Marshall, Florence Henderson, Elie Wiesel, Alexis Arquette, Gene Wilder, and Anton Yelchin.
This election year gave us myriad new concepts to bear, like how Russia is very much involved in our politics. But perhaps the most disturbing was the rise of the alt-right, whose ideology is firmly planted in white nationalism (and homophobia; don’t let ’em fool ya), even if the cowards behind the movement won’t admit as much. Far more frightening than a journey to 2020 with a Commander-in-Queef at the helm, it’s this group of “young rebels” – like traitor-to-our-cause Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay conservative “journalist” – of whom we should really be afraid.
Buzzfeed News made an astonishing discovery last month: Fake clickbait headlines on Facebook hooked users more often than real headlines. In fact, Facebook users engaged with farcical election-related headlines – most of which were either anti-Clinton or pro-Trump, says CBS News – with a share, like or comment more than 8.7 millions times while real news from legitimate sources garnered engagement fewer than 7.4 million times. What does this prove, you ask? Something you already know: We’re a nation full of idiots, and now they’re in charge.
If Dakota Access, the energy company responsible for a proposed underground oil pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois, had its way, it would have bulldozed tribal land of the Standing Rock Sioux while waving its middle finger in the rearview mirror. But despite bringing in a security force with attack dogs to goad environmental protesters into submission, the Army Corps of Engineers eventually denied easement of the line, declaring the land off limits while alternative routes are investigated.
Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, who endeared himself to the nation during the 2012 Games with his every-bro demeanor and doofus-y grin, made us collectively regret that he was ever issued a passport when he falsely claimed that he and three other American swimmers were robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro. While surveillance video of what really went down that drunken night at a Brazilian gas station didn’t bode well for anyone involved – guns were actually drawn – his “over-exaggerated” retelling of the events had us wishing he’d swim back under the rock he came out of.
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He splits his time between homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.