A Brief History
On January 1, 2018, we take a fond look back at the tumultuous year of 2017, a year in which a remarkable number of prominent people got fired. In honor of President Donald Trump, who took office in January of 2017 and his personal catch phrase, “You’re fired!” we list many of the best known people that got the axe. Many actually worked for The Donald himself, how apropos! In fact, an astounding 21 of 61 Trump White House staffers were canned, an all time record. (The Reagan Administration saw a paltry 17% go bye-bye, the second-place biggest change over in a President’s first year.) Many others were in the news media or in the entertainment world, victims largely of their own sexually related faults. (The sexual harassment flood of complaints includes cases of women sexually harassing men and of same sex harassment.) In fact, the 2 main groups of fired people in 2017 were those fired from the Trump Administration or those fired for sexual misconduct. Who would you add to the list? For that matter, who is next?
1. Michael Flynn, National Security Adviser.
This former general lasted only 3 weeks before he was forced out for lying to the FBI. If anyone in the Trump Administration is knee deep in collusion with Russia it is this guy. He has already pled guilty to a felony and is believed to be cooperating with investigators into other Trump campaign and administration members. Flynn is facing the possibility (probability) a lot more charges, and more serious ones at that. (His son may be in the same leaky boat.)
2. Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary.
Although White House Press Secretaries generally have an adversarial relationship with the media, Spicer took it to a new level of sneering derision for the press, so much so that Saturday Night Live had a field day making fun of him. Now that he is “free,” he seems much nicer.
3. Steve Bannon, Chief White House Strategist.
Somehow this far right fringe conspiracy theory former Breitbart propagandist weaseled his way into a made up position in the White House and onto the National Security Council, quite a curious turn of events. Despite his alleged large influence on the Trump operation, Bannon did not last and has been relegated back to Breitbart and making efforts to usurp the Republican hierarchy in favor of extreme right wing factions. Bannon’s first big splash was the endorsement of Roy Moore in the Alabama special election for Senator in December 2017, an election Moore and Bannon lost.
4. Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff.
It seemed as if the appointment of the former Chairman of the Republican National Committee was the ideal marriage of man and job, bringing professionalism and stability into a Trump Administration that had little executive government experience. Alas, Reince failed to control the unruly mob at the White House and was replaced by a former Marine Corps general instead.
5. Luther Strange, US Senator.
Strange was working as the Alabama State Attorney General when he was tapped to replace Senator Jeff Sessions in the US Senate when Sessions became the US Attorney General. When a special election was scheduled for December of 2017 to make a permanent replacement for Sessions, a primary election was held in August 2017 in which Strange lost to former Alabama Supreme Court Justice and alleged pedophile, Roy Moore, despite President Trump endorsing Strange. Thus, Strange lost his job as Senator, virtually fired by the voters of Alabama, though he won’t officially be out of office until January 2018.
6. Harvey Weinstein, Movie Mogul.
Sexual harassment is nothing new to 2017, but when movie maven Harvey Weinstein was publicly accused the floodgates of complaints opened against him and against other men (mostly men, but some women). The infamous Hollywood “casting couch” was a real thing to Harvey, who used his position of movie power to make or break the careers of actresses based on their submission to his sexual advances. Not only did he get fired from his own company, he may be facing criminal as well as civil charges.
7. Al Franken, US Senator.
The highest ranking politician to lose his job in 2017 due to sexual misconduct claims, the charges against Franken seem trivial compared to those levied against many of the other alleged harassers, rapists, and creeps in last year’s class of those fired for sex “crimes.” Franken will actually step down in January 2018, but his dismissal became final in 2017. The precipitating incident was a photo of him years prior to entering politics in which he is pretending to fondle the breasts of a sleeping newswoman (he did not touch her, despite the incident frequently being described as “fondling a sleeping woman”). The former writer and performer on Saturday Night Live may have survived this incident, but follow on allegations of squeezing a woman’s waist and touching the buttocks of other women did him in. He admitted at least some of the incidents and apologized for them, but bitterly noted that President Trump has been accused of far worse and is still in office. Other politicians, including Congressmen (US Representatives) were either forced out or are being forced out due to sexual misconduct complaints.
8. Kevin Spacey, Actor.
Another one biting the dust due to sexual harassment allegations, Spacey was accused of homosexual advances on underage boys and men, leading to his firing from the Netflix television show, House of Cards, a show that earned Spacey a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. Production of the movie, Gore (about Gore Vidal) that was to have starred Spacey has been stopped as well.
9. Matt Lauer, Television Host.
A friendly, familiar face to millions of Americans that woke up each day to The Today Show for 20 years, Lauer was another of the endless stream of men fired because of sexual harassment allegations. After the first complaint, Lauer was inundated with a stream of other women complaining about him, to which he admitted at least some of the complaints were true and apologized. It was revealed he had a button on his desk that could remotely lock his office door. Hey, it was for security reasons… Another media icon, Charlie Rose, also lost his job to sex complaints.
10. Bill O’Reilly, incredibly smug “news” Reporter.
The star of cable television’s Fox News, O’Reilly used his bully pulpit to berate those with political differences from him and his employers, but was rocked when the New York Times revealed Fox had paid out over $50 million in law suit settlements to 6 women that had accused O’Reilly (oh, really?) of sexual harassment. One of the women got a settlement of the stunning sum of $32 million, causing the rest of us to wonder just what did O’Reilly do???
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For more information, please see…
Editors. “After Weinstein: More Than 100 High Powered Men Accused of Sexual Misconduct.” USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/11/22/weinstein-aftermath-all-men-accused-sexual-misconduct/884778001/ (accessed 31 December 2017).
Moore, Mark. Trump Administration Breaks Record for Highest Turnover Rate. New York Post. https://nypost.com/2017/12/28/trump-administration-breaks-record-for-highest-turnover-rate/ (accessed 31 December 2017).