7 Celebrities You Forgot Had Been "Canceled"
These stars were called out for bullying, racism, and other offenses but have since made comebacks.
No one wants to be canceled, but many "canceled" celebrities have fared pretty well after the initial backlash. Of course, there are a few stars who've disappeared from the limelight after facing allegations or intense criticism, but others have been able to successfully move on with their careers. In some cases, this is because their offense was deemed to be minor. Other celebrities were largely forgiven because they seemed to genuinely apologize and learn from what they did. And, unsurprisingly, there are stars who have been able to move on from being canceled, simply because people seemed to stop caring about what they said or did.
The seven celebrities below were canceled for a wide variety of reasons—from online bullying to racist comments. Read on to find out how they came back from it and what they've said about the experience.
READ THIS NEXT: 6 "Canceled" Celebrities Who Were Never Heard From Again.
In March 2020, everyone had some level of confusion when it came to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had recently been declared. Vanessa Hudgens made the mistake of voicing her thoughts on the matter in a way that millions of people would hear.
"Yeah, till July sounds like a bunch of [expletive], I'm sorry. It's a virus, I get it. I respect it," she said in an Instagram Live about pandemic restrictions potentially lasting for months. "But at the same time, like, even if everybody gets it—like, yeah, people are gonna die. Which is terrible. But, like, inevitable? I don't know, maybe I shouldn't be doing this right now."
Hudgens faced swift backlash for what many saw as flippant comments about people dying after contracting the virus. She soon after said that her "comments are being taken out of context" before apologizing further on Twitter. "This has been a huge wake up call to the significance my words have, now more than ever. I'm sending safe wishes to everyone to stay safe and healthy during this crazy time," she posted.
Hudgens has continued on with her acting career, including starring in 2021's tick, tick… BOOM!, and hosting red carpet shows.
When Chrissy Teigen was canceled, she spoke out about how being the "cancel club" made her feel.
In 2021, Courtney Stodden said that Teigen had sent them DMs and posted tweets in 2011 and 2012 telling them to end their life and otherwise bullying them. At the time, Stodden was famous for marrying 51-year-old actor Doug Hutchison when they were just 16 years old.
Teigen apologized to Stodden publicly and said she had reached out privately, as well. "Not a lot of people are lucky enough to be held accountable for all their past [expletive] in front of the entire world," the model and cookbook author wrote. "I'm mortified and sad at who I used to be. I was an insecure, attention seeking troll. I am ashamed and completely embarrassed at my behavior but that… is nothing compared to how I made Courtney feel."
In response to the controversy, Teigen left the cleaning product brand that she had co-founded and dropped out of a voiceover role. In addition, department stores reportedly canceled deals with her. However, she went on to release a new cookbook in 2021 and continues to host Chrissy's Court on Roku.
In a lengthy Instagram post in July 2021, Teigen wrote, "Cancel club is a fascinating thing and I have learned a whollllle lot. Only a few understand it and it's impossible to know til you're in it. And it's hard to talk about it in that sense because obviously you sound whiney when you've clearly done something wrong."
The negative feedback Matt Damon has received for various comments he's made over the years has not slowed down his movie career, so it's easy to forget that all of these controversies happen.
In 2015, Damon faced backlash for something he said on his docuseries Project Greenlight, which supports up-and-coming filmmakers. In a widely shared clip from the show, he seemed to dismiss a Black producer's words about the importance of diversity behind the scenes. Damon apologized after the episode aired and noted that he was glad it kicked off a deeper conversation about equality in Hollywood.
Two years later, the Good Will Hunting star was in hot water again when he made comments about sexual abuse in light of the #MeToo movement. During an appearance on Popcorn with Peter Travers he said that there is "a spectrum of behavior" when it comes to sexual abuse, which was thought to be downplaying of certain types of abuse. People also didn't think it was Damon's place to make comments on the subject. He went on to apologize, telling Today, "I really wish I'd listened a lot more before I weighed in on this."
In 2021, there was more backlash after The Sunday Times published an interview in which the actor said that he had been using the f-slur as a "joke" until his daughter had recently told him to stop. Many people were shocked that he had previously thought it was acceptable. Damon later claimed to Variety that he actually hadn't been using the word. "I have never called anyone '[six-letter expletive]' in my personal life and this conversation with my daughter was not a personal awakening. I do not use slurs of any kind," he said.
Since 2019, Kevin Hart has acted in and produced many projects, including The Secret Life of Pets 2, Jumanji: The Next Level, Fatherhood, and Real Husbands of Hollywood. So it's easy to forget that he was canceled not long before.
In December 2018, it was announced that Hart would host the 2019 Academy Awards. But, soon after, homophobic tweets that Hart had posted in 2010 and 2011 resurfaced, as well as homophobic jokes from his standup comedy. This led to calls for him to be ousted from the gig. Initially, it was reported that Hart was told by the Academy to apologize or be replaced. Yet, Hart's first statement on Instagram about the scandal did not include an apology but instead a plea for people to "stop looking for reasons to be angry."
This response didn't go over well. Hart went on to remove himself from the position and apologize repeatedly for his past comments.
"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's [sic]," Hart tweeted. "This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past."
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These days, Nick Cannon mostly makes headlines for the many children he's fathered (12, so far), so you're forgiven if that's made you forget he's been canceled.
In 2020, Cannon made anti-Semitic comments on his podcast After sharing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, he claimed that his comments couldn't be "hate speech," because Black people are the "true Hebrews." In response, Cannon was fired by ViacomCBS, which distributed his show Wild 'n Out. He remained the host of The Masked Singer.
The actor and host publicly apologized, saying that he was "ashamed" and was educating himself. "First and foremost I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies to my Jewish sisters and brothers for the hurtful and divisive words that came out of my mouth," Cannon tweeted. He was then rehired by ViacomCBS and Wild 'n Out seven months later.
Chris Pratt has faced calls for cancelation while carrying on with his successful movie career. His controversies have primarily involved his religion, and also his family.
Notably, in 2019, the Guardians of the Galaxy star spoke about his Christian faith on The Late Show, and actor Elliot Page tweeted in response that Pratt was part of an "infamously anti-LGBTQ" church. Pratt has said he attends Zoe Church, which was modeled after the controversial Hillsong Church, which is what Page was referring to.
Another round of backlash came in 2021 when Pratt posted an Instagram thanking his wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger, for their "gorgeous healthy daughter." Some people thought this was insensitive to his ex-wife, Anna Faris, and their son, Jack, who was born prematurely and has faced some health issues.
In a 2022 interview with Men's Health, Pratt said that he believes public opinion of him changed when he mentioned god during an acceptance speech at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards. In the interview, he also shared why he didn't clear up the church confusion sooner. "I never went to Hillsong," he said. "I've never actually been to Hillsong. I don't know anyone from that church … I'm gonna, like, throw a church under the bus? If it's like the Westboro Baptist Church, that's different."
Lea Michele is currently getting rave reviews for her starring role in Broadway's Funny Girl, but it was only a couple of years ago that she was canceled, too.
In 2020, Michele was accused of bullying and frequent microaggressions during her time starring on Glee. Co-star Samantha Ware tweeted about Michele, "Remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?!?! Cause I'll never forget. I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would '[expletive] in my wig!' amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood."
Other co-stars then spoke out, including Heather Morris, who said Michele was "unpleasant to work with" and disrespectful. Gerard Canonico, who was in the musical Spring Awakening with Michele said she was a "nightmare."
Following Ware's post and the response it received from others, Michele apologized on Instagram. "While I don't remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that's not really the point, what matters is that I clearly acted in ways that hurt other people," she wrote. "Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused."