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The 18 Most Hated People in Reality TV History

You might have loved to hate these reality show villains—or maybe you just couldn't stand them.

The past 20 years of the reality television boom have offered incredibly compelling TV, featuring some memorable characters we've rooted for, whether they were surviving a deserted island, designing high-end fashions, or living the life of a wealthy housewife. But for as long as reality shows have had heroes, they've also had villains. The ones we've booed and hissed and hated—and also some of the ones we've delighted in and secretly rooted for.

A great reality TV villain will have you tearing your hair out in frustration, right up until the moment you realize your experience wouldn't have been the same without them. These 18 reality TV baddies have been the best at being the worst, and unrivaled at the task of getting under our skin. And for the biggest names in reality, check out The 30 Most Successful Reality TV Personalities of the Last 30 Years.

Richard Hatch, Survivor

richard hatch on the red carpet
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The original Survivor winner and in many ways the man who put the show on the map and set the template for Survivor strategy for many years to come, Richard Hatch was clearly a villain from minute one, as he sat up on a branch of a tree watching his tribemates work to build their shelter, declaring no intention to pitch in.

Rich schemed the very first Survivor alliance that ultimately decimated well-liked players like Greg, Colleen, and Gretchen, on the road to winning the million dollars. His second appearance on the show was far less successful, but it's his behavior toward former ally Sue Hawk—which included him getting naked in a challenge and seemingly rubbing up against her to gain an advantage—that puts a dark cloud over his Survivor legend. Also, he never paid taxes on his original winnings and went to jail for it! And for TV shows that have provoked just as much ire, these are The 15 Most Hated Popular TV Shows.

Arie Luyendyk, The Bachelor

Arie Luyendyk
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Hunky race car driver Arie Luyendyk from Season 22 of The Bachelor didn't initially seem like he was headed down the road to be one of the most hated Bachelors of all time. But in the season finale, after navigating his way through 29 single women and finally choosing Becca Kufrin to propose to, we flashed forward to weeks later, where Arie cruelly dumped Becca and revealed he was going back to runner-up Lauren Burnham, whom he had clandestinely made contact with the night before the season began airing.

The fallout was major, including fan backlash and even Becca's home state of Minnesota drafting legislation to ban Arie from entering the state. Becca at least got to be the Bachelorette on the next season, but there was no redemption for Arie.

Omarosa Manigault Newman, The Apprentice

omarosa manigault newman on the red carpet
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Omarosa Manigault Newman—you can just call her "Omarosa," though—was the absolute star of the first season of The Apprentice, and became one of the most notorious reality TV villains of all time as a result. She was a thorny team player and difficult to get along with from the break, and as the weeks went on, her conflicts with the other contestants became more dramatic.

After getting fired midway through the season, Omarosa would return to reality TV many times, including two seasons of Celebrity Apprentice (where she feuded with Piers Morgan), one of The Surreal Life (where she fought bitterly with Janice Dickinson), and one of Celebrity Big Brother (where she sparred with Brandi Glanville). She also got into a tense verbal showdown with Bethenny Frankel on the latter's talk show. And this is all before her controversial stint in the Trump administration. Omarosa's lifelong commitment to being a reality TV villain may not ever be topped. And for more big names with a reality show past, revisit these 15 Celebrities You Never Knew Got Their Start on Reality TV.

David "Puck" Rainey, The Real World

puck on the real world

Reality TV was still in its infancy when David "Puck" Rainey careened his bicycle up the winding San Francisco streets to meet his roommates on Season 3 of The Real World. From the break, Puck was a problem child—he got arrested on the day he moved into the house; he grossed out all his roommates with his rudeness and bad hygiene; and he was immediately confrontational with Pedro Zamora, his roommate who was living with HIV and whose life, centered around HIV activism, was somehow objectionable to Puck. He and Pedro feuded all season, until the roommates were finally fed up and took a vote to ask Puck to leave the house.

Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, The Hills

heidi montag and spencer pratt on the red carpet
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There's no way we could judge the horror-show couple of The Hills as anything but a single unit. Heidi Montag was a young woman flailing about in her career and love life in the big city of Los Angeles when she met blond-haired opportunist Spencer Pratt. Their Bonnie-and-Clyde romance was a crime spree all its own, with the first major victim being Heidi's friendship with Lauren Conrad, which was pronounced dead when Spencer began spreading rumors that LC had a Kim Kardashian-esque tape out there. The pair continued to strive for fame on many other reality shows, making new enemies every step of the way. And for more celebrity drama, check out these 60 Celebrities Who Share an Ex.

Danielle Staub, The Real Housewives of New Jersey

danielle staub on the red carpet
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Of all the Housewives franchises, New Jersey has always been the one most dominated by family. And the families at the center of the show haven't always taken kindly to outsiders. Danielle Staub was the ultimate outsider, with a track record of trying to get in the middle of tight bonds and cause friction. She made enemies of Caroline Manzo and Teresa Giudice most famously, the latter of whom tried to flip a table on her. Danielle returned seasons later and was almost immediately up to her old tricks, including but not limited to brazen hair-pulling.

Johnny Bananas, The Challenge

johnny bananas on the red carpet
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The elder, elder, elder statesman of the Challenge universe, Johnny Bananas (or John Devananzio, if you insist on using his government name) first stepped in front of MTV cameras in 2006 on The Real World: Key West. But it was his entrenchment on the spinoff series The Challenge where he really made his mark as both the show's winningest player and biggest jerk.

From manipulating younger players to gain advantage to bullying his opponents to more rude and cruel remarks (most often to women) than could possibly be counted, Johnny reveled in his despicable reputation. Of course, his crowning achievement of villainy was when he took the show's option to take all the winning prize money on The Challenge: Rivals III and leave his teammate, Sarah Rice, with nothing. And for more fun content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Tiffany Pollard, Flavor of Love

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Tiffany Pollard is a first-ballot reality TV hall of famer. Introduced to the world on Flavor of Love as "New York," Pollard made instant enemies with all the other women with a verbal barrage that was equal parts rudeness and self-aggrandizement. She was so effective a catalyst for drama that the show brought her back in Season 2, in a moment that really felt like a bomb was going off in the middle of the house.

While Pollard is an effective enough villain to prompt other women to spit on her and throw shoes at her, she's also an endlessly fascinating reality TV persona, appearing on endless spinoff shows, Big Brother UK, and more. And every show she passes through, she leaves behind a trail of memorable, borderline hilarious conflicts.

Jade Cole, America's Next Top Model

jade cole on the red carpet
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The self-proclaimed "Leftover Lady" of Top Model Cycle 6, Jade Cole entered the competition with a cocky attitude and not a care in the world when it came to irritating the other models. Jade's assessment of her own talent far outstretched her actual performance on the show, but that kind of self-delusion was delicious to watch as a viewer. Whether she was sashaying through a CoverGirl commercial like a visiting dignitary or declaring "This is not America's Next Top Best Friend," Jade delivered the villainy every week.

Jeffrey Sebelia, Project Runway

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The greatest Project Runway villain next to the late Wendy Pepper saw more success off the show, but was also a lot less fun to hate. Tattooed fashion designer Jeffrey Sebelia won the third season of Runway with his edgy designs, but along the way he was a huge jerk to almost everyone. Some, like third-place-finisher Laura Bennett, gave as good as they got. But it was when Jeffrey reduced contestant Angela Kessler's mother to tears that Jeffrey sewed up his title as Runway's biggest heel.

Camille Grammer, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

camille grammer on the red carpet
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Camille Grammer only lasted two seasons as a full-time cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and the second season was spent rehabbing her image from Season 1. A lot of the friction between Camille and her fellow Housewives was over silly things like whether she was a true "girl's girl" (the holy grail of Housewives behavior) or if she spent too much time flirting with all their husbands.

But Camille also carried on a season-long feud with Kyle Richards, culminating in a dinner party where Camille sprung psychic Allison DuBois on Kyle and cattily brought up Faye Resnick's Playboy spread in front of everyone. Camille has returned as a guest and "Friend of the Housewives" over the seasons, to varying levels of drama, most recently feuding with Lisa Rinna.

Phi Phi O'Hara, RuPaul's Drag Race

phi phi o'hara on rupaul's drag race
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A showgirl with a massive chip on her shoulder, Phi Phi O'Hara spent the entirety of Drag Race Season 4 seething bitterly at the successes of spooky queen (and eventual winner) Sharon Needles, up to and including the infamous "Party City" blowup fight.

When she returned in All-Stars Season 2, Phi-Phi seemed ready for her inevitable redemption arc. Unfortunately, her personality proved to be an impediment to that, as she soon got into a sniping war of words with Alyssa Edwards, and then was eliminated in a shocking/delightful twist that saw Alyssa and fellow queen Tatianna return to the game. Phi Phi was so angry about how she was depicted that she refused to attend the reunion.

Russell Hantz, Survivor

russell hantz on survivor
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Nineteen seasons after Richard Hatch set the template for Survivor villainy, Russell Hantz came along and redefined what it would mean to be the most hated man on the island. Russell's strategy—employed across three seasons of the show, starting with 2009's Survivor: Samoa—was two-pronged and incredibly simple: bully the other players into following him or getting voted out, and finding (suspiciously) ample hidden immunity idols to bail him out when needed. He bulldozed his way to the final jury in both Samoa and Heroes vs. Villains consecutively, both times failing to inspire those he'd trampled to vote for him to win a million dollars. Funny how that worked out!

Jax Taylor, Vanderpump Rules

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Pretty much everybody on Vanderpump Rules has taken a turn as a bad guy, but no one more consistently than Jax Taylor, who, like clockwork, parades his way through every reunion talking about how he's a work in progress, then goes through the subsequent season sporting the same abrasive, reckless behavior.

Jax has cheated on more girlfriends than you can count, slept with his best friend's girlfriend (and ex-girlfriend's best friend) while said friend was asleep in another room, shoplifted in Hawaii, and all along the way acted like a massive jerk to anyone in his orbit, up to and including Lisa Vanderpump and Andy Cohen.

Lisa Fernandes, Top Chef

lisa fernandes on top chef

A big part of the reason that Lisa Fernandes became such a huge villain on Top Chef was that her season was so stacked with talent. With competitors like Richard Blais, Stephanie Izard, Antonia Lofaso, and Dale Talde, the fact that Lisa kept skating past so many of them by delivering merely the second-worst dish of the week was an easy recipe for villainy. Add to that the fact that Lisa had a tremendously sour attitude about pretty much everything—an attitude that read quite clearly on her face at all times—and it made it very easy to think the worst. Luckily, Lisa returned on Top Chef All-Stars: Los Angeles with a much better attitude, and a happier outcome (even if she placed far worse).

Christine Quinn, Selling Sunset

christine quinn on selling sunset

One of the best new reality TV villains we've seen in years, Christine Quinn is an intimidatingly beautiful real estate agent who acts as the Queen Bee of the Oppenheim Group, and she's proved to be incredibly versatile in that role on Netflix's addictive Selling Sunset.

Christine is as adept at mean-girling the new hires—in particular Chrishell Stause—as she is at turning viciously on her former close friend Mary Fitzgerald. No matter the circumstance, there is a pathological unapologetic quality to Christine that makes her an ideal villain. Her backhands have backhands, as she finds every possible angle with which to get the last dig in.

Larissa "Bootz" Hodge, Flavor of Love: Charm School

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In her original season of Flavor of Love, Larissa "Bootz" Hodge was one of the many aforementioned women infuriated by Tiffany "New York" Pollard. Only Bootz, however, was enraged enough to make a mad dash backstage to chase after New York during the reunion.

But Bootz's true villainy shone through on Charm School, where she stole the belongings of another contestant, tried to frame a third contestant for it, and then attempted to place all the blame for the framing on her best friend in the house. And if that wasn't enough, she got into a war of words with host/judge Mo'Nique, both in her final episode and at the reunion.

Will Kirby, Big Brother

will kirby on big brother

Big Brother wasn't a terribly popular show heading into its second season, and after a controversy that involved a contestant getting kicked out for holding a knife to another contestant's throat, Season 2 didn't get off to a great start either.

Thank goodness (or badness) then for Dr. Will Kirby, a handsome and incredibly narcissistic burgeoning plastic surgeon who weaseled his way to the win in a most entertaining yet brazenly villainous way. Will told anyone who would listen that he was not to be trusted, and yet his nefarious charms convinced so many people to do just that. His infamous "Chilltown" alliance bullied other contestants early, but that reputation never quite seemed to stick to Will for long. He was absolutely the villain—and he'd have told you as much—but he was the villain that viewers ended up rooting for anyway.

Joe Reid
Joe Reid is an entertainment writer based in New York City. Read more
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