The Year in Music Scandals
Is Justin Bieber Retiring?
Gossip mongers had no shortage of subject matter from the music world in 2013, from bad-boy shenanigans to pop star arrests that covered everything from tax evasion to child molestation to premeditated murder. For those who love to dig through dirt, there were piles-o-plenty. Let's review:
Jay Z refuses to pull out of a partnership with Barneys despite pressure exerted on him by civil rights groups. The fracas started after two African American young men were detained by police officers in the store after buying pricey items. Jay Z reacted to the incidents of racial profiling by insisting Barneys donate all proceeds from his overpriced product line to the Shawn Carter Foundation, which offers scholarships for young people facing socio-economic hardships.
Grammy award-winning solo artist/ex Fugee Lauryn Hill began serving a 90-day sentence for tax evasion on July 8. The singer was locked away in a low-security jail in Danbury, Connecticut and was sentenced to another three months of home confinement after her release. After that, she'll be on supervised probation for another year. Hill failed to pay taxes for five years on earnings of more than $2 million. She claimed she was a victim of the music industry and left the business to protect herself and her children.
Oasis and Beady Eye vocalist Liam Gallagher had an affair with U.S. journalist Liza Ghorbani. The story broke when Ghorbani sued Gallagher for around $3 million for child support after giving birth to his daughter (now 11 months old). Gallagher's wife, Nicole Appleton, reportedly left the singer when she found out he was cheating on her. Ghorbani first hooked up with Gallagher in 2010 after writing an article about him for the New York Times. The singer is currently living with his former assistant Debbie Gwyther, according to a report from the Daily Mail.
When Pitchfork booked R. Kelly to headline their music festival, Chicago journalist Jim DeRogatis exerted his right to free speech. In 2002, DeRogatis broke the story about the crooner’s alleged predatory perversions (for which a jury surprisingly found Kelly not guilty), so before this year’s festival he took to WBEZ radio to talk to fans, a sociologist, a psychologist and music critics about Kelly’s misconduct and why he wasn't crucified by the media. "The saddest fact I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women," DeRogatis told the Village Voice. "Nobody."
Chris Brown was kicked out of a Malibu anger management rehab center in late November after he lost his cool and threw a rock through his mom’s car window. Mrs. Brown was visiting her son to convince him to stay in the program to help him avoid violent outbursts – such as the one in January, when he punched and threatened to shoot Frank Ocean (both performers were trying to pull into the same parking space at a recording studio), or the one in late October when Brown was arrested for felony assault for slugging a man who tried to jump into a photo that was shot of Brown and two women.
Miley Cyrus cemented her reputation as one of this year’s most controversial pop stars by twerking against Robin Thicke's crotch at the MTV Video Music Awards (oh yeah, and smoking weed onstage in Amsterdam at the European Music Awards). The former Disney star also flashed her breasts to plug the film Free the Nipple. And who could forget the images of her licking a sledgehammer and riding a demolition ball naked from the video "Wrecking Ball?" Or, that that started a Twitter war with Sinead O’Connor? Apparently Cyrus deserves a list all her own.