The 17 most cringeworthy celebrity moments of 2020

Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu
Friday 01 January 2021 13:26
Showbiz

2020 will go down in the history books but many celebrities and politicians might be hoping some of their antics will be forgotten. 

Here’s a rundown of the top cringeworthy moments of the year. You might need to cover your eyes and ears at points because it gets very awkward…

1. Boris Johnson called on the public to 'bung a bob' so Big Ben can bong for Brexit

In the prime minister’s first sit-down interview of the year, he suggested members of the public could raise £500,000 so Big Ben could chime on 31 January to mark the moment Britain leaves the European Union. A lot of people could think of some better ways that amount of money could be spent. 

2. A Labour deputy leadership contender burst into song on stage at a hustings

Rosena Allin-Khan MP went viral after starting to sing “If I Could Turn Back Time” when she was told she still had seconds to spare for her answer during a deputy leadership hustings event. Afterward, the politician joked she was still hoping for Cher’s endorsement in the race.

3. When performers fell for fake videos of Italians singing their songs from balconies

Singers such as Katy Perry, Madonna and Shawn Mendes re-posted videos dubbed with recordings of fans, thinking quarantined Italians were singing their hit songs. The clips weren’t real but the stars shared emotional messages about them before they found out.

4. Vanessa Hudgens had an incredibly insensitive response to the coronavirus

"It's a virus, I get it, I respect it. But at the same time even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible... but like inevitable?" The High School Musical and The Princess Switch star had to apologise for an Instagram Live that went viral for the wrong reasons in March. 

5. Madonna called the coronavirus the "great equalizer" in a bathtub surrounded by rose petals

The pop icon faced a backlash after posting a bizarre video to her Instagram in which she appeared to be naked in a bath and claimed Covid-19 is “the great equalizer”. While instrumental music played in the background, she said: “That's the thing about Covid-19, it doesn't care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell.”

6. When loads of celebrities recorded a video of themselves singing "Imagine"

The world is facing a pandemic. What it needs is a celebrity sing-along to the John Lennon classic to ease coronavirus concerns… right? Actor Gal Gadot was joined by stars including Jamie Dornan, Natalie Portman and Will Ferrell who were subsequently laughed at for the earnest but cringe-worthy, ultimately empty, gesture. 

7. A minister was caught swearing about a colleague on Zoom

Welsh minister Vaughan Gething didn’t press the mute button before he launched into a tirade about a Cardiff Central assembly member, asking “what the f**k is the matter with her?” Several on the video call were left visibly shocked by his comments and could be seen laughing before the meeting was paused. 

8. When Ellen DeGeneres compared coronavirus restrictions to prison

The TV host was criticised for joking that being confined to her multimillion-dollar mansion was “like being in jail”. It didn’t go down well on social media and this was before the fall-out from allegations of staff mistreatment on her show.

9. Boris Johnson posed for photographers by doing a press-up

The prime minister appeared on the front page of the Mail on Sunday in June doing press-ups on the floor of his office in Downing Street after his recovery from coronavirus. It was met with incredulity and embarrassment online as some compared the act to staged photos of authoritarian leaders.

10.  And Keir Starmer challenged his opposite number to a press-up contest

When asked if he could match the PM’s feat, the Labour leader said he could and joked: “I was thinking at PMQs this week, maybe question one should be first to 50.” The posturing and potential playground contest prompted more ridicule than approval as viewers cringed at the one-upmanship on display. 

11. When Ivanka Trump awkwardly posed for a photo of Goya beans

The President’s daughter shared a bizarre picture of herself with a can of beans after the company’s chief executive faced a backlash from customers for praising POTUS at a White House event. 

12. When Marvel stars leapt to the defence of Chris Pratt after he lost an unofficial social media poll

A post on Twitter led to the Guardian of the Galaxy star being dubbed the least favourite “Hollywood Chris” after many users pointing out his perceived political beliefs. Several Marvel Cinematic Universe cast members, including Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr, then spoke out in support of Pratt. This led some to question why fellow MCU actors, such Brie Larson, didn’t receive any when they were being harassed online.

13. The Conservative London mayoral candidate’s Great British Bake Off parody  

 Tory politician Shaun Bailey was ridiculed for a campaign video where he “competes’ against superimposed Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan in front of lookalikes of Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. The week before he also sent flip-flops with Khan's face on to journalists.

14. Kim Kardashian threw a 40th birthday party on a private island

In a case of very much not reading the room, or acknowledging the risks to servers and staff who made the event possible, Kim Kardashian flew her nearest and dearest to a private island to celebrate her birthday. Many branded her celebratory social media revelation - which spawned its own meme - completely out of touch.

15. President Trump danced to the YMCA in a last-minute video to get out the vote

Donald Trump shared a final campaign video of himself dancing to the Village People classic at various locations across the US as voters headed to the polls. Many viewers laughed at the President but some called the unexpected video tone deaf amid the high coronavirus death toll, and others noted the song’s subtext in light of Trump rolling back LGBTQ+ rights.

16. Nigella Lawson’s baffling pronunciation of microwave

The chef set social media alight after uttering a very unusual pronunciation of the kitchen appliance during an episode of her TV show. It’s mee-kro-wah-vay, not microwave!

17. When Matt Hancock appeared to cry on live TV

The health secretary didn’t manage to convince a lot of people he was crying during a Good Morning Britain interview on the day the first Covid-19 vaccines were administered. Viewers pointed out it looked like Hancock was faking the emotion after no tears were shed and he glanced up with a smile as if to check up on the reaction. 

And that’s a wrap! 2020, you won’t be missed but these painful moments may stay with us forever. 

More: The shocking list of celebrities that voted for the first time in the 2020 election

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