Recording a video is a good way to encapsulate
a moment so you can keep it for as long as
However, most of the people involved in these
videos wish that those moments never happened,
and would now go away.
These are people who did something stupid,
or illegal, and were unfortunate enough to
have it caught on film.
The videos went public, and it completely
ruined their lives.
One question we have: do all these people
deserve their fate?
Or is this just evidence of the rise of a
moralistic police state where a few minutes
of ill-conceived words and actions, while
sometimes not even illegal, can brand someone
for life as a pariah?
Warning: In general, these videos contain
some very strong language, so grab your headphones
or make sure you’re not watching them at
work or in public.
Mike Rice, Jr.
In 2010, Mike Rice, Jr. was hired to be the
coach of the men’s basketball team at Rutgers
University in New Jersey.
His base salary was $300,000, but he would
get a $25,000 raise every year, and his contract
was loaded with perks and incentives, like
$100,000 for finishing the season as the coach.
All in all, it could be considered a dream
job to a lot of people who love basketball.
Things started to fall apart for Rice in December
2012, when one of his former assistant coaches
gave the athletics director of Rutgers, Tim
Pernetti, team practice footage that showed
Rice throwing basketballs at the heads and
bodies of the players.
Other times he shoves them.
He also screams and berates them, at times
using homophobic slurs.
Rice was suspended for three days, but the
school didn’t publicly specify why.
He finished out the season with the team,
entitling him to the $100,000 bonus, even
though Rutgers had a losing record.
On April 2, 2013, after the season was over,
the ESPN show Outside the Lines aired the
practice footage and interviewed the former
The response was immediate and people called
for Rice to be fired.
He was fired the next day and Pernetti resigned
three days later.
Three years after the video came out, Rice
was hired as a high school coach in New Jersey,
and said that the firing was a tough thing
to get over.
On the bright side, at least he didn’t have
to coach at… ugh…
14-Year-Old Gainesville Teenagers
In February 2012, two 14-year-old Caucasian
girls living in Gainesville, Florida, recorded
a YouTube video that was a response to the
messages they received regarding a video they
recorded earlier about their thoughts on African-Americans
and food stamps.
As you can probably guess, their original
video was completely racist, and instead of
using the second video to apologize for the
ugly things they said, they decided to make
things much, much worse for themselves.
In the nearly 14 minute long video, the two
girls made fun of African-American stereotypes
and used the N-word so many times that even
Quentin Tarantino would have thought it was
Unlike the girls’ first video, this one
went viral after it was posted on the website
World Star Hip Hop, and within days it was
viewed several hundred thousand times.
The girls also got several death threats and
things got so bad that eight police officers
had to be sent to their school to make sure
they weren’t attacked.
Both ultimately had to be withdrawn from school
to be home schooled.
After the incident, one of the girls and her
mother wrote a public apology where they denounced
YouTube took the original video down, but
copies of it are still available.
The girls were lucky because they were never
identified publicly, so maybe in the future
they will be able to find employment.
In every other video on this list, the person
whose life is ruined appears in the video,
but the story of George Holliday is a bit
On March 3, 1991, at about 1:50 am, Holliday,
who was a plumber living in Los Angeles, awoke
to the sound of police sirens.
He stepped out onto his balcony with his brand
new Sony camcorder and recorded four officers,
three white and one Hispanic, kicking and
beating an African-American man with batons
on the side of the road while 15 other officers
Holliday submitted the video to a news station
and it ran on the news the next day, but not
as the lead story.
However, the story was then picked up by other
news networks, notably CNN, and the video
went viral before viral video was even a term.
It also helped launch the era of “citizen
Of course, the man being beaten in the video
was Rodney King.
The four police officers who did the beating
were indicted, but acquitted, and this led
to the LA riots, which resulted in 54 deaths,
2,383 injuries, and caused over $1 billion
For recording one of the most important home
videos of all time, Holliday was paid $500
at most from news outlets and a few thousand
dollars from licensing it out to filmmakers.
However, that was probably the least of Holliday’s
The video made him a bit of a celebrity and
reporters flooded him with interview requests.
It got to be too much for his first wife and
she left him.
His second marriage didn’t last long either.
He also got death threats, some of them accusing
him of causing the riots.
Due to all the attention, he chose to make
his personal and business phone numbers unlisted.
Instead, he just gets referral work.
He says that he isn’t afraid of someone
finding out who he is, he just doesn’t want
to be bothered.
If all of that wasn’t bad enough, Holliday
was an answer in Trivial Pursuit, but they
incorrectly spelled his name “Halliday”
instead of “Holliday.”
Of course, maybe he’s alright with that,
since he could conceivably insist the game
is referring to someone else.
Around 8:00 pm on October 30, 2015, 23-year-old
Uber driver Edward Caban picked up 32-year-old
Taco Bell marketing manager Benjamin Golden
in Newport Beach, California.
Golden was visibly drunk and couldn’t even
do up his seatbelt.
Caban asked him for an address or directions,
but Golden kept falling asleep.
That’s when Caban changed the direction
of his dashcam to record Golden in the backseat.
After a few minutes, Caban pulled into a parking
lot and told Golden to get out.
Golden took exception to this and started
to punch and smack Caban in the head and then
pulled his hair.
He only stopped after Caban maced him in the
After the attack, Caban called the police
and Golden was arrested.
After the incident, Caban shared the video
with the police and online.
Now, Taco Bell doesn’t put much money into
their food, but we are pretty sure they don’t
chintz out on paying their executives, and
there was just something about an executive
at a major company pounding on an Uber driver
that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way,
so the video went viral.
This led to Golden being fired just days later.
In November, Caban sued Golden for a little
more than $25,000.
In turn, Golden filed a countersuit against
Caban because the video was recorded without
He also said that he felt afraid because he
was drunk and Caban was dropping him off in
an unfamiliar place, and then the next thing
he knew, he was being pepper sprayed.
Finally, Golden’s lawsuit claimed that the
video, which was viewed over 2 million times,
led to media attention that caused Golden
to lose his job and he wasn’t able to find
It also caused him severe emotional distress,
humiliation, and anxiety.
For all that, Golden wanted $5 million.
That’s right: the 32-year-old man who got
too drunk and then assaulted a guy who was
just trying to do his job felt that he’s
owed more money than most of us will ever
earn in a lifetime.
Their suits have yet to go to court, but in
January 2016, Golden pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor
count of battery on a taxi driver and was
sentenced to 60 days in prison.
On November 8, 2014, a four-minute long video
called “Drunk Girl in Public (Social Experiment)”
was uploaded to YouTube.
In the video, a young woman named Jennifer
pretends to be stumbling drunk around Hollywood
Boulevard to see if people will help her get
Instead, she encounters four different men,
who all try very hard to take her home or
lure her into their vehicle.
When they do, she suddenly “sobers up”
Within a day, the video had four million views,
but people immediately questioned its authenticity.
A week later, it was revealed that the video
was staged, and arranged by an online marketer
named Stephen Zhang.
The woman was an actress named Jennifer Box,
who was paid $160 to appear in the video.
The men, who were also acting, weren’t paid
for their roles (so they got to look like
creeps for free… lucky them!) and said they
were tricked and weren’t told the true nature
of the video.
They were told it was a hidden camera comedy
sketch and Box apologized for her role in
The problem was that when people thought that
the video was real, many of them thought the
men were really sleaze balls at best and rapists
This led to the men being attacked online
and threatened with death.
However, things didn’t exactly get much
better when people found out that it was fake.
Many people felt that the actors involved
in the video were either exploiting or making
fun of rape.
This led to Box getting death threats and
random people screaming at her on the street.
In the SyFy show The Internet Ruined My Life,
she talked a bit about the impact it had on
She started to chain smoke because of the
stress and was eventually hospitalized because
of a collapsed lung.
Unfortunately, the video also ruined her acting
and modeling career and she moved back to
her hometown in Texas.
However, the mastermind of the video, Stephen
Zhang, escaped a lot of media scrutiny and
Before the original video was taken down,
it had been viewed over 11 million times in
less than a month.
In the summer of 2012, Adam Smith was the
chief financial officer at a medical equipment
manufacturer in Tucson, Arizona.
He was making $200,000 a year and had a million
dollars in stock options.
And then he did something really, really stupid.
During his lunch break from work, for some
reason Smith was compelled to go through a
Chick-fil-A drive-thru and get a cup of free
While recording himself, Smith berated the
drive-thru worker for comments that the chief
operating officer of Chick-fil-A made about
gay marriage months earlier in June.
The female employee, who probably didn’t
make more than minimum wage, said that she
wasn’t comfortable with being videotaped,
but remained ceaselessly polite while Smith
chastised her for working at a hateful place.
She even tells Smith to have a good day and
as Smith drives away, he says to himself,
I just did something really good.
I feel purposeful.”
He was so proud of himself that he uploaded
the video during the remainder of his lunch,
and then he went back to work; presumably
he skipped eating food because he was so full
on his own self-satisfaction and the cup of
water that he got from Chick-fil-A.
When he walked in the door at his work, presumably
looking as smug as Martin Shkreli, the receptionist
looked at him wide-eyed and said “Adam,
what did you do?”
He was fired that day.
Gone was the $200,000 a year salary and the
million dollars in stock options.
Smith apologized to the Chick-fil-A employee
in a video, and she forgave him, but the damage
was already done.
After the video was posted, Smith couldn’t
find another job.
He and his family, which includes four children,
two which are adopted and have special needs,
were forced to sell their home and move into
When Smith did get another job, it only lasted
for two weeks before he was fired again.
He said that he has a hard time getting hired
again, even by people who agree with his stance,
because they’re worried he’ll do something
similar in the future.
When he gave an interview in 2015, he said
his wife was the breadwinner and the family
was on food stamps.
Smith says he doesn’t regret the stance
he took, but he regrets the way he talked
to the employee.
The non-profit group Invisible Children, Inc.
was founded in 2004 by Jason Russell, Bobby
Bailey, and Laren Poole.
The group started the non-profit when the
trio returned to the United States after spending
some time in Africa.
When they were in Uganda, they learned of
the Lord’s Resistance Army and its leader,
Kony was a warlord who filled his army with
children that were kidnapped or forced to
The aim of Invisible Children was to bring
attention to the child soldier problem and
ultimately the arrest and conviction of Kony.
In March 2012, the group released a 30 minute
documentary called Kony 2012 that was directed
and prominently featured one of the founders,
The goal of the video was to make Kony famous,
which would hopefully lead to his arrest.
Shortly after the video was released, it went
Within five days it had been viewed over 100
Invisible Children also received $30 million
in donations because of the video.
However, the video and Invisible Children
also received a lot of criticism after the
video went viral.
Some people claimed that it was an example
of “slacktivism” and “white savior industrial
Other people pointed out that the film was
For example, it fails to mention that Kony
was no longer in power in Uganda, and was
in hiding, probably in the Sudan.
Finally, other people questioned Invisible
Children’s financial integrity and what
they planned to do with the donations..
Things got even worse for Russell and the
organization two weeks after the video was
Russell was spotted walking around the streets
of San Diego completely naked.
Someone videotaped his walk, and it shows
Russell acting erratically, talking to himself,
hitting the ground, and vandalizing cars.
The police were called and Russell was committed
to a psychiatric hospital for several weeks.
Unfortunately, the video was purchased by
TMZ and widely shared online and by the major
After Russell was released from the hospital
in April 2012, he did interviews to promote
a second Kony video, and explained his breakdown.
He said that he was exhausted, dehydrated,
and stressed out from constantly defending
He said that he just snapped and wasn’t
in control of his mind and body.
Russell has since stayed out of the public
In 2014, the CEO of Invisible Children said
that the organization had used up all the
money they raised from Kony 2012.
He didn’t expect the organization to survive
beyond 2015, but at the time of this posting,
it is still in operation.
Kony has yet to be arrested.
In 2016, Billy Bush probably thought that
life was pretty good.
After spending years hosting Access Hollywood,
in August 2016, he became the co-anchor of
the third hour of NBC’s Today.
He was also bringing in over $3.5 million
Then on October 7, 2016, The Washington Post
published a recording from 2005 featuring
Bush and now-President Donald Trump on an
Access Hollywood bus.
The camera is outside of the bus, but their
microphones were on and recorded their conversation.
On the bus, they exchanged their opinions
on the latest book by Phillip Roth and their
thoughts on the movie Being There.
No, just kidding.
They both used deplorable language to objectify
women, and then Trump talked about trying
to seduce a married woman and boasted about
how he used his fame to sexually assault women
while Bush egged him on.
After the video was released, Bush apologized.
He also said that it’s no excuse, but he
was young and immature back when the video
However, we should also point out that in
2005, Bush was 34-years-old.
And if he was so immature at the age of 34
that he thought that sexually assaulting women
is not only acceptable, but funny and cool,
then maybe he’s just a genuinely crappy
In the end, NBC and Bush reached a settlement.
Rumors were that it was anywhere from $9 million
to $10 million, but the sum was undisclosed.
When the settlement was being negotiated,
people on Twitter trolled Bush to donate some
of the settlement to women’s rights groups,
but he didn’t respond.
He’s probably thinking that he might want
to hold onto his money, because who knows
when he’ll work again.
After Seinfeld went off the air in 1999, it
continued to have loyal fans who watched reruns
and bought the seasons on DVD.
Heck, turn on your TV – there’s probably
a rerun on somewhere right now.
On the show, Michael Richards found global
stardom playing the role of Cosmo Kramer.
His physical humor paired with Kramer’s
quirkiness and misadventures made Kramer a
character that transcended cultural boundaries.
In his post-Seinfeld career, Richards returned
to stand up and was probably doing it for
the love of it because he certainly wasn’t
hurting for money.
In just the last season of Seinfeld, Richards
made over $13 million, in addition to receiving
residuals from reruns and DVD sales.
On November 17, 2006, Richards was performing
at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood.
After he had started his set, a group of people
came in late and started ordering drinks.
One of the people admitted that they were
kind of loud while Richards was performing.
Richards became frustrated with the group,
and started to spew some pretty racist language.
He told one audience member, who was black,
to shut up, and had this happened 50 years
ago, the audience member would have been lynched.
This was followed by his use of the n-word
several times, before justifying it by saying
“That’s what happens when you interrupt
the white man, don’t you know?”
Many people walked out of the show, and the
incident may have never made the news… except
someone had recorded the rant and sold it
Three days later, Richards appeared via satellite
on The Late Show with David Letterman and
apologized for the language.
He retired from stand up not long after that.
In the ensuing years, Richards appeared in
Bee Movie, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the short-lived
In 2012, he was a guest on Jerry Seinfeld’s
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and it’s
clear that Richards misses working as a comedian,
and he definitely misses playing Kramer.
He says that he could have played Kramer for
the rest of his life.
Richards also said that the night at the Laugh
Factory still haunts him.
We started with a Rice who coached at Rutgers,
so let’s end with a Rice who played at Rutgers.
In 2014, star running back Ray Rice was going
into the third year of his $35 million contract
with the Baltimore Ravens.
On February 15, Rice and his then-fiancée
Janay Palmer were at the Revel Casino in Atlantic
The police were called after Rice pulled Palmer’s
unconscious body out of an elevator.
Rice says they got in a fight and both hit
They both turned down medical treatment and,
both were arrested and charged with simple
Rice’s lawyer said it was a minor altercation.
Four days later, the video of Rice dragging
Palmer out of the elevator was released by
TMZ and it caused a minor uproar.
Over the next couple of months, Rice and Palmer
got married, while both the Ravens and the
NFL reviewed the incident.
In July 2014, Rice was given a two-game suspension,
which the Ravens’ General Manager Ozzie
Newsome called “fair,” but “significant.”
However, many people were critical of the
Then, several days after the 2014 NFL season
started, TMZ posted a second video of the
This one was taken from inside the elevator
and it shows the actual assault, which was
It shows Rice punching Palmer twice.
The second punch caused Palmer’s head to
hit the railing in the elevator and she fell
to the ground, where she lay motionless.
Rice didn’t try to help her at all as she
lay unconscious at his feet.
Instead, once it gets to the right floor,
he carries her limp body out of the elevator
and drops her face first on the floor.
Hours after the second video was released,
the Ravens ended Rice’s contract and the
NFL suspended him indefinitely.
The Ravens settled with Rice, probably close
to the tune of $3.5 million.
Rice, who was a talented running back and
was arguably still in the tail end of his
prime, has been unable to catch on with another
In 2016, he said he would donate his salary
to domestic violence programs if a team signed
him, but there were no takers even though
there were a few teams that probably could
have used him.