2015 in Scandals From Bill Cosby to Charlie Sheen to Rachel Dolezal

TheWrap ranks the year’s controversies, so you don’t have to

Like any year, 2015 had its share of salacious, lurid and gasp-inducing stories. Some of them momentarily outraged us, while the others are still gnawing at our consciousness like a lingering nightmare.

In an effort to put everything in perspective, TheWrap has ranked this year’s most notable scandals, based on the fame of the person at the center of the scandal and the egregiousness of the offense.

Read on to separate the controversies from the nontroversies.

Bill Cosby
LEVEL OF FAME: 10
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 10
Hands-down, the Hollywood scandal of the year. America’s dad, accused of drugging and raping dozens of women? The ongoing saga makes us want to pull a multi-colored sweater over our heads and hide from the world.

Bill Cosby

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Jared Fogle
LEVEL OF FAME: 7
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 9
Sure, he was just the guy who lost a ton of weight by eating Subway sandwiches. But he was a well-known presence in America’s living rooms, and the horrific revelations of sex with minors and child pornography left a seriously bad taste in everyone’s mouths.
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Charlie Sheen
LEVEL OF FAME: 9
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 4
Make no mistake, a star of Charlie Sheen‘s stature declaring that he’s HIV-positive is a notable event. And it might have even been surprising, if Sheen hadn’t practically been treating reckless behavior like an Olympic sport for decades.

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Josh Duggar
LEVEL OF FAME: 5
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 8
Former “19 Kids and Counting” star Josh Duggar might not have been a household name outside of reality TV fans, but he pulled off a rare scandal two-fer. First, the revelation that he had fondled several underage girls — some of his sisters among them — when he was a teenager. And then the conservative Christian’s exposure as an adulterer following the Ashley Madison data leak. Toss on a big, greasy dollop of hypocrisy, and that’s some tasty scandal pie right there.
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James Deen
LEVEL OF FAME: 2
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 8
Rape accusations leveled by nine women are nudging Deen toward Cosby territory on the (alleged) atrocity scale. But in terms of notoriety, he’s only famous in the porn world– and even then, he’s no Ron Jeremy.

James Deen

Brian Williams
LEVEL OF FAME: 8
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 6
Williams’ tall tales about being struck by enemy rocket-propelled grenade fire while in a helicopter during the 2003 Iraq invasion dealt a blow to the news media’s reputation, at a time when more and more of the public is disinclined to trust the media.

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Lamar Odom
LEVEL OF FAME: 6
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 4
The former NBA player with a history of substance abuse — who became a tabloid staple through his marriage to Khloe Kardashian — was found unconscious in a Nevada brothel. Sure, this hyper-salacious story caused a big pre-holiday buzz. But it was also tragic in a sense, when you factor in reports that more than two months after his collapse, Odom is still “struggling” and apparently unable to walk without help.

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Tom Brady
LEVEL OF FAME: 9
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 3
One’s feelings on Deflategate probably depended on whether one was a Patriots fan or not. But in the end, Brady’s suspension was vacated, and in the long-run an underinflated football or two is small potatoes compared to the concussion crisis that the NFL is facing.

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Ariana Grande
LEVEL OF FAME: 6
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 3
Yes, the sight of former Nickelodeon star Grande licking donuts on the sly and trash-talking America — on the 4th of July, no less — was jarring. But with Miley Cyrus constantly cavorting topless onstage, the uproar quickly dissipated.

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Guiliana Rancic
LEVEL OF FAME: 5
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 2
So she made fun of Zendaya’s dreadlocks and said she probably “smelled like patchouli oil and weed” — isn’t “Fashion Police” supposed to hand out tough justice wrapped in unflinching humor? Oh, well; at least it set off a chain of events that culminated in Kelly Osbourne exiting the show.

Zendaya and Giuliana Rancic are shown at the 2015 Academy Awards

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Rachel Dolezal
LEVEL OF FAME: 1
LEVEL OF SCANDAL: 1
Yes, the former president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP identified herself as black, even if her white biological parents saw things otherwise. But really,  she’s just a tiny, racially confused ripple in the bigger pond of more substantial offenses.

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