The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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Top 13 of 2023: Scandals

The past year never had a dull moment. 2023 has come and gone, but not without its fair share of surprises, scandals, and controversies. Whether it meant heated online debates or simply feeling a rush of emotion after being influenced by yet another event, these moments were able to reach.

From politics to entertainment, the eruption of these unexpected events kept the public glued to their screens.



13. Superhero fatigue
Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Have the legendary tales finally come to an end? Critics expressed their disappointment in the performance of the Marvel and DC cinematic universes in 2023. With the extreme underperformance of “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantum Mania” and the outright flop of “The Marvels,” fans stated that the genre had become repetitive and formulaic.

However, many people claim that superhero fatigue is simply a myth, as streaming and box office numbers still reflect a loyal and dedicated fan base, as the avid debate regarding whether the Marvel franchise has truly fallen continues.

12. Space Race
Image courtesy of SpaceX

Fifty-four years after the legendary Apollo 11 moon landing, the race to set foot on the moon began once again. With the main contenders being NASA, SpaceX, China, BlueOrigin and other nations aiming to land another astronaut on the moon, several ethical implications have arisen. While this is arguably simply another quest to further human achievement and discovery, the lack of clear rules in the unexplored frontier of space may be the cause of conflict on an international scale.

11. SAG-AFTRA Strike
Image courtesy of SAG-AFTRA Strike

Through the highly controversial writers’ and actors’ strikes of 2023, we were able to witness whether individuals would go the extra mile to defend workers’ rights, despite the impacts on their entertainment. Hollywood writers and actors from the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike, dissatisfied with the terms of their contracts and in return causing the cancellation and delay of hundreds of titles, including “Avatar 2,” “Stranger Things Season 4,” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” A pressing point that was a large cause of this strike was the increasing usage of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the film industry and its ability to undermine or replace the work of an actor or screenwriter. Although many sympathized with those being affected, the public was disappointed by the delay of hundreds of movies.

10. Danish Artist Forced to Repay Museum
Image courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

With the increasing prevalence of abstract art, the question has begun to arise, “What is art?” This became evident in the case of Danish artist Jens Haaning. In 2021, Haaning was paid over 47 million for two original works to provide to the Kunsten Museum. However, in 2023 he submitted only two blank canvases, and titled the project “Take the Money and Run.” After he refused to return the money to the museum, he was taken to court and forced to reimburse the institution.

9. Britney Spears Conservatorship Battle
Image courtesy of Complex

This was one of the most followed and supported celebrity causes of 2023 as the pop star fought against the legal arrangement that had controlled her life and finances since 2008. Following the #FreeBritney movement and her first appearance in court, in which she spoke of her treatment under the conservators, the public was overcome with a wave of sympathy. After a fierce battle, the conservatorship was at last broken after 13 years.

8. “Barbie” Backlash
Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Though it was a blockbuster hit of 2023, the reputation of the Barbie movie did not go unscathed. In the first scene in which Barbie consults with Weird Barbie, a map appears in the background, seemingly hand-drawn, with distorted and misplaced countries and continents. However, this detail caused the movie to be banned in Vietnam. This was due to claims that the map depicted the “nine-dash line,” which reinforces China’s territorial claims. As a result, Barbie was removed from all theaters in Vietnam.

7. British Museum Theft
Image courtesy of Reuters

While the British Museum is still at the center of a large controversy as to whether items originating from other countries should be returned, the London institution faced further difficulty in August of 2023. Two years after an antique dealer spotted an item from the museum on eBay and had his qualms dismissed, the true extent of this theft was uncovered. Over two thousand items from the British Museum were reported missing, the majority of which have still not been accounted for. 

6. Prince Harry’s Memoir, “Spare” 
Image courtesy of Penguin Random House

Prince Harry, once fifth in line to the British throne, released his memoir, “Spare,” causing a stir among the public. The book detailed shocking details regarding his upbringing and relations with the royal family. However, upon its publication, many saw it as a betrayal to the royal family—a one-sided, inaccurate, and exaggerated tale. The public still struggles to determine whether this book is a biased account of his life or simply a brave and truthful expression of emotion.

5. Hailey Bieber and Selena Gomez Feud
Image courtesy of Tyrell Hampton

It all started with an eyebrow.

Following Selena Gomez’s failed eyebrow lamination attempt, Hailey Bieber took to social media with a new post, one that highlighted her own eyebrow. This was only the beginning of a series of posts from both celebrities, each seemingly throwing shade upon the other. The two celebrities have been pitted against each other by fans for years and years on end, further fueling this controversy.

4. Disney Remakes
Image courtesy of Disney

Disney’s remakes of classic animated films have been hits at the box office, but not without stirring critique from the public. Several changes and omissions from the original storyline have led many to say that the movies have lost their classic charm and in some cases, historical context, becoming overly Westernized and dull. However, others state that these are innovative and artistic choices, making them more appealing to the modern viewer. Remakes including “Snow White” and “The Little Mermaid” were under heavy scrutiny in 2023.

3. Doja Cat Satanist Allegations
Image courtesy of RCA Records

Confusion and criticism have arisen from the public following a series of Doja Cat’s social media posts and the release of her song “Yes, And.” Many accused her of using Satanic imagery to gain traction and attention, while others simply stated that it was an expression of emotion.

2. Kim Kardashian Met Gala Appearance
Image courtesy of Page Six

Kim Kardashian’s appearance at the 2022 Met Gala caused an uproar as she appeared in the famous original Marilyn Monroe dress worn to serenade John F. Kennedy. The dress, which is considered to be an American historical artifact, and is currently owned by Ripley’s Believe it or Not! was loaned to the celebrity. However, this dress brought attention to wealth inequality and privilege, as many fear that the dress may have been irreversibly altered or damaged after this brief appearance. Further, the 2024 Met Gala theme was recently released to be, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” which some critics believe to be a direct dig at Kardashian’s 2022 look.

1. Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce
Image courtesy of Getty Images

In April 2023, fans were shocked to see the debut of a shocking new celebrity couple. Pop star Taylor Swift and NFL player Travis Kelce made their first appearance together at one of Kelce’s football games. Fans were dazzled by this new couple despite their massively different careers. While many fans are excited to see what this relationship may entail, others remain skeptical that it is simply a grab at attention, especially with Taylor Swift becoming a familiar face at football games.

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