Oh, the power of money. Everybody has their price, including some of the biggest and best entertainers in the world, leading to their renown as celebrity sellouts. Musicians, actors, athletes, writers – very few are above abandoning their principles or philosophies just to make a buck or two. This is what we call a sellout, people. And in Hollywood, celebrities who sold out are a dime a dozen.
But there’s often a fine line between being a sellout and being a businessperson, right? Just because someone capitalizes on their fame to get either more fame or more money doesn’t make them a sellout necessarily, does it? Nope! It’s when they completely go against everything they stood for, rebelled against, or became famous for, instead becoming addicted to making money hand over fist, no matter what the project or endorsement – that is a bonafide sellout.
So who is the biggest sellout of all time? Is it Eddie Murphy going from edgy comic to family movie man? Is it Katy Perry going against her Christian roots to become a popstar? Is it Howard Stern trading his shock value to be a judge on America’s Got Talent? It’s all a matter of opinion, but this is a list of those famous sellouts and what got them to throw away their conviction .
Source: The Daily Mail
Kanye West performed the ULTIMATE sellout move – he married Kim Kardashian! Kardashian is the definition of shallow, money-grubbing attention seeker, and West, who isn’t one to shy away from attention himself, sold out his own rap career to become part of the Kardashian machine. West is quick to accuse other rappers for selling out to money, but dude is a little more tolerant when it comes to looking in the mirror.
He was once a young musician who captured the heart of America online, proving that a good voice trumps all. People rooted for the underdog who was bucking the system and becoming a success in a different way. But as soon as he got big, Bieber completely sold himself out and became the douchebag that many people thought he was the antithesis of. He got arrested… he made fans wait for hours at concerts… he urinated in restaurants… yeah, this guy forgot any of his roots the second he made it to Hollywood.
This dude has an addiction to selling out! There isn’t a single thing he’s not willing to put his or the KISS name on including coffins, checker sets, colognes, wines, condoms, you name it. Granted there are those who say KISS was never a legitimate band to begin with, but there was definitely a point where the mighty dollar became more important than any kind of quality of music (oh yeah, he also did a reality show).
How the hell did this guy go from Public Enemy gangster rapper to star of a reality show about finding love on VH1? Flavor of Love was an embarrassment to the musician, no? There’s nothing edgy about VH1, and though entertaining, he turned himself into the court jester of television for everyone to laugh at.
Source: The New York Times
Remember when Eddie Murphy was edgy? When he was actually a funny stand-up comedian who pushed the boundaries in movies like Raw and shows like Saturday Night Live? Whatever happened to that guy? Somewhere along the line he decided he’d pretty much do any movie they threw at him, no matter how God awful it was, from Norbit to Meet Dave to Daddy Day Care.
It’s kind of hard to call someone a sellout when he’s just doing the same tired shtick that made them famous in the first place, but FFS, Sandler, you’ve been doing the Happy Madison thing for DECADES now. Every movie with that production label on it is basically guaranteed to be an awful waste of brain cells purporting to be a movie for the masses that’s really just an excuse for a cast of miscreants to hang out shooting the sh*t for the duration of filming. Call Paul Thomas Anderson and make at least one more good movie before you turn 50.
Source: Max Level Geek
This one hits fanboys and girls really hard. Many people believe George Lucas sold out himself and the Star Wars legacy when he made the prequel trilogy to the movies back in the late ’90s, accusing him of caring more about selling action-figures than quality of the franchise. Lucas proved them right when he gave up and sold the rights to Disney for $4 billion dollars.
Source: What Culture
Even Miley Cyrus admits that her younger self wouldn’t approve of the way her career has gone. Cyrus told Billboard, “My 13-year-old self would have beaten up my 17-year-old self because she would be like ‘You’re a sellout!'” Though she tries really hard to prove her edge – scandalous performances, weird music videos – the bottom line is you can still hear her song, “Wrecking Ball,” in a Nissan Sentra commercial.
If becoming a judge on American Idol for $12 million dollars isn’t a sellout, then what the heck is? Lopez buckled to the pressures of wanting fame, relevance, and money by becoming a judge on the franchise. But even before that, she literally sold out for money through her deal with Fiat. She performed at the 2011 AMAs promoting the car and produced a music video for her song “Papi” that doubled as a commercial for the car. Nothing says authentic music like “Fiat”! What happened to Jenny from the Block?
Source: Business Insider
The Black Eyed Peas
If you search the Internet, you will find The Black Eyed Peas listed as the biggest sellout band of all time. They commercialized themselves by changing their style of hip-hop music and doing every public appearance possible, including commercials for Best Buy and iTunes. However, Will.i.am disagrees strongly, telling MTV “People say ‘sellout’. That’s one thing I don’t get. That’s some dumb s**t, because it’s like we ain’t frontin’. A sellout is somebody who’s one way with their mom, and then when they with their homies.”
Source: Contact Music
Snoop Dogg is the Gene Simmons of rap. If there’s a product on the shelf, Snoop Dogg is willing to put his name on it (well, one of his names – remember when he became Snoop Lion?). Norton Anti-Virus and Toyota minivans have gotten the Snoop endorsement, and oh yeah, he also starred on One Life to Live and did a music video with Psy. At least he never sold out his true love – marijuana.
Source: Huffington Post
James Patterson is no longer an author, he’s a book factory. Trading quality for quantity, this man spits out books, expecting his fans to pay over and over again, even at the price of his characters and stories. Now, he “co-authors” books which basically just means he tacks his name onto someone else’s. Stephen King calls him a “terrible writer,” but Patterson just won’t stop.
Source: The Boston Globe
This is one of the hardest to say, but for the foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, anti-establishment radio shock jock to build his entire career on “edge,” and then become a judge on America’s Got Talent for about $15 million dollars a season, isn’t that selling out?! He’s also made up with everyone he once feuded with, including his arch enemy Rosie O’Donnell. What happened to Howard?!
Source: The Dirty
How could one of the edgiest and most innovative voices in hip-hop become the star of the kids film Are We There Yet? Doesn’t that seem to go against everything the rapper ever stood for? It all began in the ’90’s when the former N.W.A. member was doing commercials for SEGA, but then dude made the full sellout when he traded his social political gangster rap for family movies like Are We There Yet? and Ride Along.
Source: LA Weekly
Two words: BOAT TRIP. Two more words: RAT RACE. Another two more words: SNOW DOGS. Show him the money.
Source: Rotten Tomatoes
Katy Perry started her music career as a Christian singer who produced gospel rock albums. Now, she’s, well… she kissed a girl and she liked it. Many religious people believe Perry, who’s father is a minister, sold out her Christian roots for success. Whether that’s true or not, there is one piece of concrete evidence that she has sold out even her own career: those Proactiv commercials.
Source: The Christian Post
There’s always been a question as to whether or not Nicolas Cage is a good actor, but there was never a question that he was an Oscar winning one! Remember Leaving Las Vegas? Perhaps the bigger question is DOES HE? Long gone are the good Nicolas Cage films; these days he’ll basically take whatever is offered to him (Ahem, Drive Angry, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Frozen Ground, etc., etc., etc.).
The Urban Dictionary has a unique definition of what an “Ozzy Osbourne” is – “a washed up sellout who only sees dollar signs.” The former Prince of Darkness started selling out when he did his reality show on MTV The Osbournes, but it’s been a tragic decline since. He’s even been in Best Buy ads with Justin Bieber and premiered his songs on CSI: Miami! Not exactly as edgy as biting the head off a bat.
Source: Urban Dictionary
Sports fans called Jordan a sellout back in 2011 when he was one of the hardliners in the NBA lockout as an owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. Stephon Marbury Tweeted about Jordan, “Michael Fake Jordan is a sell out. #Period. He forgot which hole he came out of. I said it “Stephon X Marbury”” and “MJ went from MJ the black cat to a guy who forgot he was a player.” Jordan has also been accused of selling out with his Air Jordan brand by milking fans for more money than he should.
Source: CBS Sports
Anthony Bourdain was known for blasting TV chefs like Rachael Ray, Emeril Lagasse, and Bobby Flay for many years, but then he himself became a producer/judge on that boring ABC cooking show called The Taste. Bourdain at least admits it, going on The Joy Behar Show saying he knows he’s sold out and is “now part of the problem.”
Source: Huffington Post
The Beatles definitely sold out their image for fame, whether you like or not. Before becoming a success, these guys were an entirely different band. Clad in leather, they were a rebellious punk group, but after producer George Martin and manager Brian Epstein got their hands on them, they turned into mop-topped, suit-wearing boys next door. In a 1971 interview with Rolling Stone, John Lennon himself even said, “You know Brian put us in suits and all that, and we made it very, very big. But we sold out, you know.”
Source: Rolling Stone
They defined punk in the ’90s, but as they’ve gotten older, many fans have accused the band Green Day of selling out. Fans’ proof? The fact that the group wrote a Broadway musical? The pop influence of their later music? Their popularity on MTV? Billie Joe’s appearance on The Voice? Most bands go through the “sellout” debate, but punk rockers are a hard group to please.
Even the best of the best need to pay their mortgages. Robert De Niro was once the most respected actor in Hollywood, starring in gritty films like Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and Mean Streets. But as his career progressed, De Niro seemed to care less and less about the quality of the films he was doing, and more and more about the paycheck (see: Rocky & Bullwinkle, Showtime, Grudge Match).
Source: The Guardian
Many people have accused Johnny Depp of selling out his former self and views in order to become a box-office, audience pleasing success. The days of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas are long gone, replaced by movies like Mortdecai, The Lone Ranger, and Pirates 18. Depp doesn’t agree though, saying “it’s not like I was ever looking to become franchise boy, I was never looking to become anything like that. I just latched on to a character [Jack Sparrow] I loved.”
Source: Huffington Post
He was once the DEFINITION of acting. Not only did he make what is often referred to as the best film of all time, Citizen Kane, but Orson Welles was a serious thespian to the utmost degree. But, needing money in the ’70s, he was reduced to filming commercials for frozen peas. Even he admitted to selling out for the $15,000 a day recording sessions, but if you listen to the recordings, at least he didn’t sell out his grumpy jerk persona.
Source: Mental Floss
When he was first offered to direct The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola was hesitant because he thought it was selling out from his art-house style. After his own studio collapsed, he took the gig, even though it was against his belief. Sure, the movie was a huge hit, but in his mind, he was selling out. Cut to The Godfather III, in which he not only sold out the franchise but sold out his own daughter, Sofia, who got skewered for being in her dad’s film.
Sure, Pacquiáo can sell out tickets for his fights, but he can also sell out his image for money. Ever see his commercial for San Manuel Indian Casino? Not so tough in that one. Not to mention “The Fight of the Century” against Mayweather, which was beyond lackluster and had Pacquiáo blaming his loss on a shoulder injury. The back and forth that set up the fight just raised his price up and up, but that’s business. Recording a cover of “Sometimes When We Touch”? Not so much.
Source: Business Insider
Sure, Voight has gotten lucky being able to show off his chops on the hit show Ray Donovan, but before that, the Coming Home and Midnight Cowboy star was a little less picky in his roles – namely Baby Geniuses 2 with Scott Baio.
Robert Downey Jr. is known as one of the best actors of his generation. He’s done countless edgy indie films, but sold himself out to the Iron Man suit (and paycheck). Even director James Toback, who directed Downey in several films in the ’90s said, “he’s not the same person anymore” in a Huffington Post interview. He added, “He’s a one-man brand franchise. I think it requires him to be a person who doesn’t resemble the person he used to be.”
Source: Huffington Post
Some say Nirvana’s commercial success came only after the band changed who they were at the core. Their first album, Bleach, is quite different than their popular album, Nevermind, which was produced like a pop album by producer Butch Vig. Kurt Cobain protested and was against how mainstream the album was, actually wanting to change the album title to Sheep because that’s who he said was buying it. Ultimately, the album catapulted the band to stardom and sold 26 million copies.
You’d think Morgan Freeman would want to protect the brand that is his voice and those freckles a little more – but he has no problem selling it out for the highest bidder, even for the Conan the Barbarian remake. You can always tell when the rent is due because Freeman will show up in movies like The Love Guru or The Big Bounce.