Scandals can captivate our attention with gripping headlines and shocking revelations that leave a lasting impact. In our fast-paced world, some scandals disappear from our collective memory almost as quickly as they appear. These crazy scandals, once the talk of the town, now stay in the annals of history. As Mark Twain once said, “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.”
1. Volkswagen’s Emissions Cheating Scandal
In 2015, German automaker Volkswagen shocked the world when it was revealed that they had been manipulating emissions tests for their diesel vehicles. This scandal tarnished Volkswagen’s reputation and resulted in hefty fines and lawsuits. While the scandal initially generated immense outrage, it gradually lost momentum as newer controversies arose.
2. Equifax Data Breach
In 2017, Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies, experienced a massive data breach, compromising the sensitive information of over 147 million people. The breach exposed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other personal details. Despite the severity of the breach, the public’s attention quickly shifted to other headline-grabbing events, and Equifax’s missteps were overshadowed.
3. Wells Fargo’s Fake Accounts Scandal
In 2016, it was revealed that Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the United States, had created millions of unauthorized customer accounts to meet aggressive sales targets. The scandal led to the resignation of the CEO, massive fines, and damage to the bank’s reputation. However, the news cycle moved on, and the scandal faded away, leaving little lasting impact on the public consciousness.
4. Takata Airbags Recall
Between 2008 and 2015, Japanese automotive parts company Takata faced a crisis when it was discovered that their airbags were prone to exploding, causing injuries and deaths. This led to the largest automotive recall in history, affecting tens of millions of vehicles. Although the recall process and legal consequences continued for years, the initial shock and outrage gradually subsided, and the scandal slipped from public awareness.
5. Theranos’ Blood Testing Deception
Theranos, a once-promising healthcare technology company, faced a major scandal when it was revealed in 2015 that their blood-testing technology was unreliable and inaccurate. Founder Elizabeth Holmes faced criminal charges for defrauding investors and patients. Despite the initial media frenzy, the attention shifted elsewhere, and the story of Theranos slowly faded from public memory.
6. BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 was an environmental disaster, as an explosion on the BP-operated oil rig resulted in millions of barrels of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill had devastating effects on marine life and coastal communities. However, as time passed, public attention shifted to new events, and the BP scandal became a distant memory for many.
7. United Airlines’ Passenger Removal Incident
In 2017, United Airlines faced intense backlash when a video surfaced showing a passenger being forcibly removed from an overbooked flight. The incident sparked widespread outrage and led to a public relations nightmare for the airline. Despite the initial uproar and public outcry, the news cycle swiftly moved on, and the incident lost its prominence in people’s minds.
8. Volkswagen’s Monkey Emission Tests
Before the emissions cheating scandal, Volkswagen faced another scandal in 2014 when it was revealed that they had conducted tests on monkeys to study the effects of diesel exhaust. The experiments drew significant criticism and condemnation. However, the news cycle shifted focus with time, and the scandal became a distant memory for many.
9. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Recall
In 2016, Samsung faced a significant setback when their flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7, experienced a series of battery explosions, posing a severe safety risk. The company issued a global recall and discontinued the product. Although the recall made headlines, it soon slipped from public consciousness as newer smartphone releases and controversies captured the public’s attention.
10. FIFA Corruption Scandal
The FIFA corruption scandal, uncovered in 2015, rocked the world of international football. The investigation revealed widespread corruption and bribery within the organization’s highest ranks. Despite the significant impact on the world’s most popular sport, the scandal gradually faded away from the public’s radar, making room for other captivating stories in the world of sports.
11. Lehman Brothers Scandal
Founded in 1850, Lehman Brothers imploded on September 15, 2008, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, still the largest in US history. As the poster child for excess borrowing and leverage, Lehman Brothers’s financial strategy of investing heavily in subprime mortgage debt as the US housing bubble market collapsed caused the company mounting losses. Its downfall led to a freeze in the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, affecting businesses and consumers.
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This article was produced and syndicated by The Cents of Money.
With a passion for investing and personal finance, I began The Cents of Money to help and teach others. My experience as an equity analyst, professor, and mom provide me with unique insights about money and wealth creation and a desire to share with you.