Who Is America's Most Disliked Celebrity? An Explainer

Ariana Grande - H 2015
AP Images

Ariana Grande - H 2015

The numbers behind the analysis, recently gathered by Q Scores, also reveal the biggest celebrity falls from grace — and the most loved celebrities overall.

Q Scores, the company that polls Americans on their opinions about things like brands and celebrities, has just released its latest round of data concerning famous people. The biannually collected Q Scores are best known for their popularity rating — how well-liked, for example, a certain celebrity is among Americans — but they also includes a "negative" rating, which measures unpopularity.

The Hollywood Reporter has now taken this score, compared it over time, and compiled it into a top 10 list of the biggest celebrity falls from grace, i.e. famous people who have experienced the biggest uptick in their negative Q Score rating from 2013 to 2015 (as opposed to the celebrities with the highest overall negative Q Score rating, also revealed below).

The rating is expressed in terms of percentage points. For example, Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes comes in at No. 10 on the list with an increase of one point in her negative Q Score. This means between 2013 and 2015, in the Q Scores poll, there was a rise in negative perception of Leakes among American adults by 1 percent.

Below is the full list, from actors to musicians to media personalities to athletes, ranked:

10. NeNe Leakes, 1 point increase in negative Q Score

Leakes was seemingly at the center of all of the drama-filled showdowns on The Real Housewives of Atlanta during her seven-season run on the show. In June, the reality star announced her leave from the series, which she has starred in since 2008.

9. Paula Deen, 3 point increase

In 2013, Deen was sued by the former manager of a restaurant previously owned by her and her brother who claimed that the celebrity chef had committed acts of discrimination and racism toward her employees. Deen admitted to using the N-word in front of her workers in a deposition, and she was subsequently dropped by Food Network and multiple other business partners.

8. Miley Cyrus, 4 point increase

The former child star turned heads at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards when she joined Robin Thicke onstage for a provocative performance of his hit "Blurred Lines." Since then, Cyrus has grabbed headlines in other bizarre ways: twerking with a band of little people onstage, dying her armpit hair pink, and posing nude with her pet pig for Paper magazine.

7. Judy Reyes, 10 point increase

Reyes, best known for her roles on Scrubs, stars in Lifetime's controversial series Devious Maids. The show, which also co-stars Ana Ortiz, Roselyn Sanchez and Dania Ramirez, was widely talked about upon its premiere in 2013 for its sexualization of Latina women. Interestingly, Reyes simultaneously experienced a big change in her positive Q Score rating (21 points) suggesting her appearance on the show has been polarizing, with large portions of adult Americans either liking or disliking her — with few people in the middle.

6. Robert Griffin III, 10 point increase (tied)

After winning the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and leading the Washington Redskins to a streak of victories, the young quarterback suffered a knee injury during a game against the Baltimore Ravens and subsequently reinjured his knee in a later matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Contrary to what had been announced in a statement by coach Mike Shanahan, it was later revealed that Griffin's doctor had never cleared the player to return to the field. Griffin underwent surgery in January 2013 but was never able to repeat his early success during the 2013 season. Rumors that later circulated indicating Griffin would return to the starting lineup despite his poor performance on the field caused a rift between him and his teammates, according to ESPN.

5. Adrian Peterson, 13 point increase

In September 2014, the Minnesota Vikings running back was indicted on charges of child abuse for beating his 4-year-old son with a tree branch as punishment and causing multiple cuts, bruises and other injuries to the child's body. Peterson was ordered to pay a fine of $4,000 and serve two years of probation in addition to 80 hours of community service.

4. Robin Thicke, 14 point increase

Thicke's 2014 single "Blurred Lines" sparked debate about its controversial lyrics ("I know you want it. / You're a good girl"), which some listeners thought insinuated rape. The song faced plagiarism accusations for allegedly ripping off Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" in a lawsuit filed by Gaye's family (Thicke and co-writer Pharrell Williams lost the legal battle and were ordered to pay $5.3 million). In the midst of the "Blurred Lines" lawsuit, the singer also went through a public divorce from longtime partner Paula Patton.

3. Mehmet Oz, 16 point increase

In April, a group of 10 physicians wrote a letter demanding that Dr. Oz be removed from his faculty position at Columbia University for his "egregious lack of integrity" and promotion of "quack treatments." The celebrity doctor addressed his critics in a video statement, saying, "I know I've irritated some potential allies in our quest to make America healthy. No matter our disagreements, freedom of speech is the most fundamental right we have as Americans. And these 10 doctors are trying to silence that right."

2. Ariana Grande, 26 point increase

The pop singer received backlash for her behavior at a local doughnut shop she visited with friends in early July. Video footage obtained by TMZ showed Grande secretly licking on-display donuts and declaring that she "hates America." The singer has since issued two separate apologies for the incident, admitting that she was "disgusted" and "disappointed" with herself.

1. Bill Cosby, 43 point increase

Cosby is currently facing rape allegations from nearly 50 women who have accused the comedian of drugging and sexually assaulting them. In a dated deposition that has recently resurfaced, it was revealed that Cosby admitted to giving Quaaludes to women for the purpose of sex.

Q Scores executive vp Henry Schafer tells THR Cosby is likely the most disgraced celebrity in recent American history. "I don't ever recall seeing an increase [in negative Q Score] like that. It's the biggest drop I've ever seen. A complete reversal." Back in the heyday of The Cosby Show in the late '80s, Schafer says Cosby once recorded the highest Q Score ever, with more than 70 percent of Americans saying Cosby was one of their favorite celebrities.

According to Schafer, Cosby's negative Q Score in 2013 was 9, meaning 9 percent of adults had given him a negative rating. That number has since risen by 43 points, to 52 percent in 2015.

While this list marks the celebrities who've experienced the biggest changes in their negative Q Scores, it doesn't reflect the famous faces with the highest overall negative Q Score ratings. 

The highest negative Q Score belongs to Kim Kardashian at 71. "But that's not a bad thing for her," Schafer argues. "That's how she markets herself." Schafer says this number, while negative, is actually a positive marker on the scale of success because it's a "love to hate" scenario, where the overall negativity is really just a sign of popularity.

This is not so for Justin Bieber, who has the second-highest negative Q Score rating at 63. Bieber's negative rating, Schafer says, doesn't stem from any kind of ironic "negative" admiration: it just means most people dislike him.

Meanwhile, Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman are tied for most popular with a positive Q Score rating of 48 according to the most recent polls. Denzel Washington, Steven Spielberg and Betty White are tied for second most popular with a positive Q Score rating of 44.

Maggie Smith had the most positive change in her Q Score in the wake of Downton Abbey with a Q Score increase of 15.