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10 Celebrities Who Lost Their Job for Reasons You Won’t Believe

Being fired is one of our worst nightmares, and many of us consider it a personal failing. But these celebrities didn’t let being fired hold them back. Get some inspiration from their reinvention, when you see 10 famous people fired from their jobs.

1. JK Rowling

JK Rowling

It feels a little strange to introduce a woman who needs no introduction. JK Rowling is the author of the world famous Harry Potter series, which is the best-selling book series in history. It’s inspired movies, merchandise, and even amusement parks based on the Harry Potter universe. While Harry Potter is a boy who lives a meagre existence until he discovers that he’s actually a wizard who has a date with destiny, Rowling has her own rags to riches story. At one time, Rowling was barely making ends meet as a secretary. While she was supposed to be collating and scheduling, she was daydreaming of a more magical world than the one she lived in. Her supervisor couldn’t help but notice she spent more time daydreaming than working, and Rowling was fired. Rather than taking this as a wake Up call to take her secretarial duties more seriously, Rowling used it to pursue her true passion: Writing. Her severance check kept her afloat while she wrote the famous novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. perhaps getting fired with the jolt she needed to concentrate on her life dream. It turns out that for Rowling, her pink slip may as well have been a Hogwarts letter delivered by Owl.

2. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

We all know the late Steve Jobs as the Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. The company that makes our iPhones, iPods, and MacBook’s. While it’s hard to imagine how we would live our lives without the technology that jobs made possible, it turns out one company decided it could live without Jobs just fine. His rise to fame was Meteoric. When most of us were looking forward to our first sip of legal alcohol, at 21 Jobs with Co-founding Apple computers. When Apple computers went public, Jobs hired John Sculley, chief Account Executive of Pepsi, in a move that would be his downfall. Jobs was known for being a visionary, and he worked hard, demanding no less from the people who worked for him. Sculley had enough of jobs demanding nature, and got the board to agree with him. Jobs was fired from his own company, and stripped of all his titles and duties. Jobs wasn’t sure what to do with himself without Apple, and even considered literally running away. However, he spent that time developing state-of-the-art computers, and helping fund a small company you might have heard: of Pixar. Apple computers were struggling without jobs, and they welcomed him back with open arms after seeing all he’d accomplished during his… sabbatical.

3. Bill O’Reilly

Bill O’Reilly

Bill O’Reilly hosted the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News for over a decade, and in that time proved to be a very controversial figure. Many people considered his conservative viewpoints outdated, and he was known to feud with his fellow celebrities, including Ludacris, Whoopi Goldberg, and Joy Behar. Still, he did have its fans, who stood by him amidst numerous allegations of sexual misconduct perpetrated by O’Reilly. One notable incident was the 2004 suit against O’Reilly by former associate producer Andrea Mackris. She alleged that he sexually harassed her via the phone, even offering to scrub her down with a loofah. The suit, like so many others against O’Reilly was settled by Fox and O’Reilly himself. While Fox paid out millions in settlements because of his behavior, they made much more in advertising revenue from his show, which raked in hundreds of millions of dollars. Finally, in April 2017, the build up of allegations and lawsuits were enough for Fox, and they fired O’Reilly. Since he’s newly unemployed, we aren’t sure what’s next in line for O’Reilly. Maybe at 67 it’s time for him to finally start his retirement both from his television show, and from his allegedly horrible behavior.

4. Walt Disney

Walt Disney

Walt Disney is the man behind the second largest mass media and entertainment conglomerate in the world. Although he passed away in 1966, his legacy lives on in as huge a way as possible. The Disney brand is one recognized and loved by everyone, and it even has a rather rabid fan base of super fans, willing to tear each other to shreds over the exact definition of a Disney Princess. So it’s hard to believe that someone could be cruel enough to fire the man we have to thank for many of our favorite things. When he was 22 years old, Disney was working for a newspaper in Missouri, when he was fired for “Not Being Creative Enough,” which seems crazy since we know what he’s capable of in hindsight. He went on to start his own animation business known as “Laughs-o-Grams,” which ultimately went bankrupt. We’re certainly glad we already know this fairy tale has a happy ending in which Disney became wildly successful at animation, and even started his own theme park. At the end of his eventful life, he had accumulated more Oscars for his work than any other individual.

5. Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour has been the editor-in-chief of every fashion maven’s Bible, Vogue, since 1988. She got her start as a journalist, and worked her way up, although she may have stepped on a few toes along the way. Wintour is allegedly the inspiration for Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, as the book was written by her former personal assistant, Lauren Weisberger. However, in her early days, it was possible for people to say “No,” to Wintour. Or even, “You’re Fired,” which happened during her time working for Harper’s Bazaar in 1975. It barely seemed to slow her down. When asked about losing her job, Wintour replied that it was one of the best things that had ever happened to her, and added “I Recommend That You All Get Fired. It’s a Great Learning Experience.” While it’s great to always have an optimistic outlook, we can’t wholeheartedly endorse this advice. Wintour reasons that there is no such thing as perfection, and being terminated is one setback guaranteed to give you a harsh dose reality. Even if you do get fired, it’s important to have confidence that things will get better. As winter also said: “If You Aren’t Sure of Yourself, Pretend That You are, because it Makes It Clearer to Everyone Else.” Hope we didn’t catch you sleeping at your desk, because it’s time for our Quiz Question! Which early draft of a famous Disney film was Walt Disney’s last ditch effort to save his failing laugh-o-grams business?

6. Madonna


Although she’s known for constantly reinventing herself, it’s not always by her own choice. Before we knew her as the Material Girl, Madonna was down on her luck and trying to make ends meet while taking dance classes. She got a part-time job working at a Dunkin Donuts in Times Square. The popular donut chain wasn’t popular with Madonna, as management didn’t feel her unique skill set was an asset to the company. Instead of smiling and handing people their baked goods and coffees, Madonna somehow managed to squirt jelly donut filling all over one disgruntled customer. And we thought it was bad when they put cream instead of milk in our coffee. This really jammed up operations, and Madonna was promptly fired by management. Madonna hasn’t elaborated on the story, so we aren’t sure if the donut incident was a jelly-filled misfire, or a malicious strawberry jam attack. Although considering Madonna’s over the top performances, we bet that if nowadays she started squirting audiences with jelly, people would still be willing to pay big bucks for tickets to the show. Especially if they also received a large Dunkin coffee, preferably in a cup and not splattered all over the place.

7. Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld

We promise this isn’t going to be an entry about nothing. We all know that Jerry Seinfeld co-created the hit television show, Seinfeld. On it, he played the character… Jerry Seinfeld. Hey, you don’t have to be that creative if you’re as hilarious as Jerry Seinfeld. Or perhaps he wanted to get his name out there as much as possible, since his first stint at television acting didn’t quite go according to plan. Seinfeld spent years doing stand Up comedy before he landed his first television role playing a character named Frankie on the Sitcom, Benson. Getting fired is something that none of us, except maybe Anna Wintour, enjoys. But the producers of Benson didn’t even have the decency to fire him properly. Nobody told Seinfeld he had been let go, and he showed up on set searching for a script with his name on it, only to find out there was none. Seinfeld was used to disappointment, but he was furious about the callous manner in which he had been terminated. He vowed to dedicate himself more fully to stand Up comedy. During one of his shows he got his big break, and was offered the chance to bring his own comedy stylings to television. Seinfeld is consistently ranked as one of the top five greatest shows of all time, while Benson is barely remembered by most.

8. Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

Although his nickname of “America’s Greatest Inventor,” is up for debate, there’s no denying that Edison played an important role in developing technology during his life. Before we all had iPhones, Edison was our best shot at developing mass communication. It’s hard to imagine how such a brilliant man could have messed up enough to get fired from a job. As we’ve learned, many famous people have gotten fired and gone on to bigger and better things. When Edison was fired from his job at Western Union, it was really the reason behind his termination that is so amusing. Spilling jelly on customers is nothing compared to Edison’s workplace mishap. He was working the night shift and used his ample down time to conduct experiments and research while on the clock. During one experiment involving lead acid batteries, Edison spilled sulfuric acid all over the floor. It burned a hole through the floor and ended up on the desk of his boss. That must have been one awkward meeting the next day. His boss wasn’t impressed with Edison’s ingenuity to say the least, and Edison’s position at the company was terminated. Edison decided to pursue inventing full time and hopefully invested in plenty of property insurance.

9. Truman Capote

Truman Capote

You may not recognize him immediately, but it’s likely you’ve enjoyed his work. He tends to be behind the scenes with a pen in hand, and two of his best known, although wildly different stories, are breakfast at tiffany’s and in cold blood. Truman capote is known for his self-taught literary brilliance, although he made a strange enemy during his rise to fame. A young Capote was working as a copy boy for The New Yorker, a job which he described as “Not Very Grand,” though he admitted he was lucky to have it. During his time at The New Yorker, he was attending a meeting with famous poet Robert Frost. Capote was suffering from a horrible cold, and rather than continue to subject people to his illness, he made a hasty retreat, figuring that he wouldn’t be missed. However, Frost was outraged and demanded that Capote be fired immediately. The New Yorker caved to his demands and fired Capote, who went on to become an incredible and well-known author. Though their roads diverged, Capote seemed to have no ill will towards frost, stating that he had always been a writer and he didn’t need his job at The New Yorker to prove that.

10. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is practically a household name, having her own incredibly popular talk show, and magazine. She’s also a very generous philanthropist and there are even whispers of her running for president in the future. Hey, we can dream of an America where our president hides the keys to a new car under our chairs. She made waves in the entertainment industry during a time when she had everything working against her. She was a young, black, woman, and that set her apart from most other news anchors in the 1970s. Her career began on Nashville’s WLAC TV news program, before she moved to Baltimore’s WJZ-TV in 1976. However, the producers there clearly didn’t recognize Oprah’s talent and commanding on-screen presence and they fired her. She was heartbroken, and even thought they were just pulling a prank on her at first. As some small consolation, producers agreed to let her co-host the local talk show, “People are Talking.” Although talk show hosts was known as a far less prestigious role than news anchor, the people loved Oprah and the show went from being a flop, to being a hit with her involvement. Have you been working hard trying to answer our Question? The early draft of a famous Disney movie that Walt Disney created to stave laugh-o-gram was “Alice’s Wonderland”.

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