Inside the stories that made 2020 colorful were individuals whose influence on the world is undeniable. From politics to music to technology, here are the Top 10 Most Controversial Personalities of 2020:
Kamala Harris became the first woman to be elected vice president after running with former Vice President Joe Biden the president-elect. According to CNBC, Harris’ victory signifies many historical records for the White House. Harris, a daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, will be the first woman and first person identified as Black and as South Asian-American in the position of vice president. She is a graduate of Howard University, making her the first vice president to have graduated from a historically Black college and be a part of a Black sorority. Harris became memorable in politics in California, where she became a San Francisco district attorney before becoming the attorney general of the state and the first African-American to be in that position.
“We’ve all watched her hold the Trump administration accountable for its corruption, stand up to a Justice Department that’s run amok, and be a powerful voice against their extreme nominations,” said Biden in his announcement of Harris as his running mate, lauding her experience in the Senate.
Xi Jinping is the president of the Republic of China, where the first case of coronavirus was reported. The Chinese government was accused of not warning the public immediately about the coronavirus that started in Wuhan. Xi Jinping previously stressed that China has been transparent, open, and responsible for disseminating information to the public. He also said that China has shared the genome sequence of the coronavirus. While the pandemic ravaged the economies of other nations, China is the first country to slowly recover from the crisis. Economists expect China to have a strong growth in 2021. According to Bloomberg, the country’s growth will accelerate to 5.9% in the current quarter and reach 2% for the whole of 2020.
Dr. Anthony Fauci
White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci was hailed as the face of America’s fight against coronavirus. However, this title is mired by issues, one of which is having a stance that is different from President Donald Trump’s. For example, he warned young people about “propagating the pandemic” but Trump believes children are not vulnerable to Covid-19. At one point, Trump called Dr. Fauci a “disaster.” The president stressed that “every time [Fauci] goes on television there’s always a bomb,” referring to Dr. Fauci’s media appearances. “There’s a bigger bomb if you fire him,” Trump said. “This guy’s a disaster.” However, he mentioned at another point that Dr. Fauci is a “nice” man.
The world mourned when one of the world’s basketball superstars, Kobe Bryant, and his daughter, Gigi, died in a helicopter crash. “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary … But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. Bryant still holds several NBA records, including being the youngest player ever to start an NBA game and having “more points, more free-throws, and made more turnovers than any other guard in history.”
The coronavirus pandemic accelerated businesses that respond to the needs of people who are compelled to stay and work at home due to movement restrictions. One of these businesses is Zoom, a videoconferencing program developed by Zoom Technologies, Inc. Eric Yuan, the company’s founder and CEO, made over $12 billion since March. Yuan, who holds an undergraduate degree in applied mathematics and a master’s degree in engineering, moved to California’s Silicon Valley to work for an internet startup after hearing Bill Gates’ speech about the dot-com bubble, according to Bloomberg.
Taiwan faces ongoing pressure from China, which claims the island a sovereign Chinese territory. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen says that Taiwan and China must find “a way to coexist.” Her statement came after she rejected China’s “one country, two systems” model. As Beijing accelerates air force activity near the island, President Tsai Ing-wen calls for a “meaningful dialogue” with China.
“In the face of complex and changing cross-strait circumstances, we have made the greatest effort to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait over the past four years, gaining approval from the international community,” Tsai previously said in her speech. “We will continue these efforts, and we are willing to engage in dialogue with China and make more concrete contributions to regional security,” she said.
Rapper Kanye West ran for the 2020 U.S. presidential election. He got the support of Elon Musk, the chief executive of electric-car maker Tesla. West garnered 60,000 votes out of an estimated total of 160 million. He tweeted “Kanye 2024” following his loss this year.
In March 2020, the hashtag #KanyeWestIsOverParty trended on Twitter after newly leaked videos of the phone call between West and Taylor Swift suggested that she did not lie about allowing the rapper to use the lyric “I made that bi— famous” in his 2016 track “Famous.”
West and his reality TV star wife, Kim Kardashian, are reportedly spending time apart. “[Kim] is doing her thing and [Kanye] is doing his. She doesn’t micromanage it or worry about it too much,” a source said. “She lets him go off and be who he is. It is what it is.”
Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has become controversial after she and her husband, Prince Harry, issued a statement in January saying they will step back as senior members of the Royal Family and become financially independent. It was reported that the royal couple did not consult any senior royal before making the statement. In their statement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said: “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.”
As long as Facebook remains one of the most popular social media platforms, issues will follow its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg like a shadow. This year, ByteDance accused Facebook of “plagiarism and smear.” The Beijing-based firm says it has faced “all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties,” based on a CNBC translation of the Chinese statement. These include an “intense international political environment, the collision and conflict of different cultures, and the plagiarism and smear of competitor Facebook,” according to the company. Meanwhile, a report released by activist group Avaaz suggested that health misinformation found on Facebook could be a major threat” to public health. Zuckerberg also faced the Senate about Facebook’s handling of misinformation and more during the 2020 election.
Joe Biden won the U.S. presidential elections in 2020. President Donald Trump refused to concede the election but he eventually acknowledged the transition process. For his first 100 days as US president, Biden said he plans to get at least 100 million Americans vaccinated, sign a mandate asking people to wear face masks and get the children back to school safely. One of the most critical issues he could face is the U.S.-China trade issues.
These are the most controversial personalities of 2020.