The Sexual Assault Allegations That Would Hurt the Most

The year 2017 was long and ugly. But at least some disgusting people went down along with it.

From Harvey Weinstein to Matt Lauer, powerful, abusive men received the comeuppance they so long deserved. Victims came forward to tell their stories, and powerful people and the public finally started to listen.

There’s a long way to go, of course—allegations have rocked Hollywood and other public industries (with more to come), but there’s plenty yet to expose in less-public ones. And that’s without mentioning the countless politicians who stand accused of sexual misconduct (including the president).

Some of the celebrities that went down were slightly surprising. Others weren’t. But it got us thinking—with all the powerful men and supposed “heroes” outed as sexual deviants, are there some we wouldn’t want to believe? What public figures would it hurt the most to hear accused of sexual misconduct?

To be clear, we’re not accusing anyone of sexual assault, harassment or any kind of predatory behavior. We’re just saying it would really suck if they were.

Barack Obama

Forget most prominent member—Barack Obama WAS the Democratic Party from 2008 to 2016. His composure during the constant barrage of attacks from right wing pundits and politicians was otherworldly. But Obama’s importance goes far beyond the political. He’s the first black president of the United States, which is a legacy and significance plenty would love to obliterate (including Donald Trump). If the hypothetical revelation alone didn’t destroy his supporters, the endless coverage that makes up Fox News producers’ wet dreams would.

Tom Hanks

Hanks has been with us for a long time—from playing a man-child in Big to a heroic, calm pilot in Sully. His work and face are synonymous with wholesome Americana. Even in his raunchiest movie, the ‘80s sex comedy Bachelor Party he conveys innocence and good intentions. Serious allegations would ruin an entire slate of great movies and make Forrest Gump seem a whole lot less innocent.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders inspired a grassroots progressive movement of young, idealistic voters. He got people excited about the political process again. He’s the most popular active politician in America, and keeps us frail-hearted libs wondering what might have been. He does give off a bit of that creepy-old-guy vibe, though.

Bill Nye

He’s basically a talking head now, but to an entire generation Bill Nye is the Science Guy. His show made science quirky and fun. I maintain he was better than like 80 percent of the science teachers I’ve had. Again, Fox News would have a field day if he were accused of sexual assault. They’d use it as an excuse to deny climate change if they actually needed one.

Fred Rogers

Mr. Rogers is the personification of friendship and kindness. His show reached millions of kids across multiple generations. If it turned out he was doing some shady shit behind the Neighborhood of Make Believe, the damage would be irreparable. The number of childhoods ruined would be surpassed only by the number of cardigans trashed in effigy.