13 Of History’s Biggest Assholes

1. Charles Dickens

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Dickens was a grade-A asshole, and especially to his family. You’d think that a man who had 10 children with his first wife Catherine might have a penchant for kids, but that was certainly not the case with Charles Dickens. On the day that his son Plorn was born, he wrote “On the whole I could have dispensed with him.” In his biography, Claire Tomalin delineates Dickens’s general attitude towards his children,

There was…the feeling that he had too many sons needing to be educated and launched into the world, boys he found noisy and difficult to communicate with, boys who seemed to be inheriting the worst characteristics of both side of the family—indolence, passivity and carelessness with money. He disciplined them hard at home, insisting on tidiness and punctuality, gave them tasks and inspected their clothes, which led to “mingled feelings of dislike and resentment” and whispers of “slavery” and “degradation.”

He also bgan an affair with Ellen Ternan, an actress 27 years younger than him, while still married to his first wife Catherine. He ended up leaving Catherine for the actress in a particularly callous manner, wherein he only contacted her three times after leaving her and before dying, all via letters, and didn’t even contact her when one of their sons died. Stamped: ASSHOLE.

2. Hugh Grant

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What, you think just because you’re hot and have a British accent that you can treat women like second-class citizens? Actually, yes, that’s precisely it. In 1995, Grant pulled a typical asshole move and lost the best thing he ever had, Elizabeth Hurley. And incase we ever doubted his unpleasant disposition, John Stewart confirmed it for us in 2012. Apparently while Grant was a guest on The Daily Show, he had a catalog of complaints, one of which was the clip that was being shown, which was obviously anyone but The Daily Show’s responsibility.

3. Marvin Gaye

The soulful singer, who belted out declarations of love and romance, led quite a duplicitous life. He was a deeply misogynistic man, who beat many of the women he claimed he loved. He once told biographer David Ritz, ” I’m the last of the great chauvinists,” and “I like to see women serve me—and that’s that. In Jan’s case, serving me meant feeding my fantasies—my evil fantasies.” While still married to his first wife Anna, he began an affair with a Janice Hunter. At one point, after his relationship with Janice blossomed into marriage and then withered, Janice went to go check up on him after he attempted suicide. But this trip turned violent very quickly, with Gaye holding a knife to Janice’s heart.

4. Napoleon Bonaparte


Napoleon completely reversed all of France’s efforts made during the revolution. He was entirely self-motivated; he opened up schools only for the purpose of having more intelligent officers to lead his armies. He crowned himself emperor, and then made sure all rights went to men, not women. He led France into costly wars and executed anyone who stood in his way.

5. O.J. Simpson

O.J. Simpson was a loving father and caring husband…that is, on opposite day! No, but seriously. He killed his wife and her friend, and got away with it. Perhaps if we had been more discerning, we could have read that as a warning to wipe all Kardashians off the face of the earth, since it was Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney’s father who got O.J. acquitted. And he did this despite all of the evidence pointing to O.J. being the murderer. There was the whole bloody footprints ordeal, which, when tested, matched Simpson’s blood samples. Then there was that other tiny piece of evidence, the leather glove. It was found at the crime scene and its pair was found right by Simpson’s home, but really, who’s counting? Then, in 2006, Simpson flexed his asshole muscles again and attempted to come out with a book entitled I Did It, in which Simpson would have sketched how he would have killed his wife if he did it. HarperCollins cancelled the publication of this book, but it’s the thought that counts, O.J.! It’s the thought that counts…

6. Kobe Bryant

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“Marriage shmarriage. Kids Shmids” seems to be Kobe Bryant’s mantra. In 2003 he was charged with, not just cheating on his wife, but raping the girl that he apparently cheated with. According to the victim, Bryant apparently grabbed her by the neck while raping her, and, despite her tears, continued. After, he told her not to tell anyone.

7. Alec Baldwin

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Alec Baldwin obviously has some anger management issues. He left this voicemail for his daughter in 2007.

Once again, I have made an ass of myself trying to get to a phone. You have made an ass out me of for the last time. Three letters: ABA. A, Always, B, Be, A, Answering. Always be answering. Always be answering. AIDA. Attention. Interest. Decision. Action. Attention. Do I have your attention? Interest. Are you interested? I know you are ’cause it’s pick up the phone or get your ass straightened out. You answer or you get hit with a brick. Decision. Have you made your decision to pick up the phone? And action. AIDA. Pick up the goddamn phone. You got a call coming in, you think I made it because I’ve got nothing better to do? I could be shouting shit at random people on the street, but I’m calling you. I don’t care that you’re twelve or eleven or whatever, are you pig enough to pick it up? I’m a good father, and you’re a pig. I don’t give a shit. Good father. You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you thoughtless pain in the ass? AIDA. Get mad you daughter-of-a-bitch. Get mad. You know what it takes to answer my call? It takes brass balls to answer my call. Go and do likewise. The phone is ringing, you pick it up, it’s yours, you don’t, I got no sympathy for you. I’d wish you good luck, but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it. You better be ready Friday the 20th to meet with me. Pig. Oh, also, tell your mother I said “Go fuck yourself.” This is Dad, ring me back when you get a chance.

Perhaps his daughter really is a spoiled brat, but I find it hard to believe that Baldwin didn’t have a hand in facilitating that.

8. Christopher Columbus

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The dude literally had his head up his ass. He was somehow able to convince himself and everyone else that he discovered America, despite there being a clear and conspicuous indigenous population living on American soil when he arrived. In reality, he was a slave trader and a dictator of sorts. At one point, he kidnapped 25 of the island people and to “introduce them to Christianity,” a promise which–shocker–he never followed through with. Instead, he just let 18 people die on the journey home. He is also said to have been the one who brought Syphilis back to Europe and allowed its quick and rapid spread.

9. Mel Gibson

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Boys, take note! This here is a stand-up man. Here’s a transcript of his charming tirade against his ex-girlfriend and baby Mama, Oksana Grigorieva:

Oksana: Well I’ll pay her myself i found her she’s my dentist/ex babysitter
Mel: I’ve been paying her. That’s my money that she gets paid with. I’m her employer, not you. You found her, I’m her employer. Not you. You found her. I’m her employer
Oksana: Fine but if I need to use her i will use her
Mel: Because i will not pay her if you bring her to your house, i will fire her and i will do it fast
Oksana: Okay then I’ll pay her, because I need her, she’s good.
Mel: No! you’re paying her with MY money! It doesn’t matter what you give her, it’s my fucking money! you understand. You don’t have your own money, you’re only using my money.
Oksana: You made me moneyless, I used to have $100,000 a year when you met me, you took me, you possessed me, everything I am you owe me with my liver and my kidneys and my thoughts and my soul, everything. My career, whatever it is. Pathetic career. WHATEVER IT IS, is yours, you control me, like marionette, I don’t belong to myself, only to you. I cant do anything and i walk on eggshells always with you.
Mel: That’s because you’re a fucking using whore! Now! I own you! Do not use her at your house, i have warned you, if you bring her to your house she will be fire…I gave you everything don’t you dare fucking complain to me. You don’t fucking count, you’re a fucking using whore.

And here’s a transcript of his diatribe against screenwriter Joe Eszterhas:

Why don’t I have a first draft of “The Maccabees”? What the fuck have you been doing? I’ll type it!…I go to work, you’re getting paid, I’m not! Shit! I am earning money for a filthy little cocksucker who takes advantage of me! Just like every motherfucker! So hurry the fuck up! Fuck! God! Who wants to eat?! Who the fuck wants to eat?! Go ahve something to ear! Hurrrraaayyyyyyy! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuckin’ hate! Fucking cunt cocksucker whore! Fuck!

Oh. And then there’s that time he was caught drunk driving and said this to the police, “You mother fucker. I’m going to fuck you.”…Fucking Jews…The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world…Are you a Jew?”

10. Kim Jong-il

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Aside for, you know, being a tyrant who brutally and ruthlessly suppressed his own people, here are some other things the former North Korean Supreme Leader has done:

  1. He once attempted to ship all of the short people out of North Korea.
  2. He is a heavy drinker and reportedly spent up to $800,000 a year on Hennessy cognac.
  3. Due to health reasons, he was forced to give up cigarettes. So in typical Kim Jong-il fashion, he took this opportunity to make everyone else suffer with him and banned cigarettes in his country.
  4. He injected his body with the “blood of virgins,” with the hope that this would keep him looking young.
  5. His biography states that he can control the weather, and that he doesn’t defecate or urinate.

11. Genghis Kahn

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Born in 1162, Kahn was a warrior and an autocratic ruler who forced all of Mongolia’s nomadic tribes under his rule. He killed copious number of people in Asia and Europe, and in particularly merciless ways. One time, while attacking Volohoi, Khan told the city commander that he would stop attacking if the commander sent out one thousand cats and several thousand swallows. When the commander agreed, Khan lit all of the birds and cats on fire while letting them back into Volohoi, causing endless fires and a massive carnage. He was also quoted as saying, “Man’s greatest good fortune is to chase and defeat his enemy, seize his total possessions, leave his married women weeping and wailing, ride his gelding, use his women as a nightshirt and support, gazing upon and kissing their rosy breasts, sucking their lips which are as sweet as the berries of their breasts.”

12. Thomas Edison

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While he’s renowned for his many inventions, in reality, Thomas Edison was a cheat who stole ideas from other people and claimed them as his own. He was once quoted as saying, “Keep on the lookout for novel ideas that others have used successfully. Your idea has to be original only in its adaptation to the problem you’re working with.”

13. Thomas Jefferson

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Jefferson was a deeply racist man, but what’s worse is his blatant hypocrisy. He said that white people have “flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form,” while black people “secrete less by the kidnies, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odour.” He thought black people were a lesser form of human than white people, stating, “Those numberless afflictions, which render it doubtful whether heaven has given life to us in mercy or in wrath, are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them.” And believed that, whatever they were, they were certainly an inferior race, “I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.” And yet, Jefferson had an affair with one of his slaves, Sally Hemmings, for years. Sally gave birth to seven of his children, yet despite that, he remained firm in his public denouncement of blacks. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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