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In the midst of his 2016 presidential campaign, just a month before Election Day, Donald Trump found himself embroiled in a hot mic scandal when The Washington Post reported on a 2005 recording of the reality star-turned-Republican candidate making disgusting comments about his own treatment of women. “When you’re a star, they let you do it,” he is heard telling then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush. Trump later apologized and released a statement dismissing his recorded remarks as “locker room banter,” while Bush was suspended from his Today show gig.
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Trump’s comments to Billy Bush didn’t make the only hot mic moment of the 2016 election cycle: During the primaries, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was caught live, speaking into his microphone about Trump’s wife Melania. “Did you see her walk? A runway walk,” the Hardball host said. “My God, is that good.”
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After Director of Photography Shane Hurlbut crossed into Bale’s sightline during the shooting of Terminator Salvation, the British actor threw a major tantrum — while standing near a microphone. “Do you want me to go f---ing trash your lights? Do you want me to f---ing trash them? Then why are you trashing my scene?” Bale shouted at the cinematographer. “You do it one more f---ing time and I ain’t walking on this set if you’re still hired.” He later apologized for the eruption.
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Andrew Jarecki’s 2015 HBO docu-series The Jinx investigated three unsolved murders of which real estate heir Robert Durst had long been suspected, but never convicted. Durst agreed to do an extensive interview as part of the series, and was caught saying to himself, after the interview’s conclusion, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” He didn’t seem to realize that his microphone was still recording, however, and was arrested on charges of murder in the first degree the day before the series finale aired.
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The legendary actor and director once recorded an ad for frozen peas, and the audio recording of Welles’ conflicts with the director and outbursts about the mediocre script has since gone viral. “You don’t know what I’m up against,” says the frozen peas spokesman who also, coincidentally, once directed and starred in one of the greatest films of all time. “This is a very wearying one. It’s unpleasant to read. Unrewarding.”
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Radio host Casey Kasem lost it when he got a request from a listener to dedicate a song to a recently deceased dog. Having just played the Pointer Sisters’ “Dare Me,” Kasem was not prepared to shift gears so quickly to mourning a dead pet. Thinking the station had started playing the song already, he exploded at his producer about it. "When you come out of those up-tempo goddamn numbers, man, it’s impossible to make those transitions, and then you gotta go into somebody dying,” he said. “I want a goddamn concerted effort to come out of a record that isn’t a f---ing up-tempo record every time I do a goddamn death dedication.”
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Before he became a Fox News staple, Bill O’Reilly anchored Inside Edition. One time his teleprompter stopped working as the show came to an end, and the political commentator had a meltdown of epic proportions. “We’ll do it live!” he shouted at his staff, “I’ll write it, and we’ll do it live! F---ing thing sucks!”
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David O. Russell
When David O. Russell lashed out at Lily Tomlin on the set of 2004’s I Heart Huckabees, it became a hot mic scandal of the indie film world. “I'm just being a f---ing collaborator! I'm trying to help you figure out the f---ing picture, okay, bitch?” the famously volatile director screamed, shoving and kicking props off a table, after Tomlin complained about his inconsistent direction. “I haven't been working on this thing for three f---ing years to have some f---ing c--- yell at me in front of the crew!”