The Villains of 2011 (Photos)

From Osama bin Laden to Jerry Sandusky to Lord Voldemort himself, the worst people of the year.

Mahmud Turkia, AFP / Getty Images

Muammar Gaddafi

Like Benito Mussolini and Nicolae Ceausescu before him, Muammar Gaddafi got the brutal ending most dictators deserve. After 42 years of oppression, the Libyan people hunted Gaddafi down and shot him to death, but not before he uttered some supremely ironic last words: “What you are doing is not allowed in Islamic law. Do you know right from wrong?”

Allan Tannenbaum, AFP / Getty Images

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Though the rape charges against him were eventually dropped and he may have even been set up by his political enemies, the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in May brought out enough allegations of boorish behavior to appall even the French. (Among the most recent charges: Strauss-Kahn was reportedly stopped by Paris police in 2009 in a park notorious for transvestite prostitutes.) For now, DSK’s political career is DOA.

Andrew Burton / Getty Images

Raj Rajaratnam

In a year when the 99 percent got a voice, few 1-percenters paid a greater price than Raj Rajaratnam, the disgraced founder of the Galleon Group who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for an insider-trading scandal. As for why Rajaratnam didn’t take a plea deal, a Sri Lankan diplomat close to him told Newsweek that shortly before Rajaratnam was convicted, “he’d gone to the ola-leaf readers. They told him he’d be acquitted.”

Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General / AP Photo

Jerry Sandusky

For a man who redefined what a college-football defense could be, former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky has done a hideous job with his own legal defense. Despite 40 counts of sexual abuse against minors—and more suits to be filed—Sandusky gave interviews in recent weeks to Bob Costas and The New York Times that only seemed to confirm the worst suspicions about him. As Buzz Bissinger argued on The Daily Beast: “What emerged, even by phone, was a pathological, perverted, delusional narcissist who somehow thought he could connive us into believing he had done nothing wrong.”

Red Huber, Orlando Sentinel / Getty Images

Casey Anthony

“There are no winners in this case,” Casey Anthony’s defense attorney Jose Baez said shortly after his client was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter in 2008. (Even Anthony’s parents questioned her innocence, calling the verdict “baseless” but a “fair decision.”) Now free on probation, the 24-year-old Anthony was recently given a new honor—according to a public-opinion poll, she is now the most hated person in America.

Bloomberg / Getty Images

News Corp.

It was the scandal that brought down a 168-year-old British newspaper and threatened to topple Rupert Murdoch’s entire media empire. But what made the revelations of phone hacking by News of the World and other British papers so shocking was not that reporters spied on celebrities or even royalty. Rather, it was that in an effort to sell more papers, the tabloids hacked the phones of a missing little girl and the families of soldiers killed in Iraq. That Murdoch himself was pied in the face during his testimony before Parliament last summer only seemed like just desserts.

Scanpix Norway / Reuters

Anders Breivik

The menacing smile on the face of Anders Breivik after his arrest for massacring 77 people in Norway last July only reinforced the insanity of his actions. And in November, state prosecutors made it official: Breivik, who admitted to the shooting, was declared mentally unfit for prison and will be sent to a psychiatric hospital for his crimes.

Dieter Nagl, AFP / Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger

When Maria Shriver learned that Arnold Schwarzenegger had secretly fathered a child 10 years ago with their longtime maid, she terminated their 25-year marriage. But as always, Arnold will be back. Four months after the scandal, he signed a deal to publish a memoir in 2012.

Brian Nguyen, Reuters / Landov

UC Davis campus police

Nearly 50 years after Bull Connor turned fire hoses on civil-rights activists in Birmingham, Ala., the campus police at the University of California, Davis, added 21st-century menace to crowd control by pepper-spraying nonviolent protesters who were supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement. While the two officers who were videotaped spraying demonstrators were eventually suspended, the school’s chancellor said she had no plans to resign. Typically, the event became an Internet meme.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Mariah Yeater

Don’t mess with Beliebers. That’s the lesson 20-year-old Mariah Yeater learned when she filed a paternity suit against Justin Bieber, claiming he had fathered her 3-month-old son after the two had sex backstage at one of his concerts a year ago. Within days, the Yeater Haters had threatened her life, and after Bieber called her bluff and took a DNA test, she dropped the suit. And tweens everywhere rejoiced.

Michael Nagle / Getty Images

Anthony Weiner

The jokes practically wrote themselves. A congressman named Weiner was accused of sending photos of his wiener to women? What late-night comic—or average person with a Twitter feed—could resist? At first, Rep. Anthony Weiner claimed his computer had been hacked, but as more photos emerged, the congressman—whose wife was pregnant at the time of the scandal—confessed that it was his junk in the mail. Several months after resigning from office, Weiner didn’t exactly improve his image when he was photographed sporting a '70s porn 'stache.

AFP / Getty Images

Hosni Mubarak

In January, following the Tunisian revolution, demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square began calling for the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. But Egypt’s president of 30 years refused to step down. One week later, Mubarak announced he would not contest the new elections in September, but on Feb. 11, after weeks of growing protests, Mubarak resigned. In May, the 83-year-old dictator was ordered to stand trial for murdering Egypt’s peaceful protesters and other crimes of corruption. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

NASA / AP Photos

Hurricane Irene

In a year of seemingly endless natural disasters, Hurricane Irene stalked the East Coast of the United States for more than a week in August. The good news was that most communities—particularly major cities—were well prepared for the storm. (New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie famously told citizens to “get the hell off the beach.”) But when it was over, despite protestations that the media overreacted, Hurricane Irene was the fifth-deadliest storm in the U.S. since 1980.

John Minchillo / AP Photos

David Stern

After an exciting NBA finals in June, the league’s owners played a foolish game of chicken with their players and began a lengthy lockout on July 1. While both sides deserved blame for delaying the season’s start, no figure did more to prolong the conflict than NBA Commissioner David Stern. Then in November, after the players had rejected what Stern said would be the owners’ last offer, he apocalyptically announced that “we’re about to go into the nuclear winter of the NBA.” Thankfully for fans, it was a short winter—negotiations resumed and the season was saved.

Matt York / AP Photos

Jan Brewer

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer portrays herself as crusading against illegal immigration, unions, and, of course, the liberal media, but what truly defined her ultrapartisan administration in 2011 was Brewer’s attempt to impeach the state’s independent redistricting board to assume control of gerrymandering. Could an Arab Spring inspire an Arizona Spring?

Pima County Sheriff's Department / AP Photos

Jared Lee Loughner

Next to Anders Breivik’s creepy grin, the smiling face of Jared Lee Loughner (who is accused of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six in Tucson) is one of the most haunting images of 2011. In September, the 22-year-old Loughner was declared mentally fit to stand trial. Meanwhile, Giffords continues to improve—she served meals to troops and retirees at Thanksgiving.

E Entertainment Television

The Kardashians

They are the “kar krash” America cannot turn away from. The public will tune in to watch the Kardashians fight, marry, get face-lifts, give birth, and do nude yoga, but we apparently draw the line at divorce. It’s not that anyone truly believed Kim had found everlasting love with Kris Humphries, but even the most cynical Kardashian-ologists thought their marriage would last longer than 72 days. And while the brand is damaged right now, the family will no doubt find a way to rise again. Kount on it.

Al Seib-pool / AP Photos

Conrad Murray

It wasn’t quite O.J. mania, but the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray had plenty of shocking testimony and convincing evidence (including Michael Jackson’s own slurred words) to convict Murray of the singer's involuntary manslaughter after only nine hours of deliberation. In sentencing the doctor to the maximum four years allowed, Judge Michael Pastor made it clear he’d have thrown another book at Murray if he’d been allowed. In his statement, the judge called Murray “reckless” and “dangerous to the community,” and found him guilty of “money-for-medicine madness.” Or as Michael himself might have put it—he’s bad.

MBC / APTN / AP Photos

Osama bin Laden

Nearly a decade after Sept. 11, Navy SEAL Team Six ended the hunt for Osama bin Laden with a daring mission and two shots to the head. Simple but effective justice.

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


As the Harry Potter movies finally came to an end this year, Lord Voldemort himself tried to make excuses for his evil—“blame my childhood,” he wrote in Newsweek. We’re not buying it.