Celebs Who Stirred Controversy Over Flags

Flagged for their behavior.

By Brenden Gallagher

Flag Day is normally for the wholesome celebration of flags (or something like that). Over the years these symbols of pride have been at the center of drama within pop culture. On occassion when stars are in the midst of showcasing their talents they have used flags as props or to make a statement, which has offended some. Simply displaying certain flags without understanding certain cultural customs can cause an uproar. Seriously, things are not all sweet when it comes to waving a flag in the wrong way. It can stir up some pretty serious emotions. Let’s look at some moments when celebs got flagged because of something they did with a flag.

  • Lil’ Wayne Walks On the Flag

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    A few years ago, (clearly racist) patriots overreacted to a short video of Lil’ Wayne singing in front of, and then dancing on, an American flag. Weezy returned to his hometown of NOLA for the shoot for “God Bless Amerika.” During the shoot, a giant American flag falls to the ground in what clearly is a set malfunction. Rather than reporting it as an accident, right wing outlets like Fox News ran headlines like “Lil Wayne Defends Trampling Flag.”

  • Patriotic Grill Too Trill

    Not everyone is charmed by swimmer/party boy Ryan Lochte’s American Flag grill. For Lochte, it is a tradition to wear his American teef whenever he swims his way to the medal podium. Reportedly, he was told at the 2012 Olympics that if he insisted on wearing his dental bling while representing his country, he may not get his medal. It turns out to be much ado about no-bling, as Lochte was able to wear his diamonds and get that gold at the same time.

  • Gaga Gets Thai-ed Up

    At a 2012 concert in Bangkok, Lady Gaga took the stage riding a motorcycle with a Thai flag tied to the back wearing a traditional Thai headdress. Thailand’s cultural ministry was not amused. Gaga’s use of the flag is worthy of legal action under Thai law, but the government had no interest in creating an international incident over the issue.

  • American Badass Fashion Statement?

    Usually, Kid Rock is on the correct side of dumb cultural conversations that matter to Fox News viewers. In 206, however, the tables turned. The American Badass wore an American Flag poncho during his Super Bowl halftime show performance and people were mad. These people probably own American Flag bandanas, but the key to being a true patriot is hypocritical opinions about patriotic fashion, just as the founding fathers intended.

  • Trouble in Monterray

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    Remember back in 2014 when Miley Cyrus was twerking on everything? It turns out that this includes the Mexican Flag. To be precise, during a concert in Monterrey, Mexico Miley twerked as back-up dancers whipped her with the Mexican flag. To make matters worse, this concert happened to occur on Mexico’s Independence Day. While the Mexican government condemned the incident, they stopped short of levying the $1200 fine and three day jail sentence that usually comes with “desecrating the national symbol.”

  • Stars and Barney’s

    Though celebrities often stir up flag controversy out of ignorance, from time to time they do it out of principle. Back in 2013, Barney’s caught heat for racially profiling black customers. In response, West made sure to wear the Stars and Bars on an outing to Barney’s shortly afterward. At the time, West was also placing the Confederate Flag on his own tour merchandise. When asked about the decision he said, “The Confederate flag represented slavery in a way. That’s my abstract take on what I know about it, right? So I wrote the song ’New Slaves.’ So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It’s my flag now. Now what you gonna do?”

  • Don’t Cry For Biebs

    It’s getting hard to keep track of Jutin Bieber’s controversies at this point. Fans were very upset to see Bieber sweep away an Argentinian Flag (his team maintains that it was a shirt, you be the judge). Bieber took to Twitter to apologize profusely for any disrespect he may have projected, as he so often does. It’s never too late to say, “Lo siento.”

  • The Dukes Ride No Longer

    As the Confederate Flag came back into the public conversation in recent years, largely thanks to Black Lives Matter activists, corporations have followed liberal politicians’ lead in removing the Confederate Battle Flag from merchandise. After TV Land pulled Dukes of Hazzard reruns over concerns about the General Lee, the Duke Brothers’ car that features the Stars and Bars, former Hazzard star John Schneider mounted an unsuccessful protest of the company’s decision.

  • Madge Fails to Thrill-a in Manilla

    Earlier this year, Madonna found herself facing a ban in the Phillipines for disrespecting the country’s flag during her most recent tour. It is against the law to wear the Filipino flag, and while the fans loved her performance, the local government was not pleased with the Material Girl’s disrespect to their flag’s material.

  • Trace of History

    The singer of “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” is one of a number of country musicians who continue to insist that the Confederate Flag is a symbol of “heritage not hate” despite the vast majority of Americans believing they are on the wrong side of history. At the 2012 Rockefeller Center tree lighting, Adkins wore a small piece that caused a large ripple on social media.