Brow Beat

The Most Outrageous and Most Overblown Controversies of 2014, According to the Internet

Obama on Between Two Ferns, Joel Edgerton as Ramses in Exodus, Gurbaksh Chahal.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos courtesy Funny or Die, 20th Century Fox, by Michael Buckner/Getty Images.

So much made Americans mad in 2014! Ray Rice. GamerGate. Bill Cosby. Ferguson. The NYPD. North Korea. That one Discovery Channel special that promised to show a man getting eaten by an anaconda but then didn’t. For each day of the year, Slate found a piece of news that people were mad about and put it on a calendar. Then we asked readers to vote: Was each controversy truly outrageous, or was it overblown?

After 316,000 votes, about 54 percent of the controversies on the calendar were deemed outrageous by a majority. Those with the highest percentage of outrageous votes were:

5. May 1: Three NYPD officers are accused of drunken shooting incidents in a single week. (98 percent outrageous)

4. March 25: Colorado 9-year-old is not allowed to attend school because she shaved her head in solidarity with her friend, who has cancer. (98 percent outrageous)

3. Oct. 25: Iran sentences a woman who killed her alleged rapist to death. (98 percent outrageous)

2. April 27: RadiumOne founder and CEO Gurbaksh Chahal hits his girlfriend 117 times but faces no jail time. (98 percent outrageous)

1. March 31: Du Pont heir gets probation for raping his daughter because, explains the judge, “He would not fare well” in jail. (99 percent outrageous)

The controversies with the highest percentages of overblown votes were:

5. May 4: The first openly gay Episcopal bishop announces he and his partner are getting divorced. (97 percent overblown)

4. Nov. 1: Time publishes an article about an increase in witch-themed TV shows. (97 percent overblown)

3. March 11: Obama appears on “Between Two Ferns.” (97 percent overblown)

2. May 7: Patton Oswalt tweets apologies to “offensive” tweets he “deleted” (but never actually tweeted to begin with, just the apologies). (98 percent overblown)

1. March 9: The True Detective finale causes HBO Go to crash. (98 percent overblown)

But more interesting, perhaps, than the controversies we nearly unanimously furrowed our brows or rolled our eyes at are those that we couldn’t agree on. So here are the top five controversies with the closest splits between outrageous and overblown:

5. Aug. 27: Zara makes children’s pajamas that look an awful lot like concentration camp uniforms. (51 percent outrageous)

4. June 4: Pharrell dons a headdress on the cover of Elle UK. (49 percent outrageous)

3. Nov. 26: Ridley Scott explains why he cast white actors as Egyptians in Exodus. (49 percent outrageous)

2. June 25: Gary Oldman says Hollywood is “run by Jews” in a Playboy interview. (50 percent outrageous)

1. Feb. 14: Drake attacks Rolling Stone for putting Philip Seymour Hoffman on the cover instead of him. (50 percent outrageous)

What news will grind our gears in 2015? We’ll find out starting tomorrow.