News & Politics

New Study Claims to Reveal Who’s the Most Controversial Washingtonian

The list ranks Wikipedia pages with the longest "controversies" sections.

Pruitt in 2015. Photograph by Gage Skidmore.

You know you’ve made it when your Wikipedia page includes an entire section on controversies. But who and what have the most extensive history of scandals and drama? Depths of Wikipedia, which highlights odd and obscure bits from the online encyclopedia, calculated which pages have the longest controversy sections by word count, and—no surprise—many of them have connections to DC.

According to Depths of Wikipedia, at least 33,000 articles have “controversies” sections on Wikipedia. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tops the list by word count, followed by Amazon. (Although apparently Amazon’s section was so long, a Wiki editor just created an entire new “Criticism of Amazon” page, with nods to the HQ2 bidding war, among many, many other topics.)

The next DC-related figure is former EPA chief Scott Pruitt. He comes in at fifth place, even topping “Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign” (number seven on the list). Pruitt’s nearly 5,000-word controversies section details the various ethics scandals that led up to his resignation from the Trump administration, including first-class flights on taxpayers’ dime, and using his position and staff to obtain personal favors. (Remember when he tried help his wife get a Chick-fil-A franchise?). Still, our favorite Pruitt controversy remains the time his security detail allegedly used lights and sirens to make his way through traffic to Le Diplomate, one of his favorite restaurants in DC.

The Washington Times also ranks fairly high on the list, at number 17. The newspaper’s controversies span from its ties to the Unification Church and “Moonies” to a 2018 column promoting conspiracy theories around the murder of Seth Rich, which resulted in a lawsuit from Rich’s brother and a retraction.

The lowest ranking Washington-related institution? The CIA, which has a mere 31 controversies. It landed at 1785th place.

Check out the full list of long-winded Wikipedia controversy sections here.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.