Top 10 Despised People that Made it to TIME Cover

Article by ,

Time Magazine is one of the oldest and most famous magazines to have gained worldwide readership since its existence. However, Time has often gained large-scale criticism and controversy for having some of the least expected people on its cover over the years. It is often seen as a commoners voice on a number of issues that the world faces so it has been subjected to criticism for featuring some of the most hated faces around the world.

The Top 10 most despised personalities to have featured on Time’s cover are-

10. O.J. Simpson


Hero turned villain, this story was featured on Time’s cover in 1994 with the title “An American Tragedy”. O.J Simpson is a retired American footballer and actor. Despite his successful career, he became one of America’s most despised people because of his shocking record as a criminal. He was charged with felonies like murder, robbery and kidnapping  more than once. He wasn’t punished for his acts at first for which there were large-scale protests around the country. Eventually, he was imprisoned and still is, for his crimes.

9. Ted Kaczynski

theodore una bomber

Theodore John Kaczynski featured on Time’s cover in 1996 titled “Odyssey of a Mad Genius”. Ted who was a mathematician by profession was arrested in 1996 when the FBI found him to be the ‘Unabomber’. Whether technology is overpowering human capability, is an ongoing debate and there are many who criticise  human beings for  destroying the planet for advancement but Kaczynski used an astonishing way to make his point. He used bombing to attract attention to his protest against technology, killing 3 people and injuring several in the course. No wonder he is despised for his detrimental way.

8. Ashin Wirathu


The eighth most despised person on this list is not an American, unlike the above two. Ashin Wirathu is an anti-Muslim Buddhist Monk from Myanmar who openly reprehends Islam.  He featured on Time Magazine’s cover in 2013 as “The Face of Buddhist Terror”. He is criticised by the Muslim and even the non-Muslim communities all around the world for his provocative and offensive sermons and was even imprisoned for the same.People who saw Buddhism as associated with love and kindness saw a more violent side of it through Wirathu. Some even call him the “Burmese Bin Laden”.

7. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi


The word terrorism is synonymous with contempt and so is our seventh most despicable person. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was one of the most wanted terrorists in the US-Iraq war. He caused widespread bloodshed during the war by carrying out suicide bombings which killed thousands of people. He was featured on Time’s cover in 2006 after his death by the American troops with the red X on his face. Hated by the government and American Army more than the common people for the destruction he led, his death was an accomplishment for the nation as well as the end to a major threat.

6. Ruhollah Khomeini


Time went under serious criticism when it released its Man of the year cover of 1979 with an anti-American face on it. But it justified the cover by stating that Khomeini ‘gave the world a frightening lesson in the shattering power of irrationality, of the ease with which terrorism can be adopted as government policy’. Khomeini, was a spiritual leader in Iran who implemented the ‘Sharia Law’ and made sure that any voice raised against it would be duly oppressed and quietened permanently. He is said to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of prisoners and political activists during his time. For his callous beliefs of religion and the terror he created due to it, he is our sixth position holder on this list.

5. Saddam Hussein


A familiar name which made it to the covers of most tabloids and newspapers around the world, Hussein was repeatedly featured on Time’s cover from the time he was accused of being involved with al-Queda to the time he was executed by the US and British coalition on account of mass murder and violence. The final cover of Hussien on Time was with the red X treatment after he was arrested in 2003. He is seen as one of the most brutal dictators of the 20th century and has led to the death of thousands of people in his own nation of Iraq. He was feared and hated more by his own people than his nation’s enemies which makes him deserving of the fifth position on this list.

4. Joseph Stalin


Time Magazine faced ample criticism when it released its ‘Man of the Year’ edition in 1943 with Joseph Stalin on the cover. Considered to be one of the most ruthless political leaders the world has ever seen, Stalin is despised even today for his autocratic ways and the destruction he caused to his country during his reign. He is blamed for the administrative decisions that led to a famine that killed millions of people in his country and also for the deaths cause by his rule of purging anyone who was suspected to be an enemy of the State. The death toll during his time is estimated to be between 10 million to 60 million!

3. Muammar Gaddafi


Having a fair shot at being the world’s most brutal dictators, Gaddafi was featured on Time’s cover more than once but most prominently in 2011. The Libyan dictator is considered to be a very controversial figure because of his cruel style of leadership and the allegations that he backed a number of terrorist groups, fund civil wars of sub-Saharan Africa and even release jet-fighters and military tanks at his own countrymen to suppress protests. Gaddafi spread terror in his country for more than 42 years and his death itself is evidence enough of how despicable people found him.

2. Osama Bin Laden


The red X on Laden’s face on the cover of Time says it all. This special edition of the magazine was released in 2011 to signify Bin Laden’s death. The al-Qaeda founder and head was killed by the US Special Forces who raided his hide-out in Pakistan. Laden was the head of the organisation behind the 9/11 attacks in the US.  He was often referred to as the face of terrorism worldwide which automatically made him one of the most despised individuals ever. His death was not only a relief to the US but to the whole world at large. This cover of the Time Magazine thus became one of the most celebrated ones in history. Death is mostly associated with grief and mourning. But there are very few people to have walked the earth whose deaths were globally ‘celebrated’. Bin Laden was one such man. Terrorism saw a massive defeat in his death.

1. Adolf Hitler


Just the name can give one an idea about the kind of opposition and controversy Time must have faced after its release of the magazine with this name. Hitler was not only featured on Time Magazine’s cover but was also named the Man of the Year in 1938. However, a closer look at the cover will justify Time’s decision for this feature. Hitler was and still remains unarguably one of the most powerful political legends the world has ever seen. The doom he led on could take place only because of his extra ordinary supremacy in what he did. Responsible for the death of more than 5 million Jews ( The Holocaust), and the outbreak of the Second World War, Hitler had to be the Man of the Year if not the century due to his dominant presence in the world scenario during that time. His vision was to rule the world one day and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the man really had it in him to do that. The reason Hitler is on the first position in this list, even ahead of Laden, is because his name became a synonym for ‘hateful’ for many after his heartless dictatorship under which humans were slaughtered in ways worse than anyone could ever imagine.


Leave a Reply

You must be login to post a comment. Log in now