NEW YORK — "Subway guy" Jared Fogle has agreed to plead guilty to allegations that he paid for sex with minors and received child pornography, prosecutors say, marking one of the biggest downfalls ever for a corporate pitchman.
Fogle's case is unusual because of how closely Fogle's regular-guy persona was tied to the sandwich chain — he wasn't a celebrity for any other reason than his Subway diet weight loss. But it again illustrates the risk companies take when tying their names to real people they can't totally control.
Here are five other instances of celebrities bringing scandal to their corporate backers.
After the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a report detailing allegations of doping by Armstrong, the once-celebrated cancer survivor saw his sponsorship deals vanish. Nike, Anheuser-Busch, 24 Hour Fitness and Trek Bicycle were among the companies that dropped him.
In a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey a few months later, Armstrong recounted sponsors calling to cut ties.
"That was a $75 million day," he said.
The celebrity cook known for her rich Southern dishes came under fire after she acknowledged using racial slurs in the past during a deposition. After the remarks came to light, the Food Network pulled her show off the air and said it wouldn't renew her contract.
Pork producer Smithfield Foods dropped her, and Wal-Mart and Target removed her products from its shelves.
Deen's remarks were made during deposition that was part of a lawsuit in which she and her brother were sued by an employee for racial discrimination and sexual harassment. A deal was reached by the two parties and the case was dismissed.
The former football star appeared in Hertz ads for more than a decade. The ads showed Simpson dashing through airports and easily rising above obstacles — and sometimes flying — just as Hertz promised to do for business travellers.
Hertz stopped using Simpson by 1990 when it changed its ad strategy. But Simpson had continued making appearances at events for the company. That ended in 1994 when he was charged with first-degree murder in the killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Simpson was acquitted of the charges. But the details of his domestic life that emerged in the trial and doubt many had about the verdict all but extinguished his career as a pitchman.
Nike signed quarterback Vick when he was a rookie in 2001, and ended his contract in 2007 after he filed a plea agreement admitting his involvement in a dog-fighting ring. Vick spent 21 months in prison.
After he served jail time and rejoined the NFL, Nike decided to re-sign Vick, saying that he had acknowledged his past mistakes.
"We support the positive changes he has made to better himself off the field," Nike said at the time.
In 2009, Forbes estimated that Tiger Woods was the first athlete to earn $1 billion. That was partly from the hefty endorsement deals his winning record and spotless image brought him. That image changed after Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant, which ended up unleashing a torrent of explicit details about his marital infidelities.
Sponsors including Nike, Electronic Arts and EA Sports stood by Woods. But Accenture, AT&T and Gatorade dropped the golfer. Gillette and Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer reduced their focus on him in marketing, and both later ended their ties with him.
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