15 Shameless Examples of People Cashing in On Tragedy

In our political news cycle, we’ve gotten used to seeing politicians speaking about the most recent tragic event with an air of aggrieved resolve. They say that they’ve seen this problem coming, but were unable to stop it because of the inaction, or ignorance of the other side. Then they tearfully commit to stopping further tragedy. This cycle has become depressingly familiar.

There are tons of people in the world who have used public tragedy to further themselves. Whether it’s in the world of business, politics, or entertainment, we have gotten used to seeing people using a tragedy to further their own agenda. Here are a few of the worst examples that we’ve seen in the last few years:

9/11 memorial coins

After the terrorist attacks on September 11th, the politicians’ refrain became that we had to do whatever we could to prevent this from ever happening again. And they were completely right. However, there were some politicians who misused people’s fear and anger for solely their own gain, to further their political careers.

Then, there are people like the folks at the National Collector’s Mint, who put out a 9/11 commemorative coin that had almost nothing to do with the tragedy. They charged people $29.95 for a commemorative coin that contained “actual silver from the Twin Towers,” and made people believe that their contribution would actually help victims of the attacks. None of their claims were true, and they ended up being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission.

VITA PIX / Shutterstock.com

VITA PIX / Shutterstock.com

Dubai gym uses Holocaust images as promotion  

A few years ago, a gym in Dubai called The Circuit Factory came under fire when they suggested that one of their workouts was like a “concentration camp for calories.” Yes, really.


The last time we checked, just using the word ‘Holocaust’ is still considered a conversation stopper, so how the person who designed this ad thought this was a good idea is absolutely incomprehensible. The gym removed the ad mere hours after it was posted.

Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

Vodaphone tries to take credit for starting the Egyptian Revolution

There were a large variety of factors that contributed to the start of the Egyptian Revolution, but none of them was the telecommunications company Vodaphone — even though one of their ads took the credit.

In 2011, Vodaphone aired an ad that intercut one of their earlier advertisements with scenes of Egyptians rioting in the streets, then ended with the line “we didn’t send people to the streets, we only reminded Egyptians how powerful they were.”

Hang Dinh / Shutterstock.com

Hang Dinh / Shutterstock.com

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