In a globe populated by nearly eight billion individuals, pinning down the “most hated person in the world” is a highly complex, if not impossible, task. Hatred, after all, is a deeply personal and culturally dependent emotion, influenced by factors such as political beliefs, historical events, personal experiences, and cultural narratives.
Over the years, various figures have been cast into the limelight of public disdain, due to their actions, beliefs, or even mere representation. From historical tyrants like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin to controversial figures of our time, this list keeps evolving based on real-time events and cultural shifts.
In order to avoid as much bias as possible, our judgment was based on three different factors:
1, The Role of Media: The media plays a significant role in shaping public opinion. Propaganda, misinformation, and biases can amplify negative sentiments towards particular individuals, sometimes even when such intense hatred is not wholly justified. Be aware that we are using the sources given by Western Media!
2, Nature of their Crime: The reasons for hatred vary widely. While some are hated for their heinous crimes against humanity, others might attract negative attention for personal scandals, corruption, or divisive statements.
3, Transience of Public Opinion: Public opinion is fluid. An individual vilified today might be exonerated tomorrow if new information comes to light. Alternatively, as societal values and norms change, so too do the criteria by which we judge past figures.
However, when broaching this topic, it’s essential to consider the following
The Most Hated Person in the World Throughout History
Throughout history, numerous individuals have been reviled due to the atrocities they committed or the ideologies they upheld. Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies and the Holocaust make him one of history’s most detested figures.
Similarly, figures like Osama bin Laden, due to the 9/11 attacks, or Pol Pot, due to the Cambodian Genocide, have been deeply loathed. But as time passes, newer personalities emerge, replacing or standing beside older ones in the gallery of infamy.
Their reprehensible actions have solidified their positions as some of the most detested individuals of their times, and often, for generations to come.
Here are some notable figures from different periods of history. Be aware that there are definitely more hated people throughout history. It is hard to estimate since we’re basing our research based on keyword research and trending subjects. But here we have six of the most hated people throughout history.
1. Nero (37 AD – 68 AD)
The Roman Emperor Nero is infamously known for his tyrannical rule. Ancient sources often paint him as a hedonistic, cruel ruler who was responsible for the persecution of Christians and the burning of Rome, though some modern historians argue that these accounts might be exaggerated. Nevertheless, his depiction in historical narratives has been overwhelmingly negative.
2. Genghis Khan (c. 1162 – 1227)
While he’s admired as one of history’s most effective military leaders and the founder of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan’s methods were brutal. He’s responsible for the deaths of countless numbers, often entire cities, in his conquests, leading many regions in Asia and Europe to remember him with fear and loathing.
3. Vlad the Impaler (1431 – 1476/77)
Also known as Vlad III or Vlad Dracula, this ruler of Wallachia (modern-day Romania) is believed to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He was notorious for his exceptionally cruel and torturous methods of punishment. His favorite method, impalement, earned him his infamous epithet.
4. Maximilien Robespierre (1758 – 1794)
A leading figure during the French Revolution, Robespierre became synonymous with the Reign of Terror, during which thousands were sent to the guillotine. While initially hailed as a revolutionary hero, his extreme methods and relentless pursuit of “enemies of the revolution” led to his downfall and subsequent execution.
5. Leopold II of Belgium (1835 – 1909)
As the King of the Belgians, Leopold II is most infamously known for establishing the Congo Free State as a personal colony. Under his rule, the Congolese people faced forced labor, torture, and maiming. Millions died as a direct result of his brutal regime in the pursuit of rubber and ivory profits.
6. Mao Zedong (1893 – 1976)
The founding father of the People’s Republic of China, Mao’s policies and political purges over his three-decade rule are estimated to have caused the deaths of tens of millions. While he is credited with modernizing China, his campaigns like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution led to massive famines, persecutions, and societal upheaval.
The Most Hated Person in Every Continent
The ‘most hated‘ individual in one country or culture might be viewed neutrally or even positively in another. For instance, while a political leader might be despised by the majority in one nation, neighboring countries might appreciate them for their foreign policies.
- Donald Trump
Deeds: The 45th President of the United States (2017-2021), Donald Trump’s presidency was marked by divisive policies, including strict immigration controls, withdrawal from international agreements like the Paris Climate Accord, and controversial handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. His communication style, especially on platforms like Twitter, and claims of election fraud in 2020 further polarized the American populace.
- Nicolás Maduro
Deeds: The President of Venezuela since 2013, Maduro’s leadership has been characterized by accusations of human rights abuses, electoral fraud, and economic mismanagement. Under his rule, Venezuela has faced severe economic crises, marked by hyperinflation, poverty, and shortages of basic necessities, leading to mass emigration.
- Vladimir Putin
Deeds: Serving as the President or Prime Minister of Russia in various capacities since 1999, Putin’s leadership has seen Russia adopt an increasingly assertive foreign policy, exemplified by the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Domestically, accusations of suppressing political opposition, controlling the media, and involvement in the poisoning of dissidents have made him a contentious figure.
- Paul Biya
Deeds: As the President of Cameroon since 1982, Biya is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. His tenure has been marred by allegations of electoral fraud, suppressing the opposition, and failing to address the anglophone crisis, leading to widespread displacement and violence.
- Rodrigo Duterte
The President of the Philippines since 2016, has been a polarizing figure both domestically and internationally. His controversial “war on drugs” has been marked by thousands of deaths, many alleged to be extrajudicial killings, attracting widespread criticism from human rights organizations and foreign governments.
Coupled with perceived authoritarian tendencies, Duterte has threatened journalists, activists, and political opponents, raising concerns about democracy and freedom of the press in the Philippines.
His provocative rhetoric, including derogatory remarks and contentious statements about historical events, alongside a foreign policy pivot towards China, particularly concerning territorial disputes in the South China Sea, has further cemented his reputation as one of Asia’s most controversial leaders.
Deeds: Peter Dutton, an influential figure in Australian politics and a member of the Liberal Party, has often been a polarizing figure due to his stances on several issues, particularly immigration. As Minister for Home Affairs, Dutton was responsible for Australia’s immigration, border protection, and national security, and he became known for his strict approach to asylum seekers arriving by boat.
His handling of the offshore detention centers in places like Manus Island and Nauru has been a subject of significant controversy and criticism, both domestically and internationally. Critics argue that his policies have led to human rights abuses and have called for more transparency and compassion in Australia’s approach to refugees.
So, Who is the Current “Most Hated Person” Today?
It’s challenging to pin down a single universally reviled individual. Multiple figures in politics, entertainment, business, and other fields attract significant criticism and disdain for varied reasons. Some notorious figures, like Vladimir Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, or Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, face international criticism for human rights abuses. Simultaneously, others like certain celebrities might be embroiled in personal scandals or controversies, resulting in temporary spikes of intense negative sentiment.
But if we were to estimate the media, crime, and public opinion from a Western perspective of the most hated person that is alive… well we have a clear winner.
There is actually a tie between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, but in truth, since December 2011 Kim has received more backlash from the global media. While the Russian leader would take the first position since the invasion of Ukraine, Kim has been in given a lot of negative press for the following reasons:
- Isolationist Policies: North Korea, under Kim’s leadership, continues to maintain its isolationist stance, with limited information flowing in or out of the country. This lack of transparency breeds suspicion and criticism.
- Human Rights Abuses: Numerous reports and defector testimonies have highlighted widespread human rights abuses in North Korea, including forced labor camps, public executions, and extreme restrictions on freedoms.
- Nuclear Threat: Kim Jong-un’s persistent pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles has led to heightened tensions with Western countries, especially the United States. His provocative missile tests and sometimes aggressive rhetoric make international headlines and are sources of concern.
- Media Portrayal: Western media often portrays Kim in a negative light, focusing on the oppressive nature of his regime, the aforementioned human rights abuses, and the potential threat he poses to global security.
While it might be tempting to label one individual as the “most hated,” such a distinction is fraught with oversimplifications. Hatred is complex, multi-faceted, and ever-evolving, just like the global society we live in. Rather than focusing on who the most hated is, it might be more constructive to understand the root causes of such sentiments and address them for a more harmonious global community.
If you’re interested, we’ve also covered an article on The 25 Most Famous People.