Baby naming trends shift dramatically whenever there’s a high-profile scandal or a celebrity’s fall from grace. For instance, you don’t see too many Adolfs attending preschools these days. 2020 has been one rough ride that’s brought us some unsavory characters. Their names now are haunted by a negative connotation and thus will likely be unpopular in 2021.
Let’s take a look back at a year marked with plague, bad politics, celebrity screwups, and more to find the names that are going to carry the worst stigma. We discovered 25 baby names that just aren’t going to fly after 2020 effectively canceled them. Read on to find out if the person who ticked you off the most this year has inspired a name on this list!
Corona is a Latin name that means “crown” or “wreath.” While it might have been an attractive prospect before 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has dashed any chances this name had at gaining traction.
Kanye West has been a polarizing figure for years at this point, but 2020 saw him sink to new depths. He launched an unsuccessful bid for President which was marked by multiple stories of his wife, Kim Kardashian worrying about his mental health.
At a campaign rally in Charleston, South Carolina West went on an unhinged rant and made controversial statements like, “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people.”
Ah, the college admissions cheating scandal. That was a fun one. Actor, Lori Loughlin began serving her prison sentence in 2020 for using her fortune and influence to get her child accepted into a primo school. Her husband also served time, but Mossimo Giannulli mostly flew under the radar.
Lori was not alone. No, the excellent actor with a bad ethical compass, Felicity Huffman was also tied up in the scandal. She served her time and then booked her first acting gig since the incident. It’s a shame because Felicity is a great name.
Melania Trump, who really hates Christmas, has proven herself to have the same selfish impulses as her husband. On a trip to visit migrant children forcibly separated from their parents by the US government, she famously wore a coat that said “I really don’t care. Do u?”
2020 was not a great year for the name Jeffrey. We learned more than we’d ever liked to about Jeffrey Epstein‘s criminal conduct. And to further tarnish the name with gross sex-stuff, Jeffrey Toobin was fired from The New Yorker after exposing himself on a Zoom call.
Problematic YouTuber, Shane Dawson had a reckoning in 2020. YouTube stopped him from profiting on ads in his videos after the content creator’s past comments came to light. He then publicly apologized for “wearing blackface, using racial slurs, insulting people living with disabilities, joking about pedophilia, and speaking hypothetically about murdering a woman.”
Ellen used to be a wonderful name universally adored until Ellen DeGeneres‘ toxicity was revealed. Former employees came forward with all sorts of allegations against the comedian and television host. The revelations about how poorly DeGeneres has treated the people around her have forever colored how we see her.
Hair dye dripping down Rudy Giuliani‘s sweaty face as he angrily screamed conspiracies and unfounded claims into a microphone will forever change the way we hear this name. Shortly before the incident, the former Mayor was caught in a compromising position by Sacha Baron Cohen in a hotel room. Expecting parents, don’t let any of this man’s legacy soil that beautiful baby boy!
2020 started off with a bang in the form of a wacky, hit docuseries entitled Tiger King. We all couldn’t get enough of the feud between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. The two both exploited big cats for their personal gains. There have been a lot of great Caroles to come before her, but Baskin has taken the shine off this name for the foreseeable future.
The Harvey Weinstein serial sexual assault scandal has been a slow-moving nightmare for years now. The latest development in the case occurred in May. An additional four women came forward and accused the disgraced producer of sexual assault. The name Harvey is off the table for a long time, we fear.
The internet is obsessed with Baby Yoda from The Mandalorian. Fans learned this year that ‘The Child’ has a name and it’s Grogu. You can’t go naming your baby after a Star War‘s character!
Keep the tempestuous energy of the name Stormy away from your baby. Over the past couple of years, we’ve learned more about an adult movie performer named Stormy Daniels than we would have liked. She reportedly had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006. The fallout is still ongoing.
Rapper Lil Wayne received a great deal of backlash after he gave Donald Trump his endorsement for president days before Trump would lose the election. We hope it was worth it as Wayne’s girlfriend reportedly dumped him because of it. The name Wayne has been losing favor among new parents and now we fear it will fall out of the top 1000 names in 2021.
Alexa was a top 50 name for girls in the US prior to it becoming synonymous with Amazon in 2014. Alexa’s popularity has decreased dramatically and we foresee that trend continuing in a big way in 2021. It’s wise to not name your child Alexa or Siri at this point.
Jerry Falwell Jr. stole headlines this year as a scandal involving his wife and pool boy emerged. It was rich because he was the president of one of the most conservative Christian schools in the country, Liberty University. The board of the school forced him to resign in response. The name Jerry is the least popular it’s ever been since 1890. It’s going to get worse.
We can’t talk about Jeffrey Epstein without also mentioning his partner who allegedly helped lure young women into his clutches. Ghislaine Maxwell has arisen as a shady figure who is currently in jail awaiting trial for trafficking minors and perjury.
If you don’t like Joe Biden, fine. But, we’re turned off by the name thanks to Joe Exotic, the “tiger king” who went to prison after he was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse. Animal abuse is not cute!
Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos emerged as one of the most controversial members of President Trump’s cabinet. She was born rich, never attended public schools, and does not believe in them. Yes, a person who wants to completely privatize education for the entire country was put in charge of it. Betsy wasn’t all that cute a name before this, but now it’s canceled.
The UK’s version of Trump, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was instrumental in the country’s move to BREXIT before taking office. According to the latest YouGov polling, he has a 34% approval rating in the UK. Boris was probably not top-of-mind as a name possibility for most parents, but it’s definitely sunk now.
Now, Joseph has been and probably still will be one of the most popular names in the country. However, we will forever think of Joseph James DeAngelo. You might know him better as The Golden State Killer. He was sentenced to life in prison after he admitted to 13 murders and multiple rapes. So, we’re skipping this name for a few years, right?
Actor Lea Michele is apparently a horrible person to work with. Co-stars from the show Glee and others from her time on Broadway all came forward with details of her toxic behavior behind the scenes. Lea just doesn’t have the same ring to it now.
“I’m worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or weeks to be finalized, there is a risk of civil unrest across the country. Given this, companies like ours need to go well beyond what we’ve done before,” Mark Zuckerberg said of his company’s responsibilities moving forward. Mark was already a name on the decline, but its association with this weird robot should make it even less palatable.
Not only is the name indicative of one of the most divisive and dramatic presidents in United States history, but the name itself has consistently diminished in popularity. According to data collected by the Social Security Administration, the name Donald decreased from 526th to 553th on the list of most popular names, a drop of 27 places. It’s the name’s lowest ranking in history. We don’t see it coming back anytime soon.
There are some completely wonderful Karens out there. In fact, we know a few. However, this name has come to be associated with entitled, white women. If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media, you’ve seen the name used in this way to describe someone who melts down in a Trader Joe’s or calls the cops on a birdwatcher. Karen had her time in the sun and now it’s time for her to take a bit of a rest.
There you go! 25 baby names that parents are going to think twice about in 2021. 2020 has been a rough one, so do not leave its stain on your child with one of these names. Onward and upward!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Corona
- 2 24. Kanye
- 3 23. Lori
- 4 22. Felicity
- 5 21. Melania
- 6 20. Jeffrey
- 7 19. Shane
- 8 18. Ellen
- 9 17. Rudy
- 10 16. Carole
- 11 15. Harvey
- 12 14. Grogu
- 13 13. Stormy
- 14 12. Wayne
- 15 11. Alexa
- 16 10. Jerry
- 17 9. Ghislaine
- 18 8. Joe
- 19 7. Betsy
- 20 6. Boris
- 21 5. Joseph
- 22 4. Lea
- 23 3. Mark
- 24 2. Donald
- 25 1. Karen
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