The Sour Poi Awards 2013

Celebrating the best of the worst of 2013 — the dumb, the deranged and the indefensible.


(page 5 of 5)


In October, just as University of Hawaii officials had almost blocked out the memory of getting scammed out of $200,000 with an imaginary Stevie Wonder concert, the Motown legend showed up in Honolulu for real—to perform a private show in Waikiki for the Oracle Corp. employees of billionaire Larry Ellison.


On the other hand, UH may have finally learned a lesson in the wake of the Wonder Blunder. In October, it made sure to announce that it turned down a pitch for a Bruno Mars benefit concert after it learned that the person proposing the show had no connection to Mars. Said athletic director Ben Jay, “We thoroughly vet whomever brings anything like that to us.”


Aerosmith rock star Steven Tyler campaigned, unsuccessfully, for a new law that would have allowed celebrities to sue photographers who invaded their privacy. Fawning lawmakers backed off after media critics pointed out the bill undermined First Amendment rights, and was “overly broad and vague.”


A 16-year-old mural at the Hawaii Convention Center was temporarily censored with black cloth in September after a complaint from Native Hawaiian advocate Paulette Kaleikini.  She called artist Hans Ladislaus’s depiction of Hawaiian iwi “insensitive.” After a meeting convened by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, it was announced that the mural would be uncovered once again, thanks to an agreement reached “based on sincere mutual respect between the involved parties.”


The state’s largest public pension fund fell short this past year by $8.4 billion dollars—the worst shape it’s been in since 1980. Changes to the fund management in July are promised to start to turn things around, but it’s estimated that it’ll take 30 years to accrue enough money to pay all benefits that are due to qualified recipients.

Illustration: Andrew J. Catanzariti


State lawmaker Tom Brower made national news in November when he began wandering the streets of his district with a sledgehammer, harassing the homeless. In addition to waking up people he saw sleeping on the street during the day and telling them to “Get your ass moving,” Brower says he smashed 30 shopping carts being used by homeless people. Predictably, his crusade sparked a firestorm of controversy; after two weeks of being called “mean-spirited” and a bully, Brower decided to hang up his hammer, claiming his point had been made. “I guess I shouldn’t use the sledgehammer because it’s a really loaded image,” he said.




Few people had a rougher year in 2013 than Manti Teo. After Deadspin broke the news in January that Teo’s supposed late girlfriend was actually more like an imaginary girlfriend, the Notre Dame All-American linebacker and Laie native had to endure a national whirlwind of suspicion and scorn. The media frenzy calmed down after it became clear that Teo had been the victim of a catfishing hoax, but the damage had been done. Although he had at one point been thought of as a strong first-round draft pick contender, he ended up as the 38th overall pick in the second round by the San Diego Chargers. And, in October, Forbes Magazine ranked Teo second on its annual list of the NFL’s Most-Disliked Players, just under convicted dog-fighter Michael Vick.

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