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A Look Back At Some Of 2018’s Most WTF Moments

Brace yourself for a review of some the bizarre things that went down this year.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Grégoire and son Xavier visit the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar on Feb. 21, 2018.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Grégoire and son Xavier visit the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar on Feb. 21, 2018.

The year has birthed some pretty, pretty wild moments. Many have involved U.S. President Donald Trump (obviously), and technology entrepreneur Elon Musk had more than a few memorable facepalm incidents.

Rapper Kanye West will forever and always elicit "come-again?" moments it seems. And Canada's own, Drake, aka Champagne Papi, became, well, a real papi — somewhat in secret until rapper Pusha T called him out on it.

People ran for their lives in Hawaii after a false missile attack alert, and teens munched on Tide detergent pods because the internet can fail us sometimes.

There were so many WTF moments this year that it's difficult to narrow down the top ones of 2018. But we tried, so here goes:

Our PM got a little too Bollywood in India

Justin Trudeau and his family went to India in February for an official visit. The trip didn't quite go as well as Trudeau likely hoped.

First, Jaspal Atwal, a Sikh extremist who has been convicted of attempted murder and was previously affiliated with a terrorist group, was invited to a dinner hosted by the Canadian high commissioner to honour Trudeau in Delhi.

Atwal was found guilty of trying to kill an Indian minister in 1986; he was also blamed for an assault on Ujjal Dosanjh, the former premier of British Columbia. How did he even get on the invite list?

From left to right: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, daughter Ella-Grace, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his son Xavier visit Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on February 19, 2018.
From left to right: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, daughter Ella-Grace, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his son Xavier visit Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on February 19, 2018.

Secondly, despite the gravity of the situation, Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian garb, sashayed out doing a Bhangra dance at the reception.

Always a lover of photo ops and social media, the attention didn't quite work in his favour this time. Many of the photos from the trip were marked by images showing the Trudeau family in traditional Indian clothing, posing with their palms pressed together in a Namaste greeting. Trudeau, his wife Sophie Grégoire and their children, Xavier, 10, Ella Grace, 9, and Hadrien, 3, wore Indian clothing to special events and meetings.

Some saw it as a bit much: the Canadian prime minister and his family were accused of "playing dress-up" during their visit to India.

In an interview with the Toronto Star, Trudeau admitted that this was his most regrettable moment of 2018.

Elon Musk vs Twitter vs himself

Remember when 12 members of a Thai junior football team and their assistant coach were trapped in the Tham Luang cave system in Thailand after heavy rains flooded the cave? After a week of intense drama, the team was eventually rescued by an international team.

But before that, Elon Musk, the CEO of electric car company Tesla, had offered to assist the rescue mission by providing a submarine. The request was turned down. Vern Unsworth, a British cave explorer said Musk's attempt to help the rescue effort was a "PR stunt."

Musk responded by saying he would make a video proving that his "mini-sub" would have been successful, adding: "Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it."

Not only did that escalate super quickly, but it was also a baseless allegation that Musk made via Twitter. You know, for all the world to read. Unsworth subsequently sued Musk over the since-deleted defamatory Tweet.

But it didn't stop there. This year, Musk smoked weed on a live web show hosted by U.S. comedian Joe Rogan. And he thought planet Earth should be renamed "Water."

He also believed there was a market for US$500 flamethrowers, and mused about taking Tesla private.

And lest we not forget the house hostage saga between Musk, rapper Azealia Banks and musician Grimes. We still don't really know what was going on there so we'll just stop here.

Doing everyday things in the U.S. while black

In April, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson sat in a Philadelphia Starbucks waiting for a business meeting. The meeting never happened because shortly after they arrived, the store manager called the cops on them for "trespassing." The arrest was recorded by a customer and you better believe it went viral.

Nelson and Robinson spent hours in a jail cell with no outside contact before they were released.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the two men arrested at a Starbucks, tell their story on Good Morning America, April 19, 2018.
Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the two men arrested at a Starbucks, tell their story on Good Morning America, April 19, 2018.

The weekend after the arrests, outrage over the video grew, prompting a protest at the Starbucks where the arrest occurred, and a national boycott of the chain. The company's CEO apologized to the men and instituted company-wide training following the incident.

But then it seemed like cops were being called on black people for everyday things repeatedly in the United States — and often by white people.

Other incidents involved:

Hawaii missile was in fact just a drill

On Jan. 13th, 2018, the residents of Hawaii picked up their phones to find a warning: a missile would be hitting the islands imminently, prompting folks to run for their lives.

A screenshot take by a Hawaiian citizen Alison Teal shows the screen of her mobile phone with an alert text message sent to all Hawaiian citizens on Jan. 13, 2018.
A screenshot take by a Hawaiian citizen Alison Teal shows the screen of her mobile phone with an alert text message sent to all Hawaiian citizens on Jan. 13, 2018.

It was, perhaps, one of the biggest false alarms. Ever. The ballistic missile scare struck fear into the state's roughly 1.4 million residents and a report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revealed that the person who pushed the button to send the alert believed there was an actual emergency and a missile was incoming. He was terminated from his job soon after.

The alert raised questions about emergency alert system processes and nuclear preparedness.

Reflections from Jian Ghomeshi's attempted comeback

Like LL Cool J once said, don't call it a comeback and in Jian Ghomeshi's case, LL was right. The disgraced former CBC radio host penned an indulgent personal essay, "Reflections from a Hashtag" that was published in the October issue of the New York Review of Books. The essay was rife with omissions, obfuscations and manipulations. So much so that independent media website Canadaland offered some basic fact-checking. Many social media users questioned why he was given such a prestigious platform to detail his life post-trial.

Jian Ghomeshi walks in front of his lawyer Marie Henein outside of a Toronto courthouse in March, 2016.
Jian Ghomeshi walks in front of his lawyer Marie Henein outside of a Toronto courthouse in March, 2016.

Ghomeshi was acquitted in March 2016 of four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking involving three complainants. In May 2016, he apologized to a fourth complainant and signed a peace bond that saw another count of sexual assault withdrawn.

Ghomeshi revealed that he had suicidal thoughts in the aftermath of the allegations and reflected on his trajectory from a high-profile Canadian personality to a self-described "outcast."

"I've become a hashtag. One of my female friends quips that I should get some kind of public recognition as a #MeToo pioneer," he wrote.

His attempt to elicit sympathy while trying to re-enter the public sphere failed massively.

Ian Buruma, the former editor of the New York Review of Books, faced backlash after publishing the piece for providing Ghomeshi with the platform and for not having fact-checked the essay. That backlash was further ignited in an interview with Slate magazine, when Buruma appeared to have little knowledge of the allegations against Ghomeshi yet still defended the piece. Buruma resigned in the wake of the controversy.

Logan Paul's suicide mission

YouTuber Logan Paul kicked off 2018 in one of the worst ways imaginable. He shared a video with his 16 million subscribers that contained footage of an apparent victim of suicide he found in Japan's Aokigahara forest.

He apologized after the video garnered backlash. He claimed he "intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention."

But then, a supercut of Paul's trip to Japan, which showed him severely disrespecting Japanese culture, went viral.

Kanye West being Kanye West

Oh, Kanye. Kanye, Kanye, Kanye. Where do we even begin? Perhaps when he said slavery was a choice? Or maybe it was when he visited the White House in October wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. West told Trump that the headwear "made me feel like Superman. You made a Superman cape for me."

American rapper and producer Kanye West embraces U.S. President Donald Trump in the White House's Oval Office in October 2018.
American rapper and producer Kanye West embraces U.S. President Donald Trump in the White House's Oval Office in October 2018.

Before embracing Trump, he also said: "I love this guy right here. Let me give this guy a hug. I love this guy right here." He basically fangirled hard over the Donald.

Drake released a new album and fathered a child.

Drake was pushed into revealing that he fathered a baby. In May, Pusha T released his latest album, Daytona. On his track, "The Story of Adidon," Pusha T claims that Drake is hiding a secret love child with adult film actress and artist Sophie Brussaux, whom he was linked with in 2017.

And then Drake dropped his latest album Scorpion with tracks that confirmed he is now a dad.

Speaking about his experience of fatherhood on the track "Emotionless," he revealed: "I wasn't hiding my kid from the world/I was hiding the world from my kid."

Photos of Drake in blackface also re-emerged this year — why Jimmy, why?

Victoria's Secret spews its secrets

Victoria's Secret made no secrets about the fact that the company is not interested in featuring transgender or plus-size models. Hours before the 2018 Victoria's Secret fashion show taped at New York's Pier 94, Vogue published a joint interview with the lingerie giant's chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, and Monica Mitro, executive VP of public relations. In the interview, Razek said that trans and plus-size women do not exemplify the "fantasy" that Victoria's Secret is trying to sell. Well, many observers have come to the conclusion that VS doesn't quite exemplify the makings of a progressive company.

Washing their mouths out with detergent

The Tide pod challenge was one of the more dangerous trends of the year.
The Tide pod challenge was one of the more dangerous trends of the year.

Videos circulated on social media showing kids biting into brightly coloured liquid laundry detergent packets. Or cooking them in frying pans, then chewing them up before spewing the soap from their mouths. Why? Who knows! Dubbed the "Tide pod challenge," this bizarre social media trend sent more than a few people to hospitals.

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