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Webb: That must be the biggest scandal since Watergategate.

Mitchell: Watergategate? Isn't it just Watergate?

Webb: No, that would mean it was just about water. No, it was a scandal or "gate" -- add the suffix '-gate', that's what you do with a scandal -- involving the Watergate Hotel. So it was called the Watergate scandal, or Watergategate.

On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested for breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC. By the time it was all over and the dust had settled, Then-United States President Richard Nixon had resigned his office on August 9, 1974.

The Watergate Scandal was the biggest political scandal to hit the United States in recent memory. As a result virtually every political scandal that has happened since has had the suffix "-gate" applied to its name. Even scandals that aren't political in nature can have the "-gate" suffix appended to it.

Examples of Scandalgate include:

Anime And Manga

  • Oreimogate: A leakage forced ANN to suspend streaming of Oreimo and Togainu no Chi for a few weeks.
  • Fractalegate: The simulcast by Funimation was briefly put on hold due to a request by the Japanese rights holders to take down all unauthorized copies of the series before the simulcast can continue.

Comic Books

  • Referenced in the Post-Boot Legion of Super-Heroes. The crisis of the United Planets' Portal Network being subverted by an alien power and used to invade Earth is referred to as "Softgate."
  • Popped up in Christopher Priest's run on Black Panther. The Wakandan consulate sponsored a children's charity which was later revealed to be involved in embezzling and drug-running; one of the charity's wards ended up mysteriously dead. The resulting scandal was dubbed "Wakandagate."


  • In the Goldie Hawn vehicle Protocol, Goldie Hawn's blond ditz character, Sunny Davis, is unaware that she's being asked to be a prostitute for a high-ranking Arab shiek. When the scandal finally broke, the TV news called it "Sunnygate".


  • In Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs, an event at a pool-party is later discussed as Piss-in-the-watergate. It was cordial.
  • In A Disagreement with Death, the last of the Wuntvor novels by Craig Shaw Gardner, Wuntvor's master, the wizard Ebenezum, refers repeatedly in interviews to "Wizardgate," but it is never revealed what the Wizardgate scandal actually involved, partly because Ebenezum cast a spell to make the reporter, and possibly everyone else, forget all about Wizardgate.

Live Action TV

 Mitchell: ...Aquagate?

  • Modelgate: The scandal on The Price Is Right involving Bob Barker, Dian Parkinson and many, many others that he fired as a result of what he did with Dian.
  • On Community, the main characters conspire to make "Star-burns" lose his job in a scandal. The school newspaper headline reads "Star-Gate!" in big letters, and underneath reads "Headline in reference to Watergate, not the 1994 sci-fi film."
  • Hugh Dennis on Mock the Week made a joke about this, calling a scandal about tapping the phones of celebrities "stargate" and one about politicians buying pornography "masturgate."
  • TMZ is fond of blowing seemingly minor events out of proportion, often with the "-gate" suffix. For instance, they attributed the Los Angeles Lakers' troubles in the 2010 NBA Finals (you know, before the epic Game 7 close call) to the fact that many of their key players ate steak with heavy, buttery sauce the night before at Ruth's Chris Steak House. They dubbed it "Steakgate" and over the next few days made repeated reference to it. Your Mileage May Vary on how funny each individual reference was.
  • A crossover between Sesame Street and The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour occurred during a PBS pledge drive in the '80s in which Robert MacNeil covered a presumed cookie theft by Cookie Monster known as "Cookiegate."
    • Speaking of Sesame Street, "Lionsgategate," after Lionsgate started removing Sesame Street clips from YouTube.
  • Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report referred to Michelle Obama shaking the hand of Indonesia's Health Minister as "Handergate."
  • In the mid-1990s, Eastenders ran a storyline nicknamed "Sharongate," whereby Sharon confessed to cheating on one of the infamous Mitchell brothers with the other brother.
  • On Parks and Recreation, a Sleazy Politician invented a sex scandal with Leslie in order to divert attention from the far more embarrassing sex scandal which he was actually involved in. Eventually, Leslie challenges him to provide proof of their affair on TV and he claims she has a mole in her buttocks. After a very fed-up Leslie shows her butt to the reporter, said reporter terms it "no mole-gate".
  • In the first season of Glee, the Glee Clubbers sometimes referred to their "first scandal"--Quinn getting pregnant--as "Babygate".

Newspaper Comics

  • In a Calvin and Hobbes strip, where Calvin pretends that his dad is an elected official, Calvin mentions major scandals during Dad's administration, such as "Bedtimegate" and "Homeworkgate."
  • In this Pearls Before Swine strip, problems with using a Windows computer to upload a video of a horse trotting through a gate lead to the incident being dubbed "Gates Gait Gate Gate".
  • The Far Side: In one cartoon, a caveman impresses the rest of his tribe with his invention of fire--except the fire in question is just a wooden cutout, painted to look like flames. The caption notes that he was exiled from the tribe over "the Firegate incident".


  • Crashgate: A Formula One controversy involving Nelsinho Piquet deliberately crashing his car to give his teammate Fernando Alonso enough of an advantage to win the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
  • Footgate: Referring to New York Jets coach Rex Ryan's rumored foot fetish after a woman who resembles his wife, Michelle Ryan, appeared in a foot fetish video in 2010.
  • Nipplegate: The infamous Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake "wardrobe malfunction" incident at the 2004 Super Bowl.
  • Puckgate: the mystery regarding the location of the 2010 Stanley Cup-winning puck. The FBI is on the case.
  • Skategate: The 2002 Olympic Winter Games figure skating scandal.
  • Spygate: The discovery that the New England Patriots used illegal videotaping of their opponents' defensive signals from the sidelines (specifically, the New York Jets) in 2007.
    • And again used in 2010 when Broncos coach Jeff McDaniels was accused of videotaping the San Francisco 49ers.
    • Also used in the 2007 Formula One season (yes, another F1 example) when a Ferrari employee stole technical information and slipped it to their rivals at McLaren, and later McLaren information was slipped to Renault.
  • Balloongate: During a 2009-10 Premier League season fixture, Sunderland were awarded a goal against Liverpool after the ball took a deflection off a stray balloon on the pitch.
  • Bountygate: Former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was accused of rewarding his defensive players for intentionally injuring the opposing players from 2009-2011, as well as setting up a bounty program during his stints with the Saints, Redskins, and the Bills.
  • Tripgate: In December 2010, Sal Alosi, the New York Jets' conditioning coach, formed a human wall with several Jets players along the sidelines then leaned towards the field to intentionally trip up Miami Dolphins player Nolan Carroll.
  • Seatgate: The controversy involving several ticket holders being turned away at the gates of Cowboys Stadium during Super Bowl XLV, due to alleged seat shortages.

Video Games

  • Scandal involving an Eve Online CSM member using privied information to invest in certain market materials was dubbed "Larkonis Gate" after the member's name. He was then forced to step down Nixon-style.
  • Bulletstormgate: A Fox News article[1] suggesting that the game Bulletstorm would encourage rape has lead to backlash from the video game community.
  • Gamergate: Originally a sex scandal regarding allegations that a developer slept with journalists for favorable coverage. Censorship of the topic, Streisand Effect and a out of nowhere attack on gamers led to a still-ongoing consumer revolt.

Web Original

  • Jarkgate: Unofficial Fan Nickname for the scandal involving Scott Jarkoff's firing from Deviant ART in July/August 2005.
  • A Home and Away storyline from 2005 centered on the paternity of Hayley Lawson's baby became unpopular with the fans, who were aware that Scott was the father from the beginning (the test results had been switched by the vengeful ex-girlfriend of the other prospective father, Kim) but were forced to sit through months of near misses with at least three other characters finding out but being prevented from revealing it for various reasons. The story is now dubbed "Paternitygate" on the Backtothebay message board.
  • Sporegate: The fan reaction to EA's insistence on using severe DRM in Spore was not pleasant.
  • A user on this forum is actually lamenting the loss of "gate" being attached to anything and everything. Link.
  • Gerstmanngate: Used by some video game sites to describe the scandal when Jeff Gerstmann was fired from Gamespot after his middling Kane and Lynch: Dead Men review.
  • Roomgate: The Nostalgia Critic's review of The Room was taken down due to false copyright claims that didn't make the slightest bit of sense. The takedown notice turned out to be the Moral Event Horizon for Wiseau Films.
  • WikiLeaks included the word "cablegate" in the URL to the 250,000+ diplomatic cables they leaked in November 2010, as if they were naming their own scandal that they were trying to make.
  • The Yogscast's second YoGPoD, Sipsgate, in which Lewis randomly calls his internet friend Sips (who said to never, ever call him in real life except in emergencies related to their website, which he maintains) three times for no reason other than entertainment. Luckily, the potential scandal and defriending is averted, and Sips is cool with it... as long as they don't call him again.
  • Elevatorgate: The reaction among the Internet atheist community to Rebecca Watson complaining that a man hit on her in the elevator. Made more interesting by the fact that although such people as P.Z. Myers were on her side, Richard Dawkins was not.
  • Derpygate: The reaction to character changes affecting a certain Ensemble Darkhorse in her debut episode led to complaints from the fan community.

Western Animation

  • Subverted in The Simpsons, where Kent Brockman reveals that the trial of Mayor Quimby's nephew for assaulting a waiter is being dubbed by the media as "Beat Up Waiter":

 Kent Brockman: This reporter suggested "Waitergate" but was shouted down at the Press Club.

Real Life

  • It's believed that the first scandal to have a -gate suffix attached to it was Winegate, a 1973 scandal in France involving wine merchants fraudulently labeling cheap wine as Bordeaux.
  • Monicagate / Zippergate: The Monica Lewinsky scandal under President Bill Clinton. Called "Tailgate" by The Daily Show.
  • Plamegate: The accusations of outing the (by then already former) CIA operative Valerie Plame by Richard Armitage.
  • Rathergate (or "Memogate"): 60 Minutes' report that produced allegedly forged documents concerning George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard in 1972.
  • Whitewatergate: The Whitewater scandal about real estate dealings and an illegal $300,000 loan the Clinton couple was involved in.
  • Gategate: Jon Stewart's suggested name, during an interview on C-SPAN, for a hypothetical investigation into "who gives out the -gates?"
    • He also noted: "How did Memogate get a gate? How did Nipplegate get a gate? We invaded a country based on faulty intelligence, and Janet Jackson's tit got a gate!"
    • Was also used by The Economist after a scandal involving a company called GATE.
  • Keith Olbermann of MSNBC loved to do this. Until mid-2009, Countdown had a bit called "Bushed!" showcasing various failures of the Bush Administration and affixing -gate to any and everything resembling a title he can find. e.g., "Support the Troops-gate," "Heckuva Job-gate", "Waterboarding-gate" and so forth.
    • The last one is often referred to more succinctly as "Torturegate".
  • Iguanagate. An Australian politician and his wife were forced to undergo anger management classes after yelling at the staff of a nightclub called Iguana Joe's.
    • Utegate is even stupider. At least it reminded us all that random emails might not be trustworthy.
      • Zunegate, however, tops them all. OMIGAWSH YOU GUIEZ, OBAMA UZEZ DA ZUNE OMG OMG OMG.
  • Towelgate (Toallagate): In Mexico, around 2001, someone dug up public spending records of highly expensive luxuries for Vicente Fox's presidential manor, including several multi-thousand-dollar towels.
  • ClimateGate, where the Hadley Climactic Research Unit's emails were hacked and certain content from within the center was made public and often quoted out of context. This may remind people of certain elements of a recent bestselling novel. The significance of this event is (no pun intended) hotly debated.
    • Additional scandals regarding exaggerated claims of Himalayan glaciers melting have followed. Some commentators have dubbed the controversy "Glaciergate."
  • "Babygate," which was applied to several rumors and scandals regarding the Palin women and their various pregnancies.
  • "Sponsorgate" is a popular name in Canada for the Sponsorship Scandal, in which a significant amount of national taxpayers dollars disappeared. Ironically, the money was supposed to be used to promote Canadian unity.
  • In Holland, there is Mabelgate, for a prince marrying a woman (named Mabel) who turned out to have had an affair with a mobster in her student years.
  • NPR-gate: NPR fired one of its longtime members, Juan Williams, for saying that he "felt uncomfortable" if he was on a plane with a devout Muslim.
  • Fox News christened Sarah Palin being booed by an audience member at a taping of Dancing With the Stars "Boo-Gate."
  • Crackergate / Wafergate: Catholics take communion very seriously. Not eating the host/cracker immediately resulted in one student being assaulted and receiving death threats. The overreaction resulted in another consecrated wafer being thrown in the trash.
  • "GatesGate" was the name given to the scandal involving the arrest for disorderly conduct of (black) Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, who believed that the arrest was the product of racial discrimination and profiling.
  • Iraqgate: Anneli Jäätteenmäki, then-Prime Minister of Finland, had acquired secret Foreign Ministry documents relating to the War on Terror in 2003 with the ensuing scandal eventually leading to her resignation.
  • Aquagate: On January 31, 2007. Boston police officials were alerted of a suspicious object on a section of Interstate 93. Bomb Squad, and numerous other personnel were called into action. This strange object was determined to possibly be an improvised bomb. They were determined to be "hoax devices". Several others were reported elsewhere. Turns out, the were promotional pieces (similar to litebrites, featuring the Mooninites) for the ensuing Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, with devices stationed in 9 other cities with no incident. Of course, this revelation came after numerous streets in Boston, were closed. The people responsible were shortly arrested and charged with "...intent to panic the public." Boston quickly became a laughing stock with people with knowledge of the devices, and the series.
  • Handleygate: An Iowa man named Christopher Handley served six months for possession of seven obscene manga. This scandal shook the entire otaku community in the United States, though on the ANN bulletin's announcement of the sentencing a blacklist was compiled consisting solely of all the obscene manga Handley was found in possession of, meaning nobody except those who owned any of the titles on the blacklist had to worry after all.
  • Tokyogate: The internet has used this to the otaku community outrage that lasted for several months over the passage of Bill 156 by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which grants it the power to restrict games and manga with the depiction of illegal sexual acts (read: Lolicon) and "sexual depictions between close relatives who could not legally get married" if done in an "unjustifiably glorified" manner. The Tokyogate title has also been used to refer to an earlier financial semi-scandal involving the Tokyo government.
  • Bigotgate: Gordon Brown (at the time Prime Minister of the UK) took questions from a woman, Gillian Duffy, while campaigning in the run-up to the General Election, which included a comment from Duffy about too many people "flocking" to Britain from Eastern Europe. As Brown was leaving, he forgot to switch off his microphone, which later recorded him referring to her as a 'bigoted woman'.
  • Rubygate, the name for the scandal between the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, and a nightclub dancer he paid for sexual services.
  • Wheatergate: The Australian Wheat Board scandal, particularly that they paid kick-backs to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government in exchange for lucrative wheat contracts in connection to the UN's "Oil for Food" program.
  • Tattoogate nearly wrecked Warner Bros. by threatening to block the release of The Hangover Part II over a character "getting some ink" in a style the same to Mike Tyson's facial tattoo, a design copyrighted by the tattoo's original designer.
  • Weinergate: US Congressman Anthony Weiner got busted for posting lewd photos of himself to his twitter account. (The jokes write themselves)
  • Hackgate: Reports that reporters and employees of Rupert Murdoch's News International corporation, and particularly British-tabloid "News of the World", had hacked into the cellphones of celebrities, politicians, royal family members, and victims of crimes, including, allegedly, voice mails of the victims of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
  • Chile, being a Spanish-speaking country and not really up-to-date with American's news, didn't have this trope for naming scandals. But then a corruption scandal broke up that just happened to involve the Ministerio de Obras Públicas (Ministry of Public Works, MOP in Spanish) and the firm Gestión Ambiental y Territorial (Enviromental and Territorial Management, GATE in Spanish), which was known as the MOP-GATE case and started a trend of naming scandals with a -gate suffix. It rhymes with latte by the way.
  • Penngate: Also known as the "Jerry Sandusky Affair" and the "Second Scandal to Rock College Sports, After SMUgate", this ongoing scandal centers on Jerry Sandusky being charged with sexual abuse, as well as a possible cover-up by the university itself.
  • Crategate: In 1983 Mitt Romney put his dog on a crate strapped to the roof of his car for a twelve hour car ride.
  • Robogate: This one's a Canadian scandal, and was called this by the Globe and Mail to refer to automated messages, or "robocalls" sent out directing voters to incorrect voting areas during the Canadian 2011 Federal election in May. More information on The Other Wiki here.
  • Bullygate: The MPAA certified an anti-bullying documentary film with an R-rating which was upheld; although more than half the appeals board did think an R-rating was too much for a film with a very important message that should be heard by children, they weren't enough to overturn the rating. That's when the Weinstein brothers, already known as the most vocal opponents of the MPAA, decided the MPAA had finally crossed the line. Fortunately, a compromised was reached, and the film is now rated PG-13 with half the F words cut (the other half, all in the key and infamous "bus" scene that contributed to the original R rating, completely intact).
  • Panthergate: The New Black Panther Party did acts of Voter Intimidation in Pennsylvania, with the voters they intimidated seen were caucasians. When confronted on the issue, Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the Department of Justice, refused to prosecute because he didn't want to prosecute "my people" (his words, in reference to the Black Panthers).
  • Editgate: The name for the current scandal against a large amount of news media outlets regarding their tampering with the Trayvon Martin shooting case to make a racial-based narrative, including among other things editing a call to make it seem as though the reason Zimmerman felt Martin was suspicious was because of his skin color when, as the unedited tape revealed, the only time Zimmerman even mentioned Martin's race, period, was when the 911 operator asked what the suspect's race was (hence the name).
  • Gloria-gate: More known in the Philippines as "Hello Garci". This refers to the implication of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo interfering in the 2004 national elections, judging by her being in contact with an official of the Commission on Elections during the vote counting. A recording of the conversation (from a wire-tap) was released to the public, sparking massive outrages, protests, and a clamor for former President Arroyo's opponent in that election, Fernando Poe Junior, to be declared as the winner of the election.
  • Gate Gate, a minor example in the UK. A problem with a style of gate led to a minor problem with hikers who struggled walking. It's since long been forgotten by anybody who didn't watch Have I Got News for You.


  1. Particularly, an attributed quote from a psychiatrist in the article.
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