When his apology on "Late Night With David Letterman" backfired, Michael Richards turned to a crisis management expert to help him recover from the scandal surrounding his use of racial slurs at a comedy club.
So far, it's unclear whether the former "Seinfeld" star will rebound, be ruined or be tainted by the incident.
Here's a list of prominent celebrities and politicians who've endured scandals and whether they survived:
George Allen, ex-senator from Virginia. Used racial slurs at a campaign rally. Lost re-election in 2006.
Gary Hart, former presidential candidate. Caught committing adultery in 1988. Withdrew from Democratic primary and national politics.
Winona Ryder, actress. Caught shoplifting in 2004. Her career never recovered.
Mark Foley, former congressman. Sent provocative electronic messages to congressional pages. Resigned from office in 2006.
Jim McGreevey, former governor and rising star in Democratic Party. Admitted extramarital affair with gay employee in 2005. Resigned from office and wrote widely panned memoir.
Bob Packwood, former senator. Hit with numerous allegations of sexual harassment, abuse and assault of women. Resigned from office in 1995 and politics.
Gary Condit, former congressman. Had affair with congressional intern, who was killed in an unsolved homicide. Resigned from office in disgrace in 2003.
Michael Jackson, pop star. Accused of child molestation in two high-profile court cases in 1993 and 2005. Acquitted but financial troubles forced him to sell his estate, and toxic reputation made him move overseas.
Rush Limbaugh, radio talk show host. Arrested on charges of committing fraud to buy prescription painkillers in 2006. Settled with prosecutors and continued his successful career.
Kobe Bryant, NBA star. Accused of sexual assault in 2003. Case was dismissed, and Bryant's career and marriage survived.
Bill Clinton, former president. Almost impeached for lying about sexual affair with White House intern in 1999. Survived scandal, stayed married, and became respected statesman and charity leader.
Bill O'Reilly, TV host. Accused of sexually assaulting a Fox News assistant in 2004. Settled lawsuit with accuser and continued his successful career.
Martha Stewart, domestic diva. Jailed on charges of obstructing justice and lying about stock sales in 2004. Served her sentence and went back to running her multibillion-dollar empire.
Hugh Grant, film star. Arrested for soliciting prostitute in 1995. Admitted his behavior on Jay Leno and starred in several top-grossing films.
Kate Moss, supermodel. Videotaped using cocaine in 2005 and dropped by several retailers. Rebounded to snag 18 modeling contracts in 2006 and earn $60 million.
Jude Law, actor. Cheated on his wife with their baby's nanny in 2005. Left wife for a younger actress and starred in several high-profile movies.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor. Accused of sexually harassing several women during his gubernatorial campaign in 2004. Won election and thrived in politics.
Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court justice. During 1991 confirmation hearings, accused of sexually harassing aide. Won confirmation and continued to serve as respect jurist.
Barney Frank, U.S. congressman. Reprimanded by the House in 1990, when it was revealed that he had a relationship with a male prostitute, who claimed to run a prostitution ring out of Frank's apartment. Voted the "brainiest" member of the House, Frank is in line to assume chairmanship of the powerful Banking Committee.
Paris Hilton, untalented celebrity. Made headlines when her sex videotape was widely circulated on the Internet in 2004. Made the jump from B-list to A-list celebrity, snagging TV, book and movie deals along the way.
Trent Lott, U.S. senator. Forced to give up his position as Senate majority leader in 2002, when he made racially divisive comments. Re-elected to that position in 2006 as a respected legislator.
Eddie Murphy, actor. Arrested for soliciting a transsexual prostitute in 1997. Went on to star in several of the highest-grossing family movies.
Jesse Jackson, prominent leader of the religious left. Had daughter with his mistress in 2000, who was paid more than $400,000 in funds by Jackson's nonprofit. Continues to play role in national politics but has been marginalized by new civil rights leaders.
Ted Kennedy, U.S. senator. Pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident during the Chappaquiddick incident in 1969, when he crashed his car into a pond in an accident that killed his female passenger. His presidential aspirations were permanently quashed, but he continues to thrive as the elder statesman of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
Britney Spears, singer. Exposed herself in public, partied with Paris Hilton, divorced her two husbands, and was accused of being a bad mother. Although she hasn't released an album in several years, she continues to be a publicity magnet.
Marv Albert, sports commentator. Stood trial in 1997 on felony charges of forcible sodomy after girlfriend accused him of repeatedly biting and sodomizing her. Ousted by NBC but then brought back in 2001 as the network's play-by-play man.
Russell Crowe, actor. Arrested and charged with second-degree assault for throwing telephone at hotel clerk in 2005. Continues to act, but his last few movies haven't performed well at the box office.
Jury's Still Out
Michael Richards, actor. Repeatedly hurled racial epithets during a performance at a comedy club in November 2006. Richards made several apologies, is undergoing anger management counseling, but two audience members are seeking monetary compensation from him.
Mel Gibson, actor/producer. During his arrest for DWI in July 2006, Gibson made several anti-Semitic comments. He entered a recovery program, and his latest directing effort, "Apocalypto," will be in theaters this week.