18. Joseph P. Kennedy is widely villainized in America and Great Britain
Joseph P. Kennedy’s fortune began through stock manipulation, using techniques illegal today but acceptable in his time. He expanded it through investments in real estate and several businesses across the United States. In the 1920s he began investing in Hollywood movie studios, eventually combining several into RKO Studios. With the studios came theaters in which the films were shown. As it became evident that Prohibition would be repealed he acquired distribution rights for alcohol, along with a partner, James D. Roosevelt, son of Franklin Roosevelt. His large family became socially prominent, in the United States and in Great Britain, where Joseph served as the Ambassador to the Court of St. James. His pro-appeasement policies brought him into disfavor with FDR, and he returned to the United States with his political aspirations in ruins.
Since his second son, John Fitzgerald ran for President in 1960, he was accused of conspiring with organized crime in the United States, and of being a bootlegger during Prohibition. Neither accusation has ever been proved, and much evidence contradicts the accusations. He was a lifelong womanizer, a practice followed by each of his four sons. For the past 70 years he has been accused of a lifelong practice of criminal activity, nearly all of which comes from unsourced claims and outright falsehoods. His real foibles were bad enough. They included having his daughter Rose Marie lobotomized without the consent, or even knowledge, of her mother. It went badly. The Kennedy name became one of the most polarizing in American politics, despite their long record of service. Much it began with the man known as Old Joe.