Hollywood is an interesting place. It is where dreams are created, superstars are born, and many of today’s greatest movies are made. However, on the other hand, it can be a very ruthless place. The movie and television industries are very cut-throat. One wrong move, step, or action can ruin a career in the blink of an eye.
While there is no official Hollywood “blacklist” per se, there are a number of people whose careers seemed to fall off a cliff, and not because of a lack of talent. A public freak out, being difficult to work with, or being racist and/or homophobic are just some of the many reasons why people can be blacklisted. And then there’s the more recent revelations that some actresses had their careers torpedoed as a result of turning down the unwanted advances from some of the most powerful men in Hollywood — a very disturbing realization for many of us. Here are 12 actors and actresses who have essentially been blacklisted by most of Hollywood, and why.
16. Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron got his introduction into Hollywood at a young age, as he was a child star and appeared in many different TV shows and films. He is best known for his role as Mike Seaver in the sitcom Growing Pains for seven seasons, but also appeared in movies Like Father Like Son and Listen to Me. However, Kirk Cameron is hardly known as an actor any more and more known these days for his radical Christian views. He speaks all day long about his beliefs towards religion, homosexuals, and more, which has led to him being essentially blacklisted from Hollywood. Whether he is doing interviews on TV shows or social media, Cameron cannot keep his religious views and beliefs to himself.
15. Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser was a huge star in the late 90s – early 2000s, appearing in films such as Bedazzled and The Mummy. However, Fraser’s roles started to become less frequent as the 2000s wore on and the actor blames an encounter with the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as the reason for his blacklisting.
According to Fraser, he was sexually assaulted by Philip Berk at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2003 and claims that because he resisted, the HFPA has rarely invited him back to the Golden Globes ever since (Berk denies Fraser’s version of events, claiming in his 2014 memoir that he pinched Fraser’s behind as a joke). Fraser admits that other factors may be at play for his decreased work volume, but still feels that his encounter with Berk was a significant factor. “The phone does stop ringing in your career, and you start asking yourself why. There’s many reasons, but was this one of them? I think it was,” he said.
14. Roseanne Barr
A vocal supporter of Donald Trump’s presidency, actress and comedian Roseanne Barr is one of Hollywood’s most controversial figures but her outspoken political Twitter rants finally went a step too far in May 2018 when she wrote a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a Senior Advisor to former President Barack Obama. Though Barr later deleted the tweet and issued an apology, ABC promptly cancelled the Roseanne reboot the very same day, with the company’s president labeling her remarks,”abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.” While it’s still a little too early to tell, it’s hard to see Barr getting offered many roles in the future following her latest public scandal.
13. Tippi Hedren
Tippi Hedren started her career as a fashion model in her early twenties but got her big break in Hollywood after being discovered by filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. Hedren would go on to star in two of Hitchcock’s films – the suspense thriller The Birds (1963) and the psychological drama Marnie (1964) – but relations between the pair soon turned ugly.
Hitchcock reportedly made a number of sexual advances towards Hedren, who promptly turned him down and told the filmmaker that Marnie would be their last film together. An enraged Hitchcock threatened to ruin her career and refused to release Hedren from her contract and prevented her from getting work for two years before finally selling the contract in 1966. Fortunately, Hedren’s acting career eventually recovered and she later became a vocal animal rights activist as well.
Mo’nique, whose full name is Monique Angela Hicks, is a comedian and actor who first gained attention for her stand-up shows and for playing Nicole “Nikki” Parker in the UPN series The Parkers, which ran from 1999 to 2004. However, Mo’nique’s biggest break came in 2009, when her role playing an abusive mother in Lee Daniel’s film Precious earned critical praise and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. However, since her big win for Precious, Mo’nique’s film and TV roles have largely dried up and the actress claimed in a 2015 interview with the Hollywood Reporter that it was because of how she handled the 2010 Oscar campaign for Precious.
According to Mo’nique, Precious director Lee Daniels confirmed as much to her in a phone call, stating that Hollywood had blackballed her because she “didn’t play the game.” In a subsequent interview, Daniels generally confirmed Mo’nique’s position, stating, “Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community.”
11. Isaiah Washington
Washington has been a Hollywood veteran for many years and has dozens of different television and movies credits to his name. Despite his many roles, the one he is known the best for is definitely his role as Preston Burke in Grey’s Anatomy. However, he was let go from the show (and essentially blacklisted by Hollywood) after using a homophobic slur about a cast mate. He also used the slur again after the show won a Golden Globe, which was the nail in the coffin. While he still works from time to time (and has a recurring role on The 100), he isn’t working nearly as much as he could have been.
10. Mel Gibson
While he made a triumphant return as a director with Hacksaw Ridge in 2016, Mel Gibson is still largely blacklisted from Hollywood screens. I doubt we see him act that much at all going forward. Gibson was a very successful and popular actor and director throughout the 80s, 90s and 2000s. However, Gibson had some very public freak outs that damaged his career beyond recognition. After a drunk driving incident, he went on a giant anti-Semitic rant, which made huge headlines all over the world. It has been over a decade since the incident and some fans have forgiven him. But many people, especially the Hollywood elite, will never forget the things he has said and done.
9. Cee-Lo Green
Cee-Lo Green got his start as a musical act and has been in the industry since the mid-1990s. However it wasn’t until his hit song “F**k You” came out in 2010, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard charts, that he became more of a household name. Green parlayed this success into being a judge on The Voice and getting his own TV show. However, some very insensitive tweets on the topic of rape and homophobia led him to essentially be blacklisted completely. He lost his TV show, his spot on The Voice, and even many of his scheduled concert gigs didn’t want him to show up anymore. The things he said won’t soon be forgiven, so don’t expect to see him back in Hollywood anytime soon.
8. Thora Birch
As a child, Thora Birch was in a ton of notable films and many of us still watch her in Hocus Pocus every Halloween. She evolved from a child star to a bonafide star in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, with how hot her career started, why is she not a bigger star now? Well, one rumor floating around is she has been blacklisted due to her father and manager reportedly physically threatened a co-star, which quickly got her fired. While she has recently returned to acting a little here and there, she will never go on to be the star that many thought she would.
7. Jim Caviezel
Jim Caviezel was a decently known actor in the late 1990s, but one role in particular put him on the map. Whether it was good or bad for his career is still up for debate. Caviezel starred as Jesus Christ in the 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ, which was directed by Mel Gibson. The R-rated recap of Jesus’ last days was financially successful, but caught a ton of flak for being controversial and overly violent. Even before filming, Caviezel was told by Gibson that he might get shunned from Hollywood thanks to this role. Turns out he was right. While he has had some small and recurring roles here and there, there is no doubt that his role as Jesus turned some people off from hiring him again.
6. Sondra Locke
This is a bit of an older example than others on this list, but there is no doubt Sonda Locke was blacklisted for quite a while. Locke made her film debut back in the late 1960s and was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in her very first role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. She went in to star in many other films over the next few years and was a talented director too. She was dating Clint Eastwood for a long time and when the couple went through a messy breakup in 1989, she found herself essentially blacklisted from many of the different studios in Hollywood. Most people believe that Eastwood used his considerable star power to leave her out in the cold. This lasted for about a decade and when she did finally return to regular work, her career was never able to get back to where it once was.
5. Charlie Sheen
In terms of public breakdowns, there are none greater than Charlie Sheen. Once a talented actor and one of the highest paid TV actors on the planet, Sheen is now mostly remembered for his drug induced and very public freak out a few years back — remember “#winning” and “tiger blood?” He lost his job on Two and a Half Men (which paid him almost $2 million per episode!) and was seen as a man who had clearly lost his marbles after decades of drinking and drugs. While he has worked a little bit since, most companies still want to avoid Sheen and his ridiculous antics like the plague. Sheen has no one to blame his blacklisting on other than himself.
4. Vince Vaughn
A little over a decade ago, Vaughn was one of the busiest and most successful actors in Hollywood. He starred in many classic comedies and was popular with fans for being a quick-witted and lovable guy. However, as of recently, he hasn’t been nearly as active in Hollywood. It seems like his prime as an actor has long since passed him by. His blacklisting has been more subtle and is mainly due to his own limited range as an actor and his political views. While there’s nothing wrong with being a conservative, when you publicly say that there should be guns in all schools to prevent mass shootings, that is something that studios might want to distance from. He has also proven to be unable to excel in any role that is a goofy comedy (probably co-staring with Owen Wilson), as seen by his awful season on HBO’s True Detective.
3. Stacey Dash
Stacey Dash is an actress and talk show host who rose to fame after her role in Clueless and on the Fox News show Outnumbered. Nowadays, however, she is mostly known for her very controversial views. Dash openly voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but sometime between 2008-2012 she made a radical shift and began to be very outspoken about her conservative views. Now, again, nothing wrong with being a conservative, but she was doing outrageous things like calling for the end of Black History Month (which got her fired from Fox). In 2016, she made controversial comments about transgendered people, putting her in more hot water with the often liberal Hollywood philosophies. These extreme beliefs and her inability to keep them to herself has likely been a reason why she doesn’t get big roles anymore.
2. Rose McGowan
While she hasn’t been an angel throughout her career (making some insensitive remarks at times) McGowan didn’t deserve to be blacklisted in the fashion she has been. McGowan is likely best known among her fans for her five-year long run on the TV series Charmed. After the events of 2017, though, many people now know her as one of the people who helped to out the disgusting acts of Harvey Weinstein. He allegedly sexually assaulted her in the late 1990s. While she didn’t press charges, they reportedly settled out of court. Since then, Weinstein has reportedly tried to blacklist her from Hollywood and bury the films she has been a part of. It’s definitely been a while since McGowan has been offered any sort of lead role in something big.
1. Katherine Heigl
Only a few years ago, Katherine Heigl was a leading lady and was highly sought after for a wide range of different roles. However, have you noticed she hasn’t been acting in any high-profile roles recently? Well, it’s no accident. Heigl is reportedly incredibly difficult to work with and is an absolute nightmare to deal with on set. Questioning scripts, refusing to leave her trailer, and ridiculous wardrobe are just some of the many complaints about her in Hollywood. Her many demands don’t help. All in all, her reputation has stopped her from getting many roles she may have been considered for.