They say fame is fickle, and these celebrities experienced firsthand the harsh reality of being blacklisted from Hollywood. From career-derailing controversies to professional fallout, these stars found themselves on the outside looking in, their once-prominent careers overshadowed by the industry’s reluctance to work with them.
In 2008, rumors circulated that Katherine Heigl’s role on “Grey’s Anatomy” was significantly reduced due to her reputation for being “difficult” on set, illustrating the interconnected nature of Hollywood’s small-town dynamics. Consequently, Heigl’s mental health suffered as creative professionals in the industry declined opportunities to collaborate with her. However, she has since made a comeback, with the release of two television series in 2022.
Despite his two Oscars, immense wealth, and the admiration of his peers and global audience, Kevin Spacey found himself embroiled in scandal when actor Anthony Rapp accused him of sexual assault, dating back to when Rapp was underage. The allegations led to Spacey’s swift dismissal from the TV series “House of Cards,” which continued without him in its final season, receiving mixed reviews from critics and fans.
The revival of Roseanne Barr’s sitcom “Roseanne” in 2018 was seen as a positive step, providing representation for women of a certain age who are often overlooked in Hollywood. However, the unfortunate parallel between fiction and reality emerged when Barr posted a racially offensive tweet directed at Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to Barack Obama. Consequently, Barr was fired from the show, leading to its re-imagining as “The Conners,” with the fictional character of Roseanne written out of the storyline. Since then, Barr has not pursued any acting roles.
Mel Gibson risked $30 million of his own money to produce the controversial film “The Passion of the Christ” in 2004. The movie garnered both praise and criticism, but Gibson’s reputation took a major blow in 2006 when he was arrested for driving under the influence, accompanied by offensive remarks about the Jewish community. Despite the incident, Gibson eventually made a comeback in the film industry after addressing his issues.
In a surprising turn of events, Mo’Nique won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2010 for her powerful performance in “Precious” alongside Gabourey Sidibe. However, contrary to the typical trajectory of Oscar winners, Mo’Nique asserts that instead of receiving increased pay and numerous acting opportunities, she experienced the opposite.
The downfall of “America’s Dad” Bill Cosby was swift and drastic. After comedian Hannibal Buress brought attention to the allegations against Cosby in 2014, numerous women came forward with claims of drugging and sexual assault. Despite his once-popular show, Cosby was imprisoned in 2018 and, although released, it is highly unlikely he will have a career resurgence.
Gina Carano, a former MMA fighter and actress who portrayed Cara Dune in “The Mandalorian,” received significant backlash for her inappropriate comparison on social media, equating being a Republican in Hollywood to being Jewish in Nazi Germany. As a consequence, she was fired from the show by Lucasfilm. Although Carano continues to pursue acting, her reputation has been significantly damaged.
Remember “Showgirls”? The notorious film that flopped in 1995? Well, Elizabeth Berkley, known for her role in “Saved by the Bell,” took a daring leap with her portrayal of Nomi, an aspiring Vegas dancer. Unfortunately, the film’s failure was thought to have hindered Berkley’s prospects for significant roles. Nevertheless, a “Saved by the Bell” reunion in recent years demonstrates the public’s short memory.
Isaiah Washington, known for his significant role on “Grey’s Anatomy,” followed in the footsteps of Roseanne Barr when he made unfortunate homophobic remarks during the 2007 Golden Globe Awards. This led to the termination of his contract on the medical drama, and Washington has since reflected that the incident essentially ended his acting career.
After gaining attention for her supporting role in the 1995 teen rom-com “Clueless,” Stacey Dash faced a notorious moment at the Oscars where she engaged in a strange exchange with Chris Rock, expressing offense at the notion of not being “Black enough.” While Dash’s conservative beliefs are her own, it was her public opposition to Black History Month in 2016 that led the entertainment industry to distance itself from her.
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