This is why people think it's terrible that Gary Oldman won an Oscar

Mimi Launder
Monday 05 March 2018 08:45
Celebrities
Picture:(Getty Images / Gabriel Olsen / Stringer; Twitter / @Femmefeministe )

The furious tide of #MeToo and Time's Up has swept up plenty of powerful men, burying careers and extinguishing names that had been up in lights for decades along the way.

But many believe that this apparent burst of progress hasn't gone far enough. The film industry continues to be accused of turning a blind eye to allegations of exploitation, assault and abuse perpetrated by influential men, particularly on women.

Gary Oldman – whose ex-wife Donya Fiorentino alleged he physically and mentally assaulted her during their marriage – won the award for Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his role as Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour.

In 2002, Fiorentino claimed in court documents that the actor beat her with a telephone during an argument. Oldman has always denied these allegations and the court gave Oldman sole custody of their two sons.

According to the New York Daily News, Fiorentino said:

As I picked up the phone to call the police, Gary put his hand on my neck and squeezed. I backed away, with the phone receiver in my hand. I tried to dial 911.

Gary grabbed the phone receiver from my hand, and hit me in the face with the telephone receiver three or four times. Both of the children were crying.

She spoke to the The Mail on Sunday about the allegations after Oldman was nominated, calling her marriage to the actor a "giant car crash".

Our marriage was a giant car crash in which demented things happened. I lost my self-esteem, I was broken.

He stole my children and ruined my life. The truth needs to be told. I would like Gary to stand up and take responsibility for his actions. Will he? Who knows? He has always denied everything.

Oldman told The Independent via a spokesperson:

I would prefer not to comment on this matter. It was a long time ago and I went through a thorough legal process who ruled on this sad and painful issue. 

Any further discussion is truly hurtful to me and my boys and I will not put them through this again.

Douglas Urbanski, Oldman's manager and producing partner, said the "assault never happened and charges were never filed", reports The Independent.

But still, people are furious that someone even accused of such abuse was even nominated for the Oscar.

Recent comments from an anonymous male Oscar voter confirmed what many already suspected: Academy Award voters may dismiss assault allegations against women as irrelevant.

In an article for The Hollywood Reporter, the voter wrote that he "didn't care" if Oldman had assaulted his ex-wife:

This one was easy: Gary Oldman was so good that I don’t care if he hit his wife with a telephone.

I hate when people use words like “transformative", but what they did to make him look like Churchill and what he did in that role can only be described as that. He blew it out of the water.

This debate continues after Oldman's Leading Actor Bafta win earlier this month.

People are also questioning Oldman's win given his history of morally dubious comments.

In 2014, Oldman was fiercely criticised after giving a Playboy interview where he defended Mel Gibson's notorious anti-semitic rant and lamented how men can't get away with politically incorrect jokes.

Oldman later apologised for his comment. In an open letter to the Anti-Defamation League, he wrote:

I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy interview were offensive to many Jewish people.

Upon reading my comments in print – I see how insensitive they may be, and how they may indeed contribute to the furtherance of a false stereotype.

Oldman is not the only Oscar frontrunner in recent years with accusations in his past. Last year's Best Actor winner Casey Affleck was sued by two women for repeated sexual harassment during filming in 2010 of the Affleck-directed film I'm Still Here.

This year, NBA star Kobe Bryant has been nominated in the best animated short category for his first film project, Dear Baskeball. This is despite a rape allegation. Bryant admitted to the sexual encounter, but denied the assault allegation. The case was dropped in 2004 and Bryant later settled a civil lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.

Bryony Walker, campaign director of feminist organisation Level Up, told indy100:

After the horrors of the Weinstein scandal triggered the uncovering of widespread abuse in Hollywood and industries beyond, we think that entertainment industry executives should be listening to the #timesup and #metoo movements. 

If Hollywood is serious about changing the industry, it needs to stop celebrating men who are abusive and violent. That means stop giving them jobs and presenting them with awards [in order] to bring about real change.

indy100 has contacted Gary Oldman's representatives for comment.

More: Men asked if they could still hug women after #MeToo and they’re being owned for it

Trending