Actor Gary Oldman is the latest in a string of Hollywood stars to come under fire in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, after his ex-wife Donya Fiorentino alleged that Oldman was abusive while they were married back in 2001.
According to an archived report from the New York Daily News, Fiorentino accused Oldman of spending tens of thousands of dollars on prostitutes, drugs and drinking before they were married. In the article, Fiorentino claimed that Oldman beat her with a telephone in front of their two young children, an accusation that Oldman denied.
With the #MeToo movement still in full force, Oldman’s controversial past came back under scrutiny when users took to Twitter to express their disgust at Oldman winning a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for his performance as Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour. Oldman is also known for his roles as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series, and George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Donya Fiorentino, Oldman’s Ex-Wife, Accused him of Beating her in Front of their Kids in 2001
According to the New York Daily News, Fiorentino alleged that Oldman assaulted her with a telephone on May 19, 2001 in front of their young children, Gulliver and Charlie. The children were four and two at the time of the alleged assault.
Fiorentino claimed that Oldman began choking her when she tried to dial 911. “I backed away, with the phone receiver in my hand,” Fiorentino told the Daily News. “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.”
Oldman, who was previously married to Uma Thurman before Fiorentino, claimed that Fiorentino was a drug addict and dismissed Fiorentino’s statement as “replete with lies, innuendoes and half-truths,” according to the Daily News.
Fiorentino was a recovering addict herself, Oldman added. And in the actor’s statement, he claimed Fiorentino overdosed months earlier and was found by her daughter “unconscious and barely breathing.”
Oldman said he met Fiorentino at a Beverly Hills meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1996, where she claimed that she was sober.
“Donya represented to me that she was sober,” Oldman said. “I had been sober for years and committed to being sober.”
Oldman was eventually granted sole custody of their two children. His manager and producing partner, Douglas Urbanski, said the “assault never happened and charges were never filed,” according to the Independent.
Oldman declined to comment to The Independent via his spokesperson. He said: “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.”
2. Fiorentino Spoke about her Marriage for the First Time After Being Emboldened by the #MeToo Movement
According to a recent interview with The Daily Mail, Fiorentino claimed Oldman is a great actor but a terrible husband.
“Our marriage was a giant car crash in which demented things happened,” Fiorentino told the Daily Mail. “I lost my self-esteem. I was broken.”
Fiorentino told the Daily Mail that she felt inspired to speak up about the incident again because of the #MeToo movement, a hashtag used on social media to help demonstrate the widespread issue of sexual assault and harassment.
“I’ve been empowered by hearing other women speak up,” Fiorentino told the Mail. “When a woman gets her voice back, she gets her power back.”
Fiorentino also accused Oldman of spending tens of thousands of dollars on prostitutes, drugs and drinking before they were married, according to the court papers, reports the Daily News. Discussing the early days of their relationship, she said: “I think it’s fair to say we were not the most stable people in the room. I had never met someone so fragile, so emotionally vulnerable. He was charming and I thought I could fix him. We fell in love… too quickly. We didn’t know each other. We’d married strangers,” reports the Daily Mail.
Oldman responded by calling her a ‘fantastist’ who tore apart their marriage because she was addicted to pills and alcohol and an unfit mother, according to the Daily Mail.
3. Oldman has a Controversial History of Making Light of Abuse and Racism
Although the judge sided with Oldman in the domestic abuse case with Fiorentino, he has a history of making light of abuse when it pertains to other men.
In an interview with Playboy in 2014, Oldman let loose an expletive-laden rant about how men like Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin can’t get away with politically incorrect jokes, while people like Jon Stewart and Bill Mahers can.
Over the course of the interview, Oldman defended Gibson for his infamous anti-Semitic tirade, claiming that Hollywood had become too politically correct, and declared that the reason 12 Years a Slave won the Oscar for Best Picture was that people were afraid that if they didn’t vote for it, they would be considered racist.
“Well, if I called Nancy Pelosi a c**t—and I’ll go one better, a f***ing useless c**t—I can’t really say that,” he told Playboy. “But Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can, and nobody’s going to stop them from working because of it. Bill Maher could call someone a f*g and get away with it. He said to Seth MacFarlane this year, ‘I thought you were going to do the Oscars again. Instead they got a lesbian.’ He can say something like that. Is that more or less offensive than Alec Baldwin saying to someone in the street, ‘You f**?’ I don’t get it.”
Baldwin was accused of calling a paparazzi a “c**ksucking f*g” in 2013, after the paparazzi arrived outside the actor’s apartment following the ruling in the case against his stalker, Genevieve Sabouri.
Oldman went on to defend Mel Gibson, who declared in 2006 while being arrested that “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” as well as telling his then-partner Oksana Grigorieva that he hopes she gets “raped by a pack of n**gers.” Gibson later apologized for his remarks, but Oldman went on to defend Gibson, saying that he was outcast because he spoke his mind.
“We’re all f***ing hypocrites,” he added. “That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested him has never used the word ‘n**ger’ or ‘that f***ing Jew?’” Oldman went on to validate his comments, stating that he was frustrated with dishonesty and double standards, and that he knew he sounded like a bigot but stood by what he said.
Oldman later apologized for his comments on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
4. Oldman’s Was Slammed on Twitter after Winning Screen Actors Guild Award in January
With Hollywood stars such as Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein being blacklisted left and right for allegations of sexual assault and abuse, the #MeToo and the #TimesUp movements are still surging across social media.
Oldman is currently an Oscar favorite for best actor in this year’s 2018 Oscars after his performance as Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour. In January, Oldman also took home best actor for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, spurring a frenzy of Twitter fury at his nomination after users brought up his past domestic abuse accusations.
Outraged social media users were quick to bring up Oldman’s 2001 accusations of domestic abuse against his ex-wife almost immediately after his January nomination.
Other controversial stars who were considered for Oscar’s but accused of sexual transgression include James Franco, who was a major contender for his portrayal of Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist, but was accused of sexual misconduct by five women after he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, bumping his name off the Oscar nominations list.
Traditionally, the previous year’s Best Actor presents the Oscar to the current year’s Best Actor — but Casey Affleck was sued twice for sexual harassment in 2010, and withdrew from his presentation duties at the end of January and announced through a representative that he would not be attending this year’s Oscars, according to Variety.
5. Oldman Overcame an Abusive Dad and Alcoholism before Nomination for Best Actor
Oldman was abandoned by his violent father, when he was seven, leaving the family with no money and a history of alcoholism, reports The Sun.
Despite his father’s absence, his influence was prevalent when it came to alcohol abuse. Oldman told The Sun that he had seen his father died at age 62 from liver failure in 1986.
“I have alcoholism, so it’s hereditary,” Oldman told The Sun. “I saw him briefly once or twice in that period before he died, so I have an image of him as someone old who was dying. I don’t like remembering that.”
Once Oldman got sober, he wrote the film Nil By Mouth, based on his childhood in New Cross, South London, The Sun reports. The 1997 drama starred Ray Winstone as the abusive husband of Valerie, played by Kathy Burke.
Oldman told The Sun that “a lot of this film is my father. He hit my mum with a steel-capped boot and tried to drown her. I had to leave a lot of things out of the film because they were too horrendous. People wouldn’t have believed it.”
His mother Kathleen, who he calls “a remarkable bird,” raised Gary and his sister single-handedly, and the lad dreamed of a bright future, reports the Sun.
After landing a few of his earlier Hollywood roles in the early nineties, Oldman celebrated his success by partying hard with starts like Kiefer Sutherland, who was with Oldman when he received a drunk driving charge in 1991, reports The Sun.
Oldman was also charged with drunk driving in 1991, after his blood alcohol content registered over twice the California limit for legal intoxication. According to the Sun, after landing a few of his earlier Hollywood roles, he was out celebrating with Kiefer Sutherland, who was with Oldman when he received the charge.