Let's get one thing out of the way right now: Gary Oldman is a great actor. He was heartbreaking in the Dark Knight movies, delightful in the Harry Potter films, and wonderfully terrifying/goofy in The Fifth Element.
Too bad we've just learned he's a terrible human being. In a no-holds-barred interview with Playboy, the award-winning star ripped into "liberal Hollywood" and defended resident d-bags Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin with fiendish glee.
Is he wrong to decry the difficulty of being a conservative in a very liberal town? No. He has every right to hold conservative beliefs, and sure, it would be hard to constantly have those ideas challenged. But this is hardly just a rant about hypocrisy in L.A. It's a misogynistic, racist, homophobic tirade that does zero favors to conservatives in Hollywood—plenty of whom, I'm willing to bet, would not be quick to board Oldman's hate train.
Here's Oldman on Hollywood hypocrisy:
Well, if I called Nancy Pelosi a cunt—and I’ll go one better, a fucking useless cunt—I can’t really say that. But Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can, and nobody’s going to stop them from working because of it.
Let's make this very clear: It is not OK for any man—liberal, conservative, libertarian, Green Party—to call any woman a "fucking useless cunt." Yes, the female community has attempted to reclaim this word, but its long and complex history includes many current uses steeped in degradation, to the extent that a study of curse words by the BBC found it to be the most offensive word to the majority of people (and, duh, in particular to women).
Furthermore, neither Jon Stewart nor Bill Maher have ever called any woman a "fucking useless cunt," and I guarantee you if they did, there would be a justifiable outcry. Also, they are satirists who use comedy to attack hateful language—which is actually precisely the opposite of perpetuating said hateful language.
Here's Oldman on Mel Gibson's anti-Semitism:
Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews, and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him—and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough. He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know?
I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things. We’re all fucking hypocrites. That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested him has never used the word nigger or that fucking Jew?
Ah, where to begin? Let's start here: People in Hollywood don't denounce anti-Semitism because they're worried it'll piss off rich Jews. They denounce anti-Semitism because it's racist and morally depraved. Also, no Gary Oldman, we do not live in a world in which everyone casually says "nigger" or "that fucking Jew." If this is the world you inhabit daily, we are seriously frightened, and you are in dire need of a new social circle.
But wait there's more! The LGBTQ community has not been shat on yet, and for Oldman, that just won't do:
Alec [Baldwin] calling someone an F-A-G in the street while he’s pissed off coming out of his building because they won’t leave him alone. I don’t blame him. So they persecute.
No again, sir. "F-A-G" is a homophobic slur that is not an acceptable substitute for "person I do not like." Baldwin was not the one "persecuted" by his actions; the LGBTQ community was.
All of this disturbing vitriol puts us in a bit of a bind. How can we reconcile enjoying Oldman's acting while detesting all he stands for and believes? Yes, a person's work deserves to be appreciated on its own merits, but it will be undoubtedly difficult to watch Oldman on screen without thinking of him mercilessly bashing Jews, gays and women . . . all while raking in millions from movie-going Jews, gays and women.
Image: Wikimedia Commons