Gary Oldman won his first-ever Golden Globe on Sunday night, snagging the prize for Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the film “Darkest Hour.” He accepted the award while dressed in all black and wearing a “Time’s Up” pin as symbols of protest against sexual harassment and gender inequality.
But some viewers were quick to point out that Oldman has been accused of domestic abuse, and many blasted the Globes for honoring the actor.
Oldman’s ex-wife Donya Fiorentino said in 2001 that the actor had attacked her in front of their children.
“As I picked up the phone to call the police, Gary put his hand on my neck and squeezed,” she said of the alleged incident, according to the New York Daily News. “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.”
Oldman denied the allegations, and was awarded sole custody of the couple’s two children after a custody battle. The actor’s manager told The Washington Post in November that the assault “never happened and charges were never filed.”
Also in November, Daily Beast writer Ira Madison wrote a piece about Oldman’s “dark past,” describing problematic comments the actor had made.
In a 2014 Playboy interview, for example, Oldman defended Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic comments and Alec Baldwin using a homophobic slur. He also used a sexist slur to refer to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“If I called Nancy Pelosi a c**t ― and I’ll go one better, a fucking useless c**t — 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,” Oldman told the magazine. “Bill Maher could call someone a fag 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 fag?’ I don’t get it.”
“We’re all fucking hypocrites,” he later added. “That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested [Gibson] has never used the word n****r or that fucking Jew? I’m being brutally honest here. It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy.”
When he accepted his Golden Globe on Sunday, Oldman talked about how desperately the world needs to undergo “change.”
“It was great that words and actions could change the world ― and boy, oh boy, could it use some change [now],” the actor said while praising Churchill and his ability to inspire a nation with his words.
Madison argued in his piece that real change in Hollywood can only occur when men like Oldman are taken to task for their behavior.
“It’s not just that Oldman makes excuses for bad behavior in Hollywood; it’s that he’s been accused of engaging in bad behavior himself and called others hypocritical for being offended,” he wrote. “At some point, change will mean addressing all of Hollywood’s ghosts — not just the ones who are cartoonishly monstrous like [Harvey] Weinstein and [Kevin] Spacey.”