Even stars aren't immune to the heartache and embarrassment that comes with getting fired from a job. Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at several actors and actresses who got the boot from major projects, starting with this frequent television host… In July 2020, ViacomCBS fired Nick Cannon over anti-Semitic remarks the entertainer — who's long hosted shows on Nickelodeon and MTV like "Wild 'N Out" and "Lip Sync Battle Shorties" — made on his "Cannon's Class" podcast. ViacomCBS said in a statement that Nick "promoted hateful speech and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories." Page Six reported that Nick, who initially didn't apologize, did not think his words were hateful because Black people are "true Hebrews." Nick later posted a demand for full ownership of "Wild 'N Out" as well as a statement claiming that ViacomCBS is "on the wrong side of history." The network giant said in a statement of its own that execs were "deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism." The entertainer finally did apologize, telling "my Jewish sisters and brothers" in a statement that he was sorry for "the hurtful and divisive words that came out of my mouth… They reinforced the worst stereotypes of a proud and magnificent people and I feel ashamed of the uninformed and naïve place that these words came from…" His willingness to walk back his comments and confirm he was educating himself saved his job as the host of "The Masked Singer" on another network, Fox. Now keep reading to get the scoop on more canned celebs…
On a September 2019 episode of First We Feast's "Hot Ones" YouTube series, Ashton Kutcher detailed how Orlando Bloom ended up replacing him in the role of Drew Baylor in Cameron Crowe's 2005 romantic dramedy "Elizabethtown." Said the "That '70s Show" alum, "Yeah, I'll say [I was] fired, sure." He then explained that the writer-director originally had his heart set on casting Orlando in the role, but the English actor was tied up shooting Ridley Scott's 2005 epic "Kingdom of Heaven" at the time and wasn't available. "So I went [to] audition, he cast me and then we started working on it. I think he wanted to see the character rehearsals all the way, and I probably wasn't disciplined enough as an actor to get myself to a point where I was able to do that and show it to him in a way that he felt comfortable," said Ashton, adding that he and the filmmaker ultimately came to the mutual conclusion that things weren't "working out." Coincidentally, right as Ashton left "Elizabethtown," Orlando became available to take over.
During a March 2019 appearance on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," Julianne Moore revealed that she got fired from the 2018 biopic "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" by the drama's original director, Nicole Holofcener, who also co-wrote the screenplay. "I didn't leave that movie; I was fired. Nicole fired me," she said. "I think she didn't like what I was doing [with the character]. … We'd just been kind of rehearsing and doing pre-production and stuff, and I think that her idea of where the character was was different than where my idea of the character was, and so she fired me." Julianne went on to say that she hasn't seen the movie yet "because it's still kind of painful." Added the actress, "It felt bad." Ultimately, the role went to Melissa McCarthy, who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance.
When Louis CK was accused of sexual misconduct in November 2017, the dominoes in his career empire quickly began to fall. The once-acclaimed comedian, who took accountability for his actions, was removed from a multitude of projects including "Better Things" and "The Secret Life of Pets 2" (Patton Oswalt took over the role of Jack Russell terrier Max in the animated film). FX, HBO and Netflix also all cut ties with him. He's since slowly started to return to the stand-up stage.
During a 2017 interview with Cosmopolitan UK, Megan Fox called getting fired from the "Transformers" franchise "absolutely the low point of my career." Director Michael Bay gave her the boot after she called him "a nightmare to work for" and said that he "wants to be like Hitler on his sets." He wrote her character out of 2011's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," replacing her with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's Carly. Megan previously starred in the first two installments in the blockbuster franchise: 2007's "Transformers" and 2009's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."
Netflix fired Kevin Spacey from the sixth and final season of "House of Cards" in late 2017 after he was publicly accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. The two-time Oscar winner, who executive produced the drama, won a Golden Globe and earned several Emmy nominations over the years for his work as ruthless politician Frank Underwood.
Eliza Dushku joined the CBS show "Bull" in 2017 but was fired after only appearing on three episodes. In December 2018, she revealed why, writing in an op-ed piece for the Boston Globe that she was let go because "I did not want to be harassed." Eliza — who ultimately reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement with the network after alleging that she'd endured on-set sexual harassment from "Bull" star Michael Weatherly — said that she was written off after confronting Michael about his behavior, which allegedly included comments about her appearance, inappropriate jokes and sexually charged remarks. "What is hardest to share is the way he made me feel for 10 to 12 hours per day for weeks," Eliza wrote. "This was classic workplace harassment that became workplace bullying. I was made to feel dread nearly all the time I was in his presence."
Netflix fired Danny Masterson from "The Ranch," on which he also served as an executive producer, after reports surfaced in late 2017 alleging that four women had accused him of rape during the early 2000s. "As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of 'The Ranch,'" the streaming service said in a December 2017 statement. "Yesterday was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him." In June 2020, Danny was arrested and charged with the rapes of three women. He maintains he's innocent.
Lori Loughlin was a fixture on the Hallmark Channel, but that all changed in March 2019. That month, news broke confirming she had been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud in a college admissions cheating scheme in which she and her husband allegedly spent $500,000 to guarantee their daughters' admission to the University of Southern California by pretending they were crew team recruits. Shortly after word got out, Crown Media, Hallmark's parent company, announced that it was cutting all ties with Lori, who was promptly written out of the drama series "When Calls the Heart," on which she'd starred for six seasons. Lori and her husband struck a deal with prosecutors that saw them pleading guilty in May 2020.
Jussie Smollett's fate on "Empire" was unknown in the immediate wake of his arrest for allegedly staging a hate crime against himself in January 2019. But the actor, who starred as Jamal Lyon on the popular FOX series, ultimately got the boot. In February, news broke revealing he'd been suspended and that his character would not appear in the final two episodes of Season 5. Though the charges against him were ultimately dropped, in April, Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV said in a joint statement that "by mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for Season 6, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to 'Empire.'" In other words, Jussie's run on the show was over. In May came the news that the sixth season would be the show's last.
Peter Jackson fired Ryan Gosling from 2009's "The Lovely Bones" after he gained 60 pounds to play grieving father Jack Salmon, a role that ultimately went to Mark Wahlberg. "We had a different idea of how the character should look," the Oscar-winning actor told The Hollywood Reporter in 2010, adding that he "really believed" the character "should be 210 pounds." The filmmaker apparently disagreed and gave Ryan the boot just days before production started in 2007. "We didn't talk very much during the pre-production process, which was the problem," the actor told THR. "It was a huge movie, and there's so many things to deal with, and he couldn't deal with the actors individually. I just showed up on set, and I had gotten it wrong. … Then I was fat and unemployed."
May 2019 was a rough month for Jenelle Evans. First, husband David Eason shot and killed their dog Nugget after the pup nipped at the couple's daughter. As backlash and concern grew, MTV dropped Jenelle from "Teen Mom 2" — on which she'd starred from the beginning. "I was upset, I'm still upset, but this is a new chapter for me and my family," Jenelle told Us Weekly at the time. "It's shocking still but I respect their decision and have nothing but love for MTV." Shortly after, it was reported that other reality TV shows were cautiously interested in working with the couple as long as David worked on his anger issues. But after Child Protective Services removed three of the couple's kids from the family home, those plans were seemingly put on the back burner.
After two seasons, he's out! Jason Mitchell was fired from the Showtime drama "The Chi" in May 2019 over allegations of inappropriate behavior. It's been reported that due to the serious nature of the claims against him, talent agency UTA dropped him as well. He was also fired from the Netflix movie "Desperados" in which he'd been cast as the lead, Deadline reported.
Peter Jackson strikes again! The Oscar-winning director fired Stuart Townsend from the role of Aragorn — which ultimately went to Viggo Mortenson — in "The Lord of the Rings." The Irish actor told Entertainment Weekly in 2002, "I was there rehearsing and training for two months, then was fired the day before filming began. … The director wanted me and then apparently thought better of it because he really wanted someone 20 years older than me and completely different."
ABC didn't just fire Roseanne Barr from the reboot of her eponymous sitcom in mid-2018 after she tweeted a racist comment about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. In addition to killing off her onscreen alter ego, the network also rebranded her show as "The Conners" and made sure that the controversial comedian couldn't benefit financially from the spinoff before moving forward with it — she's technically entitled to the characters because she created them. Ultimately, she gave up her stake in the spinoff so that her former co-workers could keep their jobs.
In early 2011, Warner Bros. fired Charlie Sheen from the hit sitcom "Two and a Half Men" following a series of bizarre headline-making incidents involving the four-time Emmy nominee — from publicly blasting showrunner Chuck Lorre to multiple rehab stints, a drug-related hospitalization, an assault arrest and more. The production company sent an 11-page letter to the actor's lawyer explaining that they gave him the boot because they had a "reasonable good faith opinion" that he "committed felony offenses involving moral turpitude" that "interfere[d] with his ability to fully and completely render all material services required" under his contract.
In 2013 — two years after he got the boot from "Two and a Half Men" — Charlie Sheen texted Selma Blair to tell her that he got her fired from the short-lived "Anger Management" TV series after he found out that she was complaining about his work ethic (or lack thereof) behind his back to crew members. Though there'd always been plans to eventually phase out her character from the show, that process was expedited after the troubled star gave producers of the FX sitcom an ultimatum: either fire the actress or he'd quit.
After portraying the title character in 2008's "The Incredible Hulk," Edward Norton got the boot from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In July 2010, Marvel Studios released a statement explaining why they decided to seek out another actor to bring Bruce Banner to life: "Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members. 'The Avengers' demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble. … We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks." Mark Ruffalo ultimately won the part.
Lisa Lampanelli told Us Weekly in May 2019 that she "got fired off 'Despicable Me 3' as the voice of Valerie, and Jenny Slate got the job." Said the retired stand-up comedian, "Joke's on her — I got paid anyway! She had to do the work. I love you, Jenny! Thank you for earning me some money! Isn't that amazing?" Lisa didn't specify why she got the boot from the 2017 cartoon.
Suzanne Somers got evicted from "Three's Company" after five seasons on the hit sitcom when she asked for equal pay to match what co-star John Ritter was making. "Being fired from 'Three's Company' took [a lot of] work from me … to not be angry," she told Yahoo Entertainment in 2018. "I was fired from the No. 1 show at the height of my success, and I couldn't get a job in television. … I couldn't get an interview, I was considered trouble."
After a whopping 12 seasons on "Criminal Minds," Thomas Gibson got the boot following an alleged physical altercation with a writer on set — the writer claimed that the actor kicked him in the leg during a creative dispute. "There were creative differences on the set and a disagreement. I regret that it occurred. We all want to work together as a team to make the best show possible. We always have and always will," Thomas told TMZ. But ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios had other things in mind.
Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly — Michael J. Fox's most iconic role — in 1985's "Back to the Future." But a few weeks into shooting the sci-fi comedy, director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale realized that the young method actor, who was known for his work in dramatic films, wasn't bringing the right comedic energy to the part. They replaced him with the "Family Ties" star, and the rest is history!
Lisa Bonet shot into the spotlight starring as Denise Huxtable on "The Cosby Show." But after the first three seasons, she was pushed out of the family sitcom and moved onto "A Different World," which Bill Cosby also created. (When David Letterman asked her during a 1986 interview why she'd want to leave the hit series, she replied, "They told me to?") After just one season on the spinoff, Cosby had her character return to the original show, from which he soon fired her over "creative differences." The rumor mill has long maintained that her racy role in 1987's "Angel Heart," a topless photo shoot for a 1987 issue of Interview magazine and her 1988 pregnancy with daughter Zoe Kravitz were really to blame.
Clayne Crawford got the boot from the "Lethal Weapon" TV series in mid-2018 following a string of bad behavior, including a highly publicized on-set blowup. (Co-star Damon Wayans Jr. later accused him of assault and emotional abuse.) Though the police procedural continued for another season without him, FOX ultimately canceled it in early 2019.
Shonda Rhimes gave Isaiah Washington the boot from "Grey's Anatomy" in 2007 after he used a homophobic slur on set and then repeated the word during a backstage interview at the Golden Globes. "After the incident at the Golden Globes, everything just fell apart. I lost everything," he told HuffPost Live in 2013.
During her 2015 Lifetime special, Tori Spelling admitted that she played a role in getting Shannen Doherty fired from "Beverly Hills, 90210" following the fourth season of the teen soap, which her father, Aaron Spelling, executive produced. According to Tori, after Shannen, who had a reputation for being difficult to work with, got into "a fistfight" with co-star Jennie Garth, Tori told her dad that Shannen had to go. "I felt like I was a part of something, a movement, that cost someone their livelihood," Tori said in 2015, adding that ultimately, she believes it was the right thing to do "as a co-worker."
Fans were outraged when CBS fired Erinn Hayes — who portrayed Donna Gable, the title character's wife — between the first and second seasons of "Kevin Can Wait." The writers unceremoniously killed off her onscreen alter ego, paving the way for Season 1 guest star Leah Remini to take over as the female lead on the second season of the sitcom, which failed to score a third season renewal.
Janet Hubert lost the role of Aunt Viv on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" after three seasons due to her strained relationship with Will Smith. (The part went to Daphne Maxwell Reid.) "I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be 'The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air' show because I know she is going to dog me in the press," the A-list actor said during a radio interview at the time. "She has basically gone from a quarter of a million dollars a year to nothing. She's mad now, but she's been mad all along. She said once, 'I've been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.' No matter what, to her, I'm just the Antichrist."