Clint Eastwood has had a successful showbiz career spanning over six decades, which has included dozens of on-screen credits, five Oscar wins (including the coveted Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1995), and a well-respected production company, Malpaso, which has produced most of his blockbusters. The acclaimed actor-director was even the mayor of Carmel, Calif. in the late ’80s (no big deal). Oh, and he has a reported $375 million to his name. Basically, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences once succinctly proclaimed, Eastwood is easily “one of the film industry’s most respected actors and directors.”
For all of this multi-talent’s accomplishments, however, Eastwood has also stirred up plenty of controversy … particularly among his peers in Tinseltown. Fueled by his penchant to say whatever is on his mind, the Hollywood legend has regularly made headlines for the wrong reasons. Need an example? Eastwood once engaged in a politically-charged feud with Spike Lee: when Lee criticized the lack of representation in the casts of Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, Eastwood publicly told him to “shut his face.” In this case, however, tensions between the duo have since cooled.
It’s no big surprise, then, that this movie star has made some high-profile enemies along the way. These are the celebs who (openly) can’t stand Clint Eastwood.
Did Clint Eastwood threaten to kill Michael Moore?
It all started with a single tweet in January 2015, when Michael Moore proclaimed that “snipers aren’t heroes,” revealing that his uncle had been killed by one during World War II. Given the timing of the tweet, many thought the documentary filmmaker was taking a dig at Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper film. While Moore wrote on Facebook that he wasn’t, he did go on to offer his actual opinion on the flick, praising some aspects (including Bradley Cooper’s performance) before throwing shade at Eastwood. “Too bad Clint gets Vietnam and Iraq confused in his storytelling,” he quipped. “And that he has his characters calling Iraqis ‘savages’ throughout the film.”
Rumors then began recirculating that, back in 2005, Eastwood had threatened Moore’s life — leading Moore to return to Facebook to clarify things. “Clint Eastwood stood in front of the National Board of Review awards dinner and announced to me and to the crowd that he would ‘kill’ me if I ever came to his house with my camera for an interview,” Moore recalled. Despite being “a bit stunned” by what he called “such a violent statement,” Moore initially laughed it off. “Clint, though, didn’t seem to like all that laughter,” he continued. “‘I mean it,’ he barked, and the audience grew more quiet. ‘I’ll shoot you.'”
During an appearance at CinemaCon that April, Eastwood claimed the story wasn’t true (via The Guardian), but, um, jokingly added, “It isn’t a bad idea.” Yikes.
Flea is a proud member of the generation Clint Eastwood hates
Clint Eastwood is clearly no stranger to speaking his mind, no matter what controversy may ensue. In August 2016, he infamously opened up to Esquire about his dislike of political correctness — and appeared to praise then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s divisive approach to politics in the process.
“He’s onto something, because secretly everybody’s getting tired of political correctness, kissing up,” Eastwood told the outlet, before unleashing: “That’s the kiss-a** generation we’re in right now. We’re really in a p***y generation. Everybody’s walking on eggshells. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist.” When asked to better explain who exactly falls into said generation, the actor-director added, “All these people that say, ‘Oh, you can’t do that, and you can’t do this, and you can’t say that.’ I guess it’s just the times.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, for one, was not having it. Wasting no time, the musician took to Twitter to respond, while taking aim at Eastwood and proudly picking a side. In a since-deleted tweet, Flea slammed (via Billboard), “Hey Clint Eastwood count me in as a p***y as we aspire to evolve above racism.”
Sondra Locke blamed Clint Eastwood for derailing her career
Sondra Locke was a budding actress who had a promising start, earning an Oscar nom for her performance in 1968’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. She later met Clint Eastwood, and, as the Irish Times put it, their “toxic relationship” would sadly define her career.
According to the Independent, they first co-starred in 1976’s The Outlaw Josey Wales, hit it off, moved in together (all while Eastwood technically remained married to Maggie Johnson until 1984), and made five more films together. But as Locke told The Washington Post in 1997, “If you were in Clint Eastwood movies, you were in the Clint Eastwood movie business. You weren’t in the movie business … People stopped calling.” She added, “He didn’t make me famous. It was never my fame — it was his fame.”
When Locke voiced her desire to branch out and direct, she said it was “the beginning of the end.” After 13 years together, Eastwood reportedly changed the locks on their house while she was out; Locke sued for palimony and Eastwood argued she was just his “occasional roommate;” they settled out of court once Locke was promised a directing deal with Warner Bros. … which turned out to be fake. The studio rejected 30 of her scripts, Locke sued for fraud before settling out of court, and her acting-directing prospects completely fizzled. “My biggest misfortune, my greatest regret,” she said, “is that I wish I’d cut my time with Clint in half.”
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