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16 Actors Who Walked Away Or Were Forced To Leave Due To Drama With The Network Or Crew

In 2016, Thomas Gibson was fired from his longtime role on Criminal Minds because he got into a physical altercation with a writer/producer on set. He was reportedly known to be volatile on set and got into an altercation with an assistant director six years earlier.

Sometimes, actors get fired because of tension between them and their costars. Other times, however, they butt heads with someone else behind-the-scenes.

Here are 16 actors who quit or got fired because of drama with the director, writers, and other crew:

1. In 2009, Megan Fox was fired from Transformers: Dark of the Moon after telling Wonderland magazine that director Michael Bay is "like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad man reputation." She also called him "a nightmare to work for."

Closeup of Megan Fox

In 2011, Michael told GQ, "Steven [Spielberg] said, 'Fire her right now.' ... I wasn't hurt, because I know that's just Megan. Megan loves to get a response. And she does it in kind of the wrong way. I'm sorry, Megan. I'm sorry I made you work 12 hours. I'm sorry that I'm making you show up on time. Movies are not always warm and fuzzy."

In 2017, Megan told Cosmopolitan UK, "That was absolutely the low point of my career. But without — 'that thing,' I wouldn't have learned as quickly as I did. All I had to do was apologize — and I refused. I was so self-righteous at 23, I couldn't see [that] it was for the greater good. I really thought I was Joan of Arc."

She was replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

2. In 2011, CBS fired Charlie Sheen — the then-highest paid TV actor — from Two and a Half Men because of his "dangerously self-destructive conduct" as well as comments he'd made to producers, such as calling series co-creator/producer Chuck Lorre a "stupid, stupid little man" and a "clown."

Screenshot from "Two and a Half Men"

In a statement, Charlie said, "It is a big day of gladness at the Sober Valley Lodge because now I can take all of the bazillions, never have to look at whatshiscock again, and I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension."

His character was killed off off-screen, and he was replaced by Ashton Kutcher for the final four seasons.

He later expressed regret over his behavior, telling Fox News Sunday, "There was 55 different ways for me to handle that situation, and I chose number 56. And so, you know, I think the growth for me post-meltdown or melt forward or melt somewhere — however you want to label it — it has to start with absolute ownership of my role in all of it. And it was desperately juvenile...I think it was drugs or the residual effects of drugs...and it was also an ocean of stress and a volcano of disdain. It was all self-generated, you know."

3. In a 2021 Twitter post, Charisma Carpenter alleged that, after learning she was pregnant, Angel creator Joss Whedon called her into a private meeting and asked if she "was going to keep it." She said, "He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me the following season once I gave birth." She also alleged that, when she was pregnant, he called her "fat" to other coworkers.

Charisma Carpenter

In 2022, Joss responded to her allegations, telling New York, "I was not mannerly... Most of my experiences with Charisma were delightful and charming. She struggled sometimes with her lines, but nobody could hit a punch line harder than her." He also said he was "bewildered" by her allegations and denied calling her "fat."

4. In 2003, Chadwick Boseman guest-starred on All My Children. However, after only a week, he was fired because he went to producers with his concerns that certain aspects of the role were too stereotypical.

Chadwick Boseman on "All My Children"

He told the Wrap, "I remember going home and thinking, 'Do I say something to them about this? Do I just do it?' And I couldn't just do it. I had to voice my opinions and put my stamp on it. And the good thing about it was, it changed it a little bit for [the next actor]."

He was replaced by Michael B. Jordan.

5. Christopher Eccleston left the rebooted Doctor Who after Season 1 because his "relationship with the showrunner [Russell T. Davies] and the producer [Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson] broke down."

Christopher Eccleston on "Doctor Who"

At New York Comic Con 2019, he said, "[I left because of] the politics of the show. I left only because of those three individuals and the way they were running the show. I loved playing the character, and I loved the world... I felt, 'I'm gonna play the Doctor my way, and I'm not gonna get involved in these politics,' and that wasn't workable, so off I went…and became the invisible man."

He also said, "I learned about the politics, and I learned that I don't necessarily…if somebody asks me to kiss their ass, I bite it. That's what I learned about myself."

6. In 2016, Thomas Gibson was fired from his longtime role on Criminal Minds because he got into a physical altercation with writer/producer Virgil Williams on set. He was reportedly known to be volatile on set and got into an altercation with an assistant director six years earlier.

Thomas Gibson

He told People, "We were shooting a scene late one night when I went to Virgil and told him there was a line that I thought contradicted an earlier line. He said, 'Sorry, it's necessary, and I absolutely have to have it.'... He came into that room [where I was telling my costars about it] and started coming toward me. As he brushed past me, my foot came up and tapped him on the leg. If I hadn't moved, he would have run into me. We had some choice words, for which I apologized the next day, and that was it. It was over. We shot the scene, I went home — and I never got to go back."

7. On the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gates McFadden "had been in conflict with one of the male writer-producers about certain things [she] thought were sexist." She was fired after Season 1.

Gates McFadden

She told SBS, "What I've heard is that he said, 'Either she goes or I go.' I was shocked that they let me go, because I knew my character was really popular. But he was going to be writing more and more and didn't want to have to deal with me. What was great was they got rid of him and asked me to come back."

She was replaced by Diana Muldaur in Season 2, but she returned for Seasons 3–7.

8. In 2017, Daniel Dae Kim sought pay parity with his Hawaii Five-O costars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan, but CBS reportedly would only go as high as 10%–15% lower than their salaries. So, he left the show.

Daniel Dae Kim

In 2021, he told Vulture that pay difference between them had been "significant."

He said, "[I wanted to] make us all equal. Make us all the ensemble that I thought we always were, and get me back to where I was with Lost. And I didn't think that was an unreasonable position to take. And the thing is, it wasn't a source of conflict for me. It was very clear and simple. I was very transparent about it with my castmates, with my showrunner, with the studio from the start. It became much more dramatic because of the way that it didn't come together."

He also said, "The way things got spun by the end changed my relationships with [my former castmates]."

9. Grace Park also left Hawaii Five-O after CBS reportedly refused to pay her as much as her white costars were getting paid.

Grace Park in "Hawaii Five-0"

At the time, Peter M. Lenkov, the executive producer, said in a Twitter statement, "The truth is this: Both actors chose not to extend their contracts. CBS was extremely generous and proactive in their renegotiation talks. So much so, the actors were getting unprecedented raises, but in the end they chose to move on...After being away from her family for seven years, I understood Grace's decision to leave..."

In 2018, she told Entertainment Weekly that she called Peter after seeing his post. She said, "I let him know, 'That wasn't cool that you made a statement on my behalf.'… I know he did it to be helpful, and I care about Peter as a person, but I didn't leave for that reason."

She also said, "There were a number of factors spanning the show that affected the non-renewal of my contract. I'm grateful for the lessons learned, but I chose what was best for my integrity."

10. On Three's Company, Suzanne Somers tried to negotiate a raise because "all the men were being paid 10 to 15 times more than [her]." However, she "was fired for asking, essentially."

Screenshot from "Three's Company"

In order to keep getting paid while she was trying to negotiate a better deal, she was required to make occasional appearances on the show.

She told Yahoo, "They used me to be able to perpetuate the fact that Suzanne Somers was still on the show while they were trying out other girls. I don't know how much money they lost when they broke up that chemistry, but I think it was in the billions. I hear it all the time to this day: 'I never watched again when you weren't there.'"

She was replaced by Jenilee Harrison, who played her character's cousin.

11. After AMC fired The Walking Dead's original showrunner, Frank Darabont, actor Jeffrey DeMunn asked for his character to be killed off out of loyalty.

DeMunn on "The Walking Dead"

He told Cleveland.com, "Dale's death was my decision. I was furious about how Frank was pushed out of the show. I spent a week not being able to take a full breath. And then I realized, 'Oh, I can quit.' So I called them and said, 'It's a zombie show. Kill me. I don't want to do this anymore.' It was an immense relief to me."

12. Mischa Barton had a hard time filming The O.C. after production starting doubling up shooting on episodes in Season 2. When producers gave her the option to either leave the door open for her character to return or to be killed off, she opted to have her killed off in the Season 3 finale because she "felt like [leaving for good] was the best thing for [her] and [her] health and just in terms of not really feeling protected by [her] cast and crew at that point."

Closeup of Mischa Barton

She told Entertainment Weekly, "I didn't know where the character was going. I look back on it pretty fondly, but there's stuff I think people did wrong and the way they handled it. So, I just didn't feel I could keep going."

She also alleged that she experienced "sort of general bullying from some of the men on set that kind of felt really shitty."

13. John Amos's Good Times character was reportedly killed off in Season 3 because he criticized the way the show's non-Black writers wrote their Black characters.

John Amos

He told Sway in the Morning, "They’d go on about their credits and the rest of that, and I'd look at each and every one of them and say, 'Well, how long have you been Black? That just doesn't happen in the community. We don't think that way. We don't act that way. We don't let our children do that' ... I left because I was told that my services were no longer needed because I had become a 'disruptive element.'"

14. In 1982, Cindy Williams left Laverne & Shirley because, when it was time for her to sign her contract for the final season, the network had her scheduled to work on her due date. They refused to accommodate her pregnancy in the schedule.

Screenshot from "Laverne & Shirley"

She told Today, "I said, 'You know, I can't sign this.' And it went back and forth and back and forth, and it just never got worked out."

So, the show finished with just Laverne (Penny Marshall).

15. Partway through Season 3, John Rhys-Davies left Sliders because he argued with the writers over the scripts, which he felt were "incomprehensible gibberish."

John Rhys-Davies

He told Digital Spy, "It's hard to rewrite on the hoof when you've got a network that wants you to say the words in the script. I would go to [the writers] and complain. But they would say, 'John, why don't you just say the words as written?' and I'd say, 'I'll tell you what, I will actually say the words as written when you can actually write intelligent sentences!'"

However, he also said that he regretted it "deeply" and called the show "the single biggest missed opportunity of [his] life."

16. And finally, in 2008, Katherine Heigl withdrew herself from Emmys consideration for Grey's Anatomy because she "did not feel [she] was given the material…to warrant a nomination." It was reportedly viewed as a "swipe at producers for diminishing her presence on the series." In 2010, she reached a mutual decision with ABC to leave the show.

Screenshot from "Grey's Anatomy"

Before leaving the show, she also publicly spoke about working long hours, telling The Late Show with David Letterman in 2009, "Our first day back was Wednesday. It was — I'm going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them — a 17-hour day, which I think is cruel and mean." 

At the time Katherine left, she was also experiencing a lot of anxiety.

In 2022, she told SiriusXM host Bevy Smith, "I look back at it, and sometimes I go, 'God, I wish I had just calmed down a moment. Taken a breath, thought it through, had some conversations about this possibility. What about this possibility? How about if I do, you know, just this many episodes a season?' ... I think with Grey's at that time, I didn't feel I had any other choice [but to leave]. I was breaking, it was breaking me, and I was young."