Biggest TV, Film and Celebrity Controversies of 2022 That Left Us Speechless

Biggest TV, Film and Celebrity Controversies of 2022 That Left Us Speechless

This year proved to be one full of surprising moments, particularly when it came to the world of entertainment.

There have been several controversial moments to take place over the course of the year, ones that shocked and amazed the general public.

From rumored feuds to celebrity court battles being available to watch in real time, here are some of the biggest moments of 2022.

Biggest TV, Film and Celebrity Controversies of 2022 That Left Us Speechless

Will Smith, Ezra Miller and Johnny Depp
In this composite image is Will Smith accepting the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for “King Richard” onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022, Ezra Miller attends TIME 100 Next 2019 at Pier 17 on November 14, 2019 in New York City, and Johnny Depp attends his defamation trial against Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 24, 2022. The three actors were at the center of celebrity controversies in 2022.
Robyn Beck/Craig Barritt/Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images For TIME

1. Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars

When the 2022 Oscars began on March 27, no one could have expected the way things would go. What is usually the biggest night of celebration in the showbiz industry ended on a sour note when Will Smith slapped host Chris Rock on stage.

Smith struck Rock after the comedian had made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. While introducing the nominees for Best Documentary, Rock had compared her look to G.I. Jane.

Smith also shouted at Rock twice that he should “keep my wife’s name out your f****** mouth” when he returned to his seat from the stage. When he collected his Oscar for Best Actor in King Richard several minutes later, Smith took the opportunity during his acceptance speech to apologize to his fellow nominees and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Since then, Smith resigned from the Academy, and in April, the Academy announced that the star would be banned from all of its events, both in person and virtually, for 10 years.

2. Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s Trial

In April, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial began. Depp had filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife in response to a 2018 op-ed she had written for The Washington Post, in which she said she was a domestic abuse survivor. She had not named Depp in the piece.

The trial took place from April 11 until June 1, 2022, and after evidence in the case was given, the jury found that Heard had defamed Depp and awarded him more than $10 million.

Heard had countersued Depp for $100 million, alleging that he had defamed her through comments made by his attorney Adam Waldman. Depp was ordered to pay $2 million to Heard at the end of the trial. Both Depp and Heard are now appealing the verdicts.

3. The Ellen DeGeneres Show Ends

This year also marked the end of The Ellen DeGeneres Show after 19 seasons, and almost 20 years on the air.

The show was brought to a close on May 26 with DeGeneres saying she wanted to look for a new challenge. The news came after a Buzzfeed article in July 2020 claimed the show had a “toxic workplace.”

When the show returned for its 18th season following these allegations, DeGeneres reacted to the report by saying in her opening monologue: “I learned that things happen here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter ahead of her final show, DeGeneres said: “There was a time a couple of months out where I was crying every day. I was really emotional, even though it was my choice, and it’s the right choice. I knew it was time to end this chapter and to do something different, but still it was really emotional.”

4. Ezra Miller’s Arrests

One actor whose name appeared in the news multiple times over the course of 2022 was Ezra Miller, who was arrested twice in Hawaii earlier this year, once for disorderly conduct and harassment and once for a second-degree assault.

Miller has also been charged with felony burglary in Stamford, Vermont. On October 17, the nonbinary actor pled not guilty and they could face 26 years in prison if convicted, according to a report from Deadline.

They have also been accused of abuse by women across Europe, including an incident in Iceland in 2020, an investigation into trespassing in Berlin which has since been dropped, and accusations of grooming by the parents of Tokota Iron Eyes who have also filed a restraining order against Miller.

5. The Wendy Williams Show Cancelation

Another daytime talk show that came to an unexpected end in 2022 was The Wendy Williams Show, which finished on June 17 after its thirteenth season.

Williams last hosted her show in July 2021, but was forced to step back to recover from numerous health problems. This followed breaks the star had to take from filming her show in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

While she was absent, Williams was replaced by a variety of guest stars, but the decision was made that the show’s slot would instead be taken over by Sherri, a new show hosted by Sherri Shepherd who frequently guest hosted The Wendy Williams Show.

6. The ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Rumored Drama

Don’t Worry Darling and its cast were surrounded by controversy in 2022. Even before the film had premiered at the Venice International Film Festival on September 6 there were rumors of backstage feuds between director Olivia Wilde and star Florence Pugh.

Reports claimed that Pugh opposed Wilde’s relationship with Harry Styles, the couple have since split up. On September 8, Wilde dismissed this “baseless” speculation about her and Pugh in Vanity Fair‘s October 2022 issue.

In the interview, Wilde said Pugh “did the job I hired her to do, and she did it exquisitely,” adding: “She blew me away. Every day I was in awe of her, and we worked very well together.

“The idea that I had five seconds in the day to be distracted by anything is laughable. I was there before everyone. I was there after everyone. And it was a dream. It’s not like this work was not enjoyable. It was just all-encompassing.”

Another controversy that arose came from a video that appeared to show Styles spitting on co-star Chris Pine at the Campari Passion for Film Award event at the Venice Film Festival. The video, dubbed “SpitGate” online, was called “ridiculous” by Pine’s people, and Styles’ representative has also denied the claims.

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