John Cusack's Most Controversial Moments

To Generation X, John Cusack will forever be remembered as the sweet, hapless Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything, standing outside with that boombox, blasting Peter Gabriel, winning over the girl. But his reputation changed, however, and as of this writing, he's  anything but sweet. In fact, as of this writing, he seems to hew much closer to his complicated character from High Fidelity, Rob Gordon — a passionate, but flawed artist, who can't seem to stop himself from speaking his mind, even at the detriment to his personal and professional life. 

With Twitter and some seriously scathing print interviews as his preferred battleground, Cusack has become quite prickly as the years have gone by, and has stirred up quite a bit of debate. Ready to see where it all went askew for this darling of 80s and 90s cinema? Here are John Cusack's most controversial moments ever.

Wait, what did John Cusack say about 5G?

John Cusack spends a lot of time on Twitter, where his bio states he's an "apocalyptic s**t disturber." In April 2020, his latest "disturbance," if you will, involved dubious claims about 5G, the high-speed cellular data network. In the since-deleted tweets (via Geo News), Cusack wrote, "5 – G wil [sic] be proven to be very very bad for people's health. I got sources in scientific community – and medical." He continued, "Twittaverse many of you are thoughtful decent humans. Beyond the bots and trolls – many of you are just DUMB – just consumerist ignorant trash (sic)." 

According to CNN, at least one 5G conspiracy theory posits that there is "a supposed link between 5G and Covid-19," which has in no way been scientifically proven at this point. Media outlets took Cusack and other celebs to task for promoting the unfounded theory, with The New York Times even naming him in an article that highlighted instances of "arson and vandalism ... against wireless towers and other telecom gear" that occurred amid the spread of the 5G conspiracy theory. 

While his original tweets are gone, Cusack's self-defense, remains online: "For record : on Twitter i didn't connect 5G to coronavirus or ANY conspiracies abt spread of virus that have circulated," he tweeted, adding, "I 'm remain skeptical of 5G technology& question potential health risks including psychological health. Again -NEVER linked to conspiracy theories. Nyt." Maybe he should stick to tweeting about politics. 

John Cusack tried to say he got 'got' by 'a bot'

When have memes ever gotten anyone in trouble? Oh, right. In 2019, John Cusack shared a meme on Twitter, than quickly deleted it after catching heat — because when does that go wrong? The tweet, which was screengrabbed and widely re-shared, included an image of a Star of David with text: "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." To the image, Cusack added his own commentary: "Follow the money RT."

Critics took the meme to insinuate that Jewish people rule the world tyrannically via money, which is a notion that has a long, hateful history. As the Independent explained, "While the image claims the quote was from French satirist Voltaire, it was actually spoken by white nationalist Kevin Alfred Strom." Yikes. Cusack tried to talk his way out of it in other since-deleted tweets republished by the Daily Beastand — surprise! — that backfired, too. 

"A bot got me—I thought I was endorsing a pro Palestinian justice retweet—of an earlier post—it came I think from a different source—Shouldn't Have retweeted," he wrote. That might have been the end of it, but Cusack couldn't stop. "You think Israel isn't commuting atrocities against Palestinians? What planet are you on?" he continued. Oh boy. He got slammed by everyone from journalists like Yashar Ali and Yair Rosenberg to even Ted Cruz.

Is there a more controversial Twitter feed than John Cusack's?

As Twitter's self-described "apocalyptic s**t disturber," John Cusack's controversial tweets probably shouldn't come as a surprise. But the High Fidelity star jumped right into controversy ground zero in March 2019 when he tweeted, "Stop the presses I agree- !" in response to an article that quoted Senator Rand Paul as saying the government shouldn't force people to get vaccinations. (Important to note that as of this writing, Cusack is still not a doctor or scientist. Ahem.)

Cusack has also taken on cancel culture, tweeting that he's "not with" it, adding "people deserve to be heard – before people make final judgments on a human soul – of course in most extreme cases like Weinstein. Serial predators sure / Just me instinct." Uh, what? He also waded into the #MeToo debate, tweeting, "Serious question. No snark – doesn't #metoo and all those who calked (sic) for al Franken to resign – have a moral obligation to vett (sic) allegations against biden (sic)?"

The man's timeline is relentlessly problematic, and we quote examples forever, so here's just one more from April 2020, this time aimed at his frequent target, President Donald Trump: "So if u missed today's sewage explosion at the White House -Recap : baby man child Caligula (or Nero) Proclaims supreme executive power to force people to work in a pandemic that he ignored – politicized and denied while playing golf so he can get re elected." 

John Cusack is probably 'that guy' at Thanksgiving

John Cusack proudly wears his political affiliations on his sleeve. He's gone so far as to become a board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2012 in response to the WikiLeaks blockade (wherein people could not donate to WikiLeaks via MasterCard, Visa, or PayPal). Taking on the U.S. government (and big banks) in this way might scare some off, but not Cusack. He remained with the organization in 2014 when controversial figure Edward Snowden joined the board, and again stayed in 2016 when Snowden became the group's president. Snowden was the whistleblower who famously fled the U.S. after exposing NSA secrets — a move that the government considered a massive breach of national security. As of this writing, Snowden resides in exile in Russia. 

A lot of actors shy away from potentially controversial (or possibly even career-killing) associations like these, but Cusack clearly doesn't. His made his thoughts on Snowden crystal clear when he published his essay, "The Snowden Principle." In it, he wrote of Snowden's actions, "From the State's point of view, he's committed a crime. From his point of view, and the view of many others, he has sacrificed for the greater good because he knows people have the right to know what the government is doing in their name. And legal, or not, he saw what the government was doing as a crime against the people and our rights." 

Even Hollywood isn't immune to John Cusack's wrath

John Cusack clearly doesn't spend much time worrying about his opinions possibly hurting his acting career. However, he may have bit the hand that feeds him in 2014 thanks to an in-depth interview with The Guardian. Cusack mused to the outlet, "Why wouldn't you have contempt for the movie business? It sucks most of the time." Even more bluntly, he described Hollywood as "a w**rehouse" where "people go mad." And he wasn't finished there. "The culture just eats young actors up and spits them out," he said, adding, "For women it's brutal.... I have actress friends who are being put out to pasture at 29. They just want to open up another can of hot 22. It's becoming almost like kiddie porn. It's f**king weird."

Even if any part of what he said was grounded in truth, his delivery most likely rubbed casting directors and producers the wrong way. A quick glance at the once prolific actor's IMDb page shows a steady drop in the number of credits Cusack's had year-over-year, so it does beg the question of whether his outspokenness may be affecting the work he gets. 

Is John Cusack really a 'prima donna?'

Before he ever joined Twitter or joined forces with Edward Snowden, John Cusack was saddled with the notorious Hollywood label of "difficult." Paul Leyden, the writer of Cusack's 2012 film The Factory, leveled the accusation against Cusack by detailing the actor's alleged bad behavior on set. 

In a zinger-filled interview with The Daily Telegraph, Leyden, not unlike Cusack himself, didn't pull any punches. His opening salvo?  "John Cusack was one of my favourite actors until I met him." Ouch. He then accused Cusack of unprofessional behavior, saying he would often arrive on-set, "hours late," adding, "He cost us a lot of money and he was getting his biggest pay day on this film. ... [He] wouldn't apologise for keeping everyone waiting in the snow . . . a real prima donna." Leyden summed up his experience working with Cusack this way: "Everyone thought he was a really nice guy (prior to filming) and all I can say is that it was a really nice day when he wrapped."

Cusack, for his part, never commented on Leyden's accusations. The film itself was unquestionably a flop, going straight to video and only grossing around $30,000 against a reported budget of $25 million. One does have to wonder if the film's critical failure drove some of Leyden's animosity toward its star. As of this writing, we may never know for sure. But we're guessing those two won't work together again!

What happened between John Cusack and Jeremy Piven?

John Cusack started acting as a teenager. His first film credit was the movie Class, when he was just 16. He met actor Jeremy Piven when he was studying acting at the Piven Theatre Workshop, which was founded by Piven's parents, the theatre directors Joyce and Byrne Piven. The two were friends and co-stars for years; Piven played a sidekick to Cusack's characters in movies like Say Anything and Grosse Pointe Blank before his big break starring in HBO's Entourage. That friendship seemed to be decidedly over by 2007.

That year, Piven spoke with Best Life (via the Chicago Tribune), and seemingly accused Cusack of sour grapes. Of Cusack's alleged response to Piven's success, Piven said, "No comment. I mean, you could fill in the blank, I bet. ... It just says so much about a person if he has space for other people's success. I have always been so proud of my friends' success. ... You start getting into trouble in life when you start comparing and contrasting your life to anyone else's. You don't win when you do that."

As far as we can tell, Cusack's only response on the matter was this brief statement to People (via the Chicago Tribune): "It's quite the contrary. I am very happy for Jeremy. I wish him the best and I always have." For someone as outspoken as Cusack, you'd think he would have wanted to give a bit more clarity here, right? 

Don't ask John Cusack about marriage

John Cusack is a life-long bachelor. And his alleged dating history is a who's who of Hollywood actresses (although on a Howard Stern appearance in 2012, he denied dating many of them women he'd been rumored to, and would neither confirm nor deny many others). 

When asked by the press why he hasn't gotten married, in his usual style, Cusack has been pretty blunt. He gave an interview to Elle in 2009 and had lots to say about dating and relationships, including one statement that many of his exes may have taken as major shade: "Actors go out with actresses as a form of self-flagellation." Yikes. In the same interview, when asked why he's never married, he said, "Society doesn't tell me what to do."

A few years later, in the aforementioned Stern appearance, he seemed to have softened a bit, saying, "I'm sort of against divorce. I don't want to get divorced." The closest he likely ever came to marriage was with actress Neve Campbell, with whom he was on-again, off-again (and allegedly stormily so) for years. But as of this writing, Cusack is still unmarried.