Harvey Keitel

Why Do People Hate Harvey Keitel?

Harvey Keitel is an acclaimed American actor known for roles in films like “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “The Piano.” However, despite his acting talent, Keitel has faced criticism and disliking from some people over the years. This article will explore the main reasons why people dislike Harvey Keitel.

Intense Acting Style

One reason why some people dislike Harvey Keitel is that he often plays unlikable, immoral, or even villainous characters. For example, in “Reservoir Dogs” he played Mr. White, a ruthless criminal. And in “Bad Lieutenant” he portrayed a corrupt, drug-addicted cop.

His tendency to play unsavory characters can make him unappealing to audiences. Some view his characters as promoting negative behavior or values. And his intense, brutal portrayals can simply be off-putting to some.

Aggressive Energy on Screen

In addition to his choice of roles, Keitel’s acting style itself also rubs some people the wrong way. He brings an aggressive energy and volatility to many of his characters.

For instance, some dislike his over-the-top violent outbursts in movies like “Reservoir Dogs.” And his menacing presence in films like “Mean Streets” disturbs others. They see his intense acting manner as threatening or even glorifying toxic masculinity.

Movie Unsavory Keitel Character
Reservoir Dogs Mr. White – Ruthless criminal
Bad Lieutenant Corrupt, drug-addicted cop
Mean Streets Volatile small-time gangster

Reputation and Controversies

Another reason Harvey Keitel rubs some people the wrong way is his reputation as a womanizer. He had high-profile relationships with many female celebrities over the years.

Some view him as a symbol of Hollywood misogyny – using his fame and influence to attract much younger women. Others saw his infidelity in long-term relationships as evidence that he objectified women.

Rightly or wrongly, this reputation as a womanizer has fueled a dislike of Keitel among certain audiences. They see him epitomizing the stereotype of the slimy Hollywood womanizer.

1990s Had an affair with actress Lorraine Bracco despite both being in long-term relationships
2010s Left his wife after over 30 years of marriage for a woman 33 years younger than him

History of Controversy and Scandal

Keitel has also faced scorn for controversial past incidents. For example, he caused outrage in the 1990s for leaving an expletive-laced, aggressively angry voicemail message for film critic Janet Maslin.

He also made news in 2010 when a former friend sued Keitel for allegedly assaulting him and leaving him with major injuries over a financial dispute.

While the details were complicated, these incidents painted Keitel in an unflattering light to some. Right or wrong, they cemented his reputation among detractors as having issues with anger and aggression.

Acting Skill and Screen Presence

Despite his acclaimed performances, some critics believe Harvey Keitel has a limited range as an actor. They see him as a one-note performer who basically plays variations of the same intense tough guy in most roles.

Detractors feel he lacks nuance and versatility. Even in more sympathetic roles like “The Piano,” they see him tapping into the same aggressive energy and raw presence. To them, he lacks the subtlety and transformation of an actor’s actor.

Overbearing Screen Presence

Finally, some dislike Harvey Keitel because they find his screen presence simply overbearing. Between his gritty characters and intense acting style, he exudes a dominating gravitas on screen.

To critics, Keitel’s strong presence throws scenes out of balance. He seems to overpower and upstage even talented co-stars. And he takes up outsized space in films that distracts from plot, theme or other characters. His screen magnetism is seen as disruptive instead of captivating by detractors.

Why do some people find Harvey Keitel’s screen presence overbearing?

Some critics believe Keitel has an overbearing screen presence due to the extreme gravitas he brings to his gritty, intense acting performances. His raw charisma and dominating energy are seen as distracting and upstaging co-stars or film themes for these critics.

What reputation has fueled dislike of Harvey Keitel over the years?

Harvey Keitel’s reputation as a womanizer – embodied by his past affairs, infidelity in long-term relationships, and leaving his wife for a much younger woman – has made him unappealing in some people’s eyes. Rightly or wrongly, it cemented his image to detractors as a stereotypical Hollywood misogynist.

Why has Keitel’s history of controversy and scandal bothered some people?

Incidents like leaving an angrily expletive voicemail for a film critic and being accused of assault have painted Keitel as having issues with anger/aggression in some people’s minds. Even if details were complicated, these controversies contributed to a dislike of him among certain audiences.


In summary, while a talented actor, Harvey Keitel has inspired dislike from some audiences due to factors like his intense acting approach, tendency towards unsavory roles, perceived womanizing/misogynistic reputation, history of controversy/scandal, and overbearing screen presence.

However, it is complex – others appreciate exactly these qualities in Keitel or see them as exaggerated.

Debates around celebrities often involve issues of reputation versus reality. Justified or not, these identified factors constitute the main reasons why Harvey Keitel has his critics and detractors amongst some segments of the public.


Does Harvey Keitel have range as an actor?

Views are mixed. Some critics call him a one-note actor just playing variations of the same intense tough guy. But others praise his transformative Performances and see him as exceptionally versatile.

What was the Janet Maslin voicemail controversy about?

In the 1990s, Keitel left film critic Janet Maslin a notoriously aggressive, expletive-laced voicemail furious over a negative review. It was seen as evidence of an anger problem by critics.

Has Keitel only played villains and criminals?

No – while best known for those unsavory roles, he’s also played more sympathetic characters in films like The Piano, The Grandfather, and Holy Smoke. But he does often still tap into his signature intensity in different contexts.

Why did Keitel’s friend sue him in 2010?

A former friend sued Keitel alleging he assaulted him and inflicted major injuries in a dispute over borrowed money. The case got settled privately so details remain hazy.

What long-term relationship did Keitel have infidelity issues in?

Keitel reportedly had affairs during his decades-long partnership with actress Lorraine Bracco in the 1990s, contributing to their eventual split. Critics saw this as evidence of his issues with women.

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