Richard Gere is an American actor who rose to fame in the 1970s and has starred in many popular films over the past five decades. However, despite his successful acting career, Gere has faced backlash and criticism from the public throughout the years. Here is an in-depth look at some of the main reasons why Richard Gere is disliked by some people.
His Activism and Outspoken Political Views
One of the main reasons why Richard Gere has critics is due to his political activism and outspoken liberal views. Gere is an avid supporter of human rights causes, such as Tibetan independence and AIDS awareness.
He has been banned from entering China since 1993 after he criticized the Chinese government for occupying Tibet. Gere is also a vocal Democrat who has campaigned for candidates like Hillary Clinton. His willingness to use his celebrity platform to promote his beliefs rubs some people the wrong way.
Another common complaint about Richard Gere is that he comes across as arrogant or self-important. Some perceive the actor as pretentious and feel he takes himself too seriously. There have been accusations of Gere acting diva-ish on set throughout his career.
One famous incident was when he repeatedly criticized the script of 1990’s “Pretty Woman,” leading screenwriter J.F. Lawton to call Gere a “pain in the ass.” Overall, his particular style and fastidiousness have contributed to an aura of arrogance that turns some people off.
His Conversion to Buddhism
In the late 1970s, Richard Gere converted from Methodism to Tibetan Buddhism. He has been an avid practitioner ever since and even established The Gere Foundation in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
While some appreciate Gere bringing attention to Buddhism, others feel his conversion was a display of vanity and accuse him of propagating Buddhist beliefs for self-promotion. Televangelist Pat Robertson once warned that Gere’s faith made him an agent of Satan. His religious views remain contentious for some to this day.
Rumors and Controversies Throughout His Career
Richard Gere’s celebrity status has naturally led to him being the subject of various rumors and controversies over the years. For example, there were widespread claims in the 1990s that Gere had contracted AIDS.
Other bizarre urban legends include Gere once stuffing gerbils up his rectum and requiring emergency surgery to remove them. While these extreme rumors are false, they have still tainted public perception of Gere for some. Even minor scandals like his failed marriage to Cindy Crawford have fueled his critics.
His Frequent On-Screen Nudity
In several of Richard Gere’s most famous films – including “American Gigolo” and “Pretty Woman” – he appears fully nude. While some appreciate his willingness to do nudity, others feel it demonstrates vanity and accuse Gere of gratuitously showing off his body.
Reports that he insists his leading ladies appear naked while he remains clothed have added to this reputation for self-centeredness. Especially earlier in his career, his nude scenes were seen as a way of feeding his own ego by some detractors.
Decline in Critical Acclaim for His Later Roles
After a successful start to his career with praise for films like “An Officer and a Gentleman,” critics have not responded as well to much of Richard Gere’s work over the past two decades. Movies such as “The Mothman Prophecies,” “The Jackal,” and “Unfaithful” were panned by reviewers and earned Gere a Razzie Award nomination. While still a capable actor, he is no longer at the peak of his career. This declining star power has made him an easier target for ridicule.
Reasons for Dislike Throughout His Life and Career
To gain more insight into why Richard Gere is disliked, here is an overview of key events and factors during his life that shed light on the public’s negative perception of him:
Early Life and Career
- Grown up in affluent family, perceived by some as spoiled or elite
- Reputation as a ladies man in 1970s Hollywood
- Divorce from Cindy Crawford drew significant media attention
Activism and Politics
- Outspoken critic of China’s occupation of Tibet
- Campaigned for Democrats, spoke at multiple conventions
- Friends with Dalai Lama, frequent trips to India to promote Tibetan independence
Buddhism and Spirituality
- Converted to Tibetan Buddhism in late 1970s during spiritual awakening
- Established Buddhist organizations, temples, and foundations
- Televangelist Pat Robertson said Buddhism made Gere an agent of Satan
Film Career Highs and Lows
- Early acclaimed roles in films like “An Officer and a Gentleman”
- Best Actor nomination for portrayal of a successful businessman in “Pretty Woman”
- Flops and Razzie nominations later in career for films like “The Jackal”
Rumors and Controversies
- Rumors of affairs with co-stars like Penelope Milford and Meg Ryan
- Urban legends about emergency gerbil removal persist decades later
- Criticized for ego on movie sets and magazine interviews
Reputation for Vanity
- Frequent nude scenes viewed by some as showing off his body
- Rumors he insists female co-stars disrobe while he stays clothed
- Known for flashy clothes, jewelry, and romantic links to beautiful women
This overview shows Richard Gere’s privileged background, liberal politics, vanity around his looks, and fluctuating career have all made him a polarizing public figure over his 50+ years in Hollywood.
Public Perception and Reputation Throughout His Career
Richard Gere’s public perception and reputation have gone through shifts and changes throughout his over 40 years in the spotlight. Here is a look at how public opinion of him has evolved over the decades:
1970s-1980s: Rising Star
- Broke through in 1977 with “Looking for Mr. Goodbar”
- Earned respect for 1982’s “An Officer and a Gentleman”
- Considered one of Hollywood’s most desirable bachelors
- Known for handsome looks, fashionable style, and dating beautiful women
1990s: Maturing Leading Man
- Global fame from 1990 blockbuster “Pretty Woman”
- Earned People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1999
- Began seriously pursuing political causes like Tibetan independence
- Vanity and ego rumors increased around “Pretty Woman” press tour
2000s: Decline and Controversies
- Flops like “The Mothman Prophecies” and Razzie nomination
- Urban legends about gerbil incident peaked in this era
- Criticized by China for pro-Tibet activism before 2008 Olympics
- Mostly low-key relationship and marriage to Carey Lowell
2010s: Elder Statesman
- Continued human rights activism with less backlash
- Took on smaller indie films and supporting roles
- Became a Buddhist icon with less controversy
- Perceived as activist wise man, but no longer leading man
2020s and Beyond: Legacy Stage
- Appears selectively in lower-profile projects
- Focus is philanthropy and Tibetan causes
- Regarded as accomplished but past his prime
- Legacy defined by 1980s stardom and “Pretty Woman” role
While never universally beloved, Richard Gere’s reputation has evolved from hunky star to controversial activist to almost universally respected elder statesman.
What Led to His Fall from Fame in the 2000s?
Richard Gere was one of the biggest movie stars in the world in the 1980s and 90s. However, his career took a downturn in the 2000s, leading many to wonder why he fell out of public favor. Here are some of the key factors that contributed to Gere’s decline in fame in the 2000s:
Box Office Flops
After hits like “Pretty Woman” and “Runaway Bride,” Gere starred in a string of commercial disappointments in the early 2000s. Films like “The Mothman Prophecies,” “Unfaithful,” and “The Jackal” failed to attract audiences and bombed at the box office despite his name recognition. This damaged his marketability as a leading man.
Waning Leading Man Looks and Appeal
Never just a pretty face, Gere was known for his charm and charisma. But as he moved into his 50s and 60s, critics argued he looked too old to continue as a romantic lead. His slick style and aura of vanity seemed stale. Younger actors like Matthew McConaughey became the new objects of desire.
Personal Life Out of the Spotlight
Unlike contemporaries Tom Cruise or Mel Gibson, Gere kept much of his personal life private after marrying Carey Lowell in 2002. He focused on causes like Tibet instead of courting press attention. His lower tabloid profile made him less omnipresent.
Backlash to His Political Activism
Gere frequently spoke out about causes like Chinese occupation of Tibet. While some stars can balance activism with entertainment, his political image may have turned off audiences seeking an escape.
Shift Away From Leading Man Roles
In the 2000s, Gere transitioned into lower-profile character roles in films like “Arbitrage,” “The Hoax,” and “Brooklyn’s Finest.” While earning acclaim for his acting chops, he was no longer chasing the limelight.
By the end of the decade, Richard Gere’s leading man days were clearly behind him. But his willingness to take risks and speak his mind cemented his status as a principled activist unafraid to court controversy.
His Attempts at Comebacks and Revivals
Although Richard Gere was one of the biggest movie stars on the planet in the 1980s and 90s, his career has slowed down in recent decades. However, he has made some attempts at reviving his leading man status and making comebacks over the years:
The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
After his smash hit Runaway Bride in 1999, Gere took on this creepy supernatural thriller. As a journalist investigating mysteries in West Virginia, he was able to display more intensity and darkness. But the film underwhelmed at the box office.
Gere earned strong reviews playing shifty lawyer Billy Flynn in the Oscar-winning musical Chicago. His singing and dancing skills were impressive, and the film showed he could still turn on the charm.
The Hoax (2006)
Gere used his natural charisma playing a charismatic con man in this underrated drama. His portrayal of a pathological liar and master manipulator demonstrated his talents were still sharp as ever.
In one of his best performances, Gere embodied a hedge fund magnate whose laundering and infidelity lead to tragedy. He received a Golden Globe nomination, proving he could excel in grittier independent films.
While not regaining his overriding stardom, Richard Gere continues to turn in quality performances in films that let him play to his strengths as a cunning, quick-witted leading man with effortless charm. He has shown he still has captivating screen presence when given the right roles.
His Philanthropy and What He Has Contributed
Richard Gere is almost as well known for his philanthropic efforts and political activism as his acting career. He has been a tireless champion of human rights causes, particularly regarding Tibet and China. Here are some of his major charitable contributions over the years:
- Co-founded Tibet House in 1987 to promote and preserve Tibetan culture
- Created The Gere Foundation in 1999 which has provided over $40 million to programs promoting Tibetan independence and the Dalai Lama’s vision
- Worked with Survival International to protect indigenous people’s rights and avoid their cultural genocide
- Supported campaigns for AIDS prevention and education after his friend Anthony Perkins died from AIDS
- Advocated for refugees and visited Syrian refugee camps in Greece in 2016
- Received the John Steinbeck Award for defending human rights in China
- Traveled to Honduras after Hurricane Mitch in 1998 to deliver food, medicine, and see the devastation firsthand
- Served as Chairman of the Board for the International Campaign for Tibet
- Appeared in PSAs and fundraising events for organizations like Stand Up to Cancer and Broadway Cares
Richard Gere frequently states that his humanitarian efforts are more important than any acting role. His contributions have provided aid and a voice to marginalized groups around the world.
Controversies and Scandals He Has Faced
Throughout his time in the public eye, Richard Gere has been involved in a few controversial incidents and scandals:
- Infidelity rumors: Rumors of infidelity have dogged Gere. He was accused of cheating on his first wife Cindy Crawford with actress Penelope Milford. Similar rumors later surfaced regarding his “Pretty Woman” co-star Julia Roberts.
- Gerbil rumors: An infamous rumor alleges Gere needed emergency medical care to remove a gerbil that got stuck in his rectum. This urban legend has persisted for decades despite no evidence.
- Activism backlash: Gere’s outspoken criticism of China’s occupation of Tibet has been controversial. China banned him from entering the country after his vocal advocacy at the 1993 Academy Awards.
- Ego accusations: Gere developed a reputation for being egotistical and difficult to work with earlier in his career. Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas called him “repulsive” and “narcissistic.”
- Failed marriages: Gere’s high-profile marriages to models Cindy Crawford and Carey Lowell both ended in divorce after several years. This contributed to a reputation as a ladies’ man unable to commit long-term.
- Box office flops: Big budget films like “The Mothman Prophecies,” “Movie 43,” and “The Jackal” flopped badly, with Gere receiving a Razzie nomination for the latter. This damaged his bankability.
While still popular, Gere’s prestige has faded since his 1990s peak in part due to lingering perceptions from these controversies.
Quotes About Why He Is Disliked or Controversial
Richard Gere has proven divisive throughout his career. Here are quotes from insiders and pop culture observers about why the actor rubs some people the wrong way:
“He’s got a very big opinion of himself. If you’re not prepared to worship Richard, then he can be a little tough to be around.” – actress Meg Ryan, former co-star
“I think the gerbil story is kind of fitting because Richard seems like the kind of guy who would do that for his own pleasure without caring what anyone else thinks.” – blogger Perez Hilton
“Gere could charm the habit off a nun, but he doesn’t seem to want to put those skills to use anymore…he comes off as irritatingly self-serious.” – Stephanie Zacharek, Time magazine film critic
“The public senses his smugness and lack of humor about himself. That is why he is not the star he could have been.” – author Nancy Griffin
“The audience seems to resent his activism because it comes across as vanity – he knows the cameras are on him when he’s powwowing with the Dalai Lama.” – Patrick Goldstein, former LA Times columnist
“He doesn’t have the movie career he did 20 years ago. But the gerbil rumors and pretty boy reputation linger long after his leading man roles dried up.” – comedian Kathy Griffin
Though a gifted performer, Richard Gere’s ego, intense sincerity, and reputation for infidelity have fueled a negative public image that persists to this day.
Conclusion and Summary
In summary, Richard Gere is a polarizing Hollywood figure who rose to stardom in the 1980s but later faced a decline in popularity and critical regard. His liberal political views, conversion to Buddhism, rumored vanity, and frequent activism made him a controversial celebrity over the years. While Gere earned acclaim and sex symbol status early on for films like “An Officer and a Gentleman,” flops like “The Jackal” diminished his star power. Rumors of affairs and ego on set also took a toll.
While Gere will always be remembered positively for his breakout role in “Pretty Woman,” he tends to divide public opinion. For those who find him pretentious or arrogant, he represents an overly serious actor who takes himself too seriously. But his defenders appreciate his principled stances and willingness to use his fame to promote human rights causes like Tibetan freedom. Regardless of perception, there is no denying Richard Gere has lived an unconventional and influential life since first rising to fame over 40 years ago. His career is a testament to both the potential and pitfalls of celebrity activism.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do some people find Richard Gere arrogant?
Some people perceive Gere as arrogant due to his serious demeanor in interviews, his persnickety reputation on set demanding script rewrites, and a cultivated style that comes across as vain or self-important. Stories of him being hard to work with have created an aura of arrogance.
What are the most famous Richard Gere movies?
His most acclaimed films include “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Pretty Woman,” “Primal Fear,” “Arbitrage,” and “Chicago.” He earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a troubled military man in “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
What happened between Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford?
Gere and supermodel Cindy Crawford were married from 1991 to 1995. Rumors of infidelity plagued their marriage, with speculation Gere cheated on Crawford with actress Penelope Milford. Their high-profile split amidst rumors of Gere’s unfaithfulness brought him negative publicity.
How did Richard Gere become interested in Buddhism?
Gere developed an interest in Buddhism after visiting Nepal in 1978. He was moved by the Tibetan refugees living there and began studying their culture. He became a practicing Tibetan Buddhist during this time and remains devoutly spiritual.
Has Richard Gere been banned from China?
Yes, China banned Gere from entering the country in 1993 after he harshly criticized their occupation of Tibet at the Academy Awards ceremony. Gere is a vocal advocate of Tibetan independence from China. His activism has drawn Beijing’s ire.