10+ Actors Who Regret Their Problematic Roles

Actors take on many different roles during their careers.

While some of the roles they on are a winner — resulting in critical acclaim or a huge fan base — others are, well, problematic. This largely includes roles that involve whitewashing and blackface.

Here are 10+ actors who regret their controversial roles (and have since apologized).

1. Gwyneth Paltrow - *Shallow Hal*

The early 2000s film, starring the actress and Jack Black, has been labeled as "fatphobic." In it, Paltrow wears a fat suit to portray a 300-pound woman.

In a 2020 interview with her assistant, she called the movie "a disaster."

2. Emma Stone - *Aloha*

The actress was accused of whitewashing when she, a white female, played a character who is of Chinese and Hawaiian descent.

She ended up yelling out "I'm sorry!" when Sandra Oh addressed it at the 2019 Golden Globes.

3. Jenny Slate - *Big Mouth*

In 2020, the actress decided to stop voicing a biracial character on the Netflix show.

"Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people," she wrote on Instagram, adding that accepting the role was an example of "white privilege."

4. Rooney Mara - *Pan*

When Mara played Tiger Lily in Pan, she was accused of whitewashing the role. Soon, a petition to cancelr it began circulating online.

"I don’t ever want to be on that side of it again," she told The Telegaph. "I can understand why people were upset and frustrated.”

5. Jimmy Kimmel - impersonating Karl Malone in sketches

If you wondered why the late-night talk show host disappeared over summer 2020, this is why.

An old clip of him performing in blackface to impersonate NBA player Karl Malone began trending. He's since apologized.

6. Jimmy Fallon - impersonating Chris Rock on *SNL*

Much like Jimmy Kimmel, an old clip of the late-night talk show host wearing blackface came back to haunt him.

"I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable," he wrote on Twitter.

7. Rebecca Hall - *Vicky Cristina Barcelona*

Ever since director Woody Allen was accused of sexual assault, many actors and actresses have expressed regret about working with him.

This includes Hall who both apologized to Woody's ex, Mia Farrow, and even pledged to donate part of her salary from the film to Time's Up legal defense fund.

8. Zoe Saldana - *Nina*

The actress deeply regrets playing the role of the legendary Black singer Nina Simone. Mainly in part because she had to wear dark makeup.

"I should have done everything in my power to cast a Black woman to play an exceptionally perfect Black woman," she said on Instagram live in 2020.

9. Scarlett Johansson - *Ghost in the Shell*

She was accused of "whitewashing" when she played the lead — a role that critics said was meant for a Japanese actress.

She recently owned up to her "inconsiderate" actions during an interview with the Gentlewoman

10. Hank Azaria - *The Simpsons*

You may have noticed the absence of the Indian character, Apu, on the show. This stems from Hank's portrayal being considered offensive and stereotypical.

"It just didn’t feel right," Hank told the New York Times.

11. Scarlett Johannson - *Rub & Tug*

Similar to Ghost in the Shell, Scarlett faced major backlash when she was cast in a transgender role in the film. She soon dropped out of the film.

"I felt terribly about it," Johansson told Vanity Fair. "To feel like you’re kind of tone-deaf to something is not a good feeling.”

12. Anne Hathaway - *The Witches*

Since special effects were used to give her character three fingers on each hand, an advocacy group claimed that the filmmakers used limb differences "to make her more creepy and sinister."

Anne ended up addressing those who were offended on Instagram.

"I have recently learned that many people with limb differences, especially children, are in pain because of the portrayal of the Grand High Witch in The Witches..." she wrote.

"As someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty, I owe you all an apology for the pain caused. I am sorry," she continued.

13. Kristen Bell - *Central Park*

For many of the same reasons as Jenny Slate, the white actress stepped down from voicing a biracial character.

"Playing Molly in Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege," Bell tweeted. "Casting a mixed-race character [with] a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed-race and Black American experience."

14. Alison Brie - *Bojack Horseman*

"In hindsight, I wish that I didn't voice the character of Diane Nguyen," the actress wrote on Instagram. On the show, the white actress voiced a Vietnamese American character.

"I now understand that people of color should always voice people of color."

15. Julianne Moore - *The Kids Are All Right*

She played a lesbian character in the Oscar-nominated film. But upon reflection, the role doesn't sit right.

"I look back and go, 'Ouch. Wow.' I don’t know that we would do that today," she told Variety.

16. Mahershala Ali - *Green Book*

While the movie was critically acclaimed, it was also criticized for having a "white savior" narrative.

A lot of this could have been avoided if Ali or the filmmakers had consulted with the family of the man that the movie is based on.

Those family members found their uncle's portrayal to be "jarring" and "a symphony of lies."

Realizing this, Ali reached out to personally apologize to the family.

"I was not aware that there were close relatives with whom I could have consulted," Ali disclosed.

17. Jake Gyllenhaal - *Prince of Persia*

Judging by the film's title, it's obvious why many wondered why the lead role didn't go to an actor of Iranian descent.

"I think I learned a lot from that movie in that I spend a lot of time trying to be very thoughtful about the roles that I pick and why I’m picking them," he told Yahoo.