Should Studios Be Able to Perform Background Checks on Actors?

By Michael Klazema on 3/24/2020

Even if film studios don’t order criminal history screenings or other formal employee background checks for their actors, most will consider an actor’s history before making a casting decision. Some actors earn a reputation for being difficult to work with, which can affect their ability to find roles in the future. In other cases, actors can damage or outright ruin their careers with statements or actions that turn the general public against them.

In recent years, the rise of the #MeToo movement has pushed film studios to be more accountable in casting actors, hiring directors, and working with individuals who have been the subject of serious allegations. Sexual abuse allegations have effectively ended the careers of once-beloved creatives such as Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, and Woody Allen.

Spacey was fired from the Netflix show House of Cards and recast and replaced in the film All the Money in the World after allegations against him emerged. He has not appeared in a film since 2018’s Billionaire Boys Club, which was complete before the allegations. While Spacey has not been convicted of a crime, the allegations against him have tarnished his public image and rendered him a perceived liability to movie studios, both as a potential deterrent to moviegoers and as a threatening presence on set.

At the same time, Hollywood has been known to offer redemption opportunities to certain actors who might have struggled to pass employee background checks or temporary worker background checks for a more traditional job role. A particularly famous example is Robert Downey Jr., who struggled with substance abuse issues throughout the early part of his career. In the 1990s, he was convicted on multiple drug charges and sent to prison for one year and three months. He has been clean since 2003, landed a career-making role in 2008’s Iron Man, and is now one of the wealthiest and most successful actors in the world. In 2015, the governor of California officially pardoned Downey for his felony convictions.


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • May 26

    As businesses reopen across the country, courthouses are resuming in-person operations. Here’s what you need to know about how the reopening process will impact background checks, particularly county criminal history searches.

  • May 21

    A new congressional resolution could reallocate 40,000 visas to bring foreign healthcare workers to the United States. Here’s what healthcare organizations should know about recruiting and hiring these individuals.

  • May 19 Making contact tracing a key part of its reopening strategy, New York will begin a massive wave of temporary hiring to tackle this unique logistical challenge.
  • May 14 With a large percentage of the workforce carrying out work duties from home, employers require new oversight options that balance productivity with privacy.
  • May 14 When employers conduct employee background checks, which data sources do they rely on for accurate and up-to-date findings?
  • May 13 A new app called “Health Hero Match” could help short-staffed hospitals find qualified healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis. While the app guides the matchmaking process, hospital systems shouldn’t forget the importance of thorough healthcare background checks.
  • May 11

    From hiring freezes to virtual interviews to slowed-down employee background checks, recruiting has shifted in significant ways since COVID-19 emerged in the United States.


  • May 11

    From hiring freezes to virtual interviews to slowed-down employee background checks, recruiting has shifted in significant ways since COVID-19 emerged in the United States.


  • May 07 Hiring during a pandemic is a significant challenge for healthcare organizations for several reasons. We explain some of these hurdles and the importance of healthcare background checks.
  • May 05

    Individuals who have had multiple legal names pose a challenge for employers conducting background checks. Here’s what to know about the alias background check option.