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Is Actor Steven Seagal the Biggest Jerk in Hollywood?

Updated on May 26, 2016

What’s the Deal With This Tough Guy?

Back in the early 1990s Steven Seagal was one of the top box office attractions in Hollywood movies. In the ilk of such cinematic butt-kickers as Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme, Seagal was a martial arts action figure who seemed as tough off the scene as on it. But Seagal’s star has faded in recent years. His films no longer make mega bucks, nearly all of them relegated to DTR (direct-to-video). Now he has to make money by fronting shows on cable TV and playing guitar in a rock band.

What happened to Steven Seagal’s acting career? Well, for one thing, Seagal’s name now appears synonymous with the words jerk, bully or a-hole. Do any of these unflattering labels fit Steven Seagal?

Steven Seagal has a black belt in aikido. With his muscular, six-foot-five frame and good looks, he became an action-adventure leading man in the late 1980s, beginning with Above the Law in 1988. Seagal’s most successful film has been Under Siege (1992), which really kicked tail at the box office.

But Seagal’s movie career began sinking in the middle 1990s, as audiences already seemed bored with his limited acting ability and take-no-crap, on-screen persona. It seemed probable that Steven Seagal was just another Hollywood tough guy whose career would quickly fade like that of a professional boxer who meets his match and gets pummeled on national TV.

And Seagal wasn't helping his reputation by being outspoken and intimidating in interviews. He was also quick to criticize others, which doesn’t win friends and influence people. Seagal seemed joined at the hip with other hard guys such as Jose Canseco. It’s difficult to like such edgy fellows.

Then, seemingly, Seagal really amped up his boorish behavior:

Seagal Drives Tank into Arizona Home

Seagal in the raid
Seagal in the raid

In January 2011, near Phoenix, Arizona, Steven Seagal, an animal rights advocate, took part in the police raid of a man suspected of raising roosters used in illegal cock fights. While filming a segment for his reality show, Steven Seagal: Lawman, and clad in battle fatigues and driving in a SWAT tank, Seagal and sheriff deputies raided the home of Jesus Llovera. Setting off explosives to “distract” Llovera, the deputies also smashed a fence and broke out windows in Llovera’s home. During the bust, Llovera’s 11-month-old puppy was killed (perhaps shot) and some 100 roosters were also dispatched without quarter.

Did Seagal have anything to do with the carnage? He claimed he didn’t. At any rate, was Seagal a jerk for being there in the first place? Hey, reality shows need, uh, reality!

Nevertheless, Steven Seagal, an animal rights proponent, seemed at least partially responsible for killing one puppy dog and 100 roosters!

Sued for Sexual Harassment

Segal and Putin are pals
Segal and Putin are pals

In April 2010, Kayden Nguyen, a twenty-something ex-model, was hired by Seagal as an “executive assistant.” Nguyen quickly learned that the job had few if any duties other than giving Seagal massages and letting him feel her up when he wanted. Allegedly Seagal had also hired two Russian women for the purpose of providing sexual favors 24/7. But when Nguyen wouldn’t perform her “duties,” she was fired.

Nguyen later sued Seagal and his production company, Steamroller Productions, for one million dollars, charging sexual harassment, human trafficking, wrongful dismissal and other charges. Seagal’s attorney released a statement saying the charges were ridiculous and that Nguyen was fired for using “illegal narcotics.”

In July 2010, Nguyen dropped the lawsuit without explanation.

Seagal Hosts on SNL

There have been many bad hosts on Saturday Night Live, but perhaps the worst of all time is Steven Seagal; in fact, Seagal made the list of the Top Ten Dubious SNL Hosts. According to the book, Live From New York by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller, back in 1991 when Seagal hosted the show, cast member David Spade said it was the first time he heard talk about replacing the host and doing a cast show.

Julia Sweeney said: “When we pitched our ideas for Seagal at our Monday meeting, he gave us some of his own sketch ideas. And some of his sketch ideas were so heinous, but so hilariously awful, it was like we were on Candid Camera.

“He had this idea that he’s a therapist and he wanted Victoria Jackson to be his patient who’s just been raped. And the therapist says, ‘You’re going to have to come to me twice a week for like three years,’ because, he said, ‘that’s how therapists freaking are. They’re just trying to get your money.’ And then he says that the psychiatrist tries to have sex with her.”

Tim Meadows said:The biggest problem with Steven Seagal was that he would complain about jokes that he didn’t get, so it was like – you can’t explain something to somebody in German if they don’t speak German. He just wasn’t funny and he was very critical of the cast and the writing staff. He didn’t realize that you can’t tell somebody they’re stupid on Wednesday and expect them to continue writing for you on Saturday.”

John Leguizamo Slams Seagal

On various radio and TV shows such as Access Hollywood, John Leguizamo has vented steam about former cast member Steven Seagal. Leguizamo claims that while on the set of the movie, Executive Decision (1996), Seagal bullied him. John Leguizamo said:

He was supposed to be the master sergeant and I was right underneath him, his boy. We came to the first day of rehearsals, and he goes, “I’m in command,” and we laughed. I thought he was kidding. Who talks like that? He comes at me and elbows me . . . against a brick wall and knocks all the air out of me and I’m like ‘why’? I wanted to say how big and fat he is and how he runs like a girl, but I couldn’t because I didn’t have enough air.

Leguizamo continues to fire away at Seagal in his comedy routines, and supposedly, Seagal can’t wait to kick his butt.

Steven Seagal Wanted to “See” Jenny McCarthy

Per a Movieline interview in 1998, actress Jenny McCarthy, often seen on TV shows such as Two and a Half Men, claimed that while auditioning alone with Seagal for a part in the movie, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), Seagal told her to take off her dress.

McCarthy said there were no nude scenes for her part in the movie - she had the script right there with her and wouldn’t have tried out for the part even if it required a nude scene - so she refused to take off her dress.

McCarthy, a former Playboy Playmate of the Year, finally told Seagal that if he wanted to see her nude, he should rent her Playboy video, and then she promptly left the audition.

Seagal claimed such an audition never took place.

Steven Seagal Plays Guitar in Ukraine

In August 2014, at a concert promoted by the biker gang Night Wolves, Steven Seagal played guitar at a concert in Sevastopol, Ukraine, a country beset by civil war. During this protracted conflict, Russia has expressed the desire to annex Crimea, a move many Europeans and the United States opposes. During the concert Seagal told the crowd: "No man has the right to condemn another man for believing what he believes in."

Oh yeah, Steven? Nobody has the right to condemn points of view that may include the advocacy of sexual slavery, human trafficking, child molestation or the use of poison gas in warfare? Although Seagal expressed no strong feelings pro or con regarding combatants in the civil war in Ukraine, he seems to think his appearance there will have a positive effect.

At any rate, Steven played blues guitar and sang a little. But is he good or what?


Well, what kind of person is Steven Seagal? If the aforementioned allegations or complaints have any basis in fact, then perhaps Steven Seagal really is a jerk, bully or a-hole. At any rate, the public will have to decide, not the author of this article.

Please leave a comment.

And cast a vote . . .

Is actor Steven Seagal the biggest jerk in Hollywood?

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    • kara 2 months ago

      there are many people in Hollywood that are total idiots, and fans get bored with them fast. So it is really matter of opinion of what one thinks of a person I would not say that Steven is an idiot. I can think of many more stars and singers that fit that bill

    • GaryS 5 months ago

      At the peak of his popularity, he was eing called a jerk by people who worked with him.

      One of the countless times he was being his jerk self, Gene LaBell choked him out (Seagal had claimed no one could choke him out).

    • Trevor 5 months ago

      Look up the Steven Seagal shoe tying story on reddit. Funniest thing I've ever read.

    • Stuart dicolla 23 months ago

      Steven Steagall once gave me a rabbit's foot and said I was lucky to have met him. The pompous git!

    • james barrick 2 years ago

      The man is a legion. The skills he possess is that of a god. If only to have the chance to train and learn what he knows would would complete what life i have left. I would give any thing to have his skill. If you see this mr. Seagal, i would do any and all things to be as great . I hope to hear a response. I live ine pa. Come find me. I would also like to be great.

    • RJP 2 years ago

      I'd never heard of him well the name sure but I only researched because my dad seems to distain him and after reading this even if a half of it's true - he's certainly up in the ranks of Hollywood jerk.

    • Jim 2 years ago

      One of my good friends and his wife sat at a dinner table with Seagal and his then wife, at some big event in LA, years ago, and his only comment after meeting and talking with him was that he was a JERK !

    • Robert Beal 2 years ago

      Catch Snortin Steve on:


    • Bill 3 years ago

      He pretends to be a cop. I have a friend that is a fan of his for some reason. He saw lawman and laughed, because he said he does a few direct to DVD movies per year. So the whole lawman show was a publicity ploy. If you watch any of those episodes. The cops sometimes seem starstruck. Like they are just meeting him for the first time. Also, the show had him as a deputy in Louisiana not Arizona.

      It kinda reminds me of Elvis. They gave him a badge and he thought he was a cop. He spoke out against drugs. Yet like Michael Jackson had doctors write scripts for Dilaudid and cocaine for sore throats. If you don't believe me. Look it up. He was given speed in the military and moved on from there. Sad that the government thinks weed is more dangerous then coke.

    • Bob 3 years ago

      I heard he went on a black ops raid and killed people in Amman.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 3 years ago from California

      Thanks for the comment, phildazz. I'm glad you're trying to be fair with your treatment of Seagal. Anyway, this article is not simply based on what people think of Seagal. To a certain extent at least, his actions were described with - I hope - some degree of accuracy. Later!

    • phildazz profile image

      Allan Philip 3 years ago from Toronto

      I didn't vote cause I usually judge someone's actions and not what's said about the person. However, I did wonder why he fell from grace and your Hub comes with some pretty good insight.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 4 years ago from California

      Thanks for the comment, GuitarGear. Every occupation has its share of jerks. As for rock guitarists, Ted Nugent and Gene Simmons are not the most likeable guys around. Later!

    • GuitarGear profile image

      Walter Holokai 4 years ago from Youngstown, Ohio

      I think Seagal is a big "Galoot". I didn't vote because it's hard to crown the "Biggest Jerk" since there are so many of them in Hollywood. He may not be the king of the jerks but is definitely jerk royalty. Ha, ha. I can't believe the way people give movie stars credibility off screen just because they (Not including Seagal) have some acting skills and are good looking. In the world of movie stars the lights are extremely bright but the intellectual residence are curiously absent.

    • kaveh 5 years ago

      i think steven seagal is really an extraordinary guy. for me one thing is obvious. hollywood is mafia. most actors in hollywood like george clooney, brad pitt,decaprio,johnny depp,meryl streep,and so on became big just due to capitalism. all of them are stupid.if even steven seagal doesn't be a big actor but he is one the most biggest martial arts and i personally think the very early fimls of seagal were very meaningful with political contents like above the law, hard to kill and some other but i accept that steven's films in almost 2000 until now have no any excitement like his early the end i found steven is a great guy,a big martial art, and a real humanitarian. most actors in hollywood are nothing but unfortunately mediums make them idol that of course they are not indeed.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the comment, J Red Horse. Few people seem to like Steven Seagal. And you say he has bad breath - OMG! He really is a creep. Hahahahahahahahahahaha! Later!

    • J Red Horse profile image

      J Red Horse 5 years ago from The beautiful wilderness of the White Mountain of N.H.

      First off Matthew McConaughey is a gaint ass, can't stand his movies, well except his role in Reign of fire as the Dragon was pretty funny.

      As for Seagal, I've personally met him and he is an ass, he talks at people not with them, he always seems like he would rather be somewhere else and his breath was the worst I think I've smelled in my whole life.

      I'm no fan of his movies they all seem the same just with different titles...BOREING!

      Great Hub by the way!!!

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the comment, natures47friend. I think Seagal needs to take a class or two on sensitivity. Later!

    • natures47friend profile image

      natures47friend 5 years ago from Sunny Art Deco Napier, New Zealand.

      OK. I like watching his movies when I feel help seeing aggression, but now I see him in a different light...not particularly favourable!

      Great hub though.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Yeah, leann2800, Steven Seagal is an easy guy to dislike, but please don't hate him. It's not healthy. Later!

    • leann2800 5 years ago

      really can't stand him, his movies, his attitude, or the rumors about him.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the report, vmartinezwilson! It's hard to like Seagal. His nose is so high in the air, you'd think he was snorting blow. Later!

    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      I've watched his reality tv show a couple of time, but had to stop. He really is a jerk and they can't hide that, not even on a show dedicated to him, what he loves and supposedly to make him look like a good guy. Instead, they make him look like a pompus ass who doesn't who doesn't get the facts before yelling and/or arresting someone. It's one of the oddest things.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Hello, carol3san! I wouldn't advise anyone to crucify anyone else - literally or figuratively. You may have noticed that my article is not an editorial. I tried to maintain journalistic objectivity. Nevertheless, my personal opinion is that Seagal is an inconsiderate, egotistical person. Be that as it may, as you said, there are many such folks in Hollywood. Later!

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Hey, Immartin, I guess you don't see lots of action-adventure movies. Steven Seagal has been in many of those, but these days his movies are much harder to find! Thanks for the comment. Later!

    • carol3san profile image

      Carolyn Sands 5 years ago from Hollywood Florida

      I liked his movies and was surprised to see him show up on TV. He may have some problems now, but I'm not ready to crucerfy him for it because there are too many other actors in and out of Hollywood that seems to behave terrible sometimes...I started to name names but I will resist the temptation.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida


    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the comments, The Jeweller and Stevennix2001.

      It's really interesting and entertaining finding out about the many jerks in Hollywood. It's about time somebody did a top ten list, don't you think? Well, I guess I'll have to do it. Later!

    • Tollin profile image

      Tollin 5 years ago from Welkom

      Nobody's perfect.

      It is kind of disappointing to find out such a crap about your favorite actor. I better not know about they personal life and just enjoy the film.

      But what would happened to us if we had that much money

      and fame.

      I hope I stay the same as I am now: The Jeweller.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      oh never mind, I got it now. sorry, I'm not thinking too clearly today. lol. Yeah, I have to agree with Ralph Deeds as well that Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen are also jerks. However, I also know for a fact that Matthew McConaughey is a jerk. A friend of a friend of mine used to work for a local restaurant down in Texas. Apparently he worked at one of those fancy restaurants that you had to have a reservation for in order to get into.

      Anyway, Matthew McConaughey walks in out of nowhere, and sits at a table without a reservation, and without even so much as bothering to check with the host, while the place was busy. Anyway, this friend of a friend approaches Mr. McConaughey to say that he can't sit down ahead of everyone else without a reservation. And Matthew said, and I quote:

      "Do you know who the f*** I am!?!"

      And the guy just responded:

      "I don't give a f*** who you are! You're not allowed to sit down without a reservation."

      Of course, since it was Matthew McConaughey, the poor guy got written up for the incident, even though he was merely doing his job, and Matthew got a free meal out of the whole thing. Can you believe that?

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      Your impressed that I can spell Schwarzenneger?!? Is that a joke? If so, then I don't get it. Sorry.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the comment, RealHousewife. I also will not watch a movie if Seagal is in it. Richard Gere is another one I always avoid. Later!

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the comment, Ralph Deeds. I greatly prefer Gibson and Sheen to Steven Seagal. Also, you're right about Seagal - he doesn't have the talent to play dead. Later!

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago

      My vote for biggest jerk goes to Mel Gibson with Charlie Sheen as a close second. However, I've never been a Seagall fan since I prefer actors who can actually act.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for stopping by, Kathy. Jerk is a generic term that appears socially acceptable and nearly everybody knows what it means; it also works well in keyword searches. Also, notice that I used the word a-hole instead of ...! Come again. Later!

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the lengthy comment, Stevennix2001! Steven Seagal may not be the biggest jerk in Hollywood, but he's probably in the top ten. Hey, I'm impressed you can spell Schwarzenneger. Later!

    • kathleenjusti 5 years ago

      I have never cared for using the term "jerk" but it seems appropriate in your writing. He is also known for being a womanizing batterer. He was probably a creepy little kid too! Looking forward to your next article.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Kosmo - I can't stand Segal. If I even see that he is an actor in a movie - I won't watch it. Period. I did not know all the info you published - so thanks, you have validated my feelings:) lol Have a great day!

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      To be honest, I don't know if Steven Seagal is the biggest jerk in Hollywood or not. Nor do I honestly give a damn if he is either way, as I've read thousand upon thousand of stories of various celebrities that are allegedly a**holes too, but somehow have better luck than Seagal. Hell, Tommy Lee Jones is known to be a bit of a jerk too in Hollywood, but he still gets parts. Granted, he doesn't have the same allegations that Seagal has, but you get the idea.

      However, I think the reality is that Seagal has always been limited in his acting range. sure, he enjoyed a lot of early success back in a time when over the top cliché action films were popular, but as the action genre has changed, he hasn't..which why he can't really go out for any parts. As you pointed out, he's never been known to be a versatile actor to begin with, and action movies typically favor younger actors these days. It's one of the reasons why "The Expendables" had to have an all star cast; otherwise it would've bombed on it's own merit as the story wasn't that great. To make matters worse is that unlike Stallone and Schwarzenneger that were practically household names back in their time, and have franchises that they could rely on (i.e. Rocky and Terminator). Seagal never had a franchise that he could depend on. Sure, you can say "Undersiege" is one, but only reason the first one was good was because of the supporting cast, and like I said, people craved a lot of over the top action movies at the time.

      Anyway, thanks for writing this though, as I must say it was interesting to read. :)

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