Most of us love the movie, Gladiator, even with its minor historical flaws and what not. We also love and thank Russell Crowe for doing such a terrific job in the film, but little did we know that the film could’ve cost the Australian actor his life. Crowe recounted the story about how the terrorist organization al-Qaeda targeted him, probably because of the film, for over two years.
Crowe stated that the threat started in 2001, just before the Academy Awards. He flew in to Los Angeles to get settled in for the event, and not too soon after he entered his hotel room, the FBI came knocking on his door. They sat him down and discussed the reason why they planned to trail him everywhere he went. Crowe asked why, and the response he got was something completely out of the ordinary. According to FBI sources, Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorists had plans to kidnap Crowe as part of a “cultural destabilization plot.” Whatever that meant then and whatever that means now is lost to Crowe, as the FBI never fully explained what the threat was all about.
So for two years, Crowe had a trail of FBI bodyguards and security following him wherever he went. They were also there that night when Crowe accepted his Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Gladiator. The FBI was also there when he went to the Golden Globes that year, supplying at least about 16 men for his security. It may have kept Crowe safe for those couple of years, but it certainly didn’t always do well for his career. Many people thought Crowe was just being a complete narcissist, hiring so many “men in black” just to follow him around. Now we know that wasn’t the case.
So many years after all that happened, the threat was probably misjudged in retrospect. It might have been the oversupply of resources or just the lack of real threat to begin with, but obviously, nothing happened. The FBI retraced the reliability of their sources afterwards, but has long withdrawn from following Crowe around. These days, Crowe supplies his own security to stay safe. After having threatened by al-Qaeda, you can never be too safe, after all. And we all know that Crowe isn’t short on haters, evidenced by his very own Twitter account. Crowe also isn’t short on solutions, with his favorite being to just block everyone that bothers him. We can’t blame him for going through extreme measures, as we’re finding out that he’s been through the extremes of it as well.
At the very least, he can claim the threat as a testament to his talent, and we’re all glad that nothing else happened to Crowe or to anyone else for that matter. We hope to hear no more of any “cultural destabilization plots” in the future or any other types of terrorist threats that target beloved members of our culture or anyone else for that matter. We hope for no threats at all, and while that may be a bit far-fetched, we can still hope.