At the end of 2017, there were dozens of firings and exits that rocked the entertainment industry and 2018 was no different. Some exits came on a star's own terms, but others happened after a celebrity shocked people with their words.
In 2018, Roseanne Barr's firing sent another signal to everyone that tweets can cost you your job. As Kevin Hart learned just a few days ago, tweets from years ago can also cost you a job.
While there many notorious firings this year, there were just as many graceful exits. Andrew Lincoln bowed out of The Walking Dead after almost a decade of playing the same character. Meghan Markle officially said goodbye to Suits by saying "I do" to Prince William. And Pauley Perrette ended her 15-year run on NCIS.
Here's a look at 10 explosive firings and exits that changed the entertainment industry in the past 10 months.
Photo credit: Netflix
The firing that changed everything for ABC happened in May. That month, just as the Roseanne revival finished up, Roseanne Barr compared former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett to the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes characters. Although Barr had a long history of inflammatory tweets, this was the one that crossed a line for ABC, and the network fired her hours later.
While Barr defended herself against accusations of racism, ABC had to figure out some way to continue the most-watched sitcom of the 2017-2018 TV season. They greenlit The Conners, which features every member of the Roseanne cast except Barr.
Megyn Kelly was already on thin ice at NBC since Megyn Kelly Today was not performing as well in the ratings as hoped. However, when she suddenly defended blackface costumes during a debate about offensive costumes a few days before Halloween, she was without a show at the network within three days. Kelly apologized on air, and is now in talks with NBC to secure a $30 million exit deal. She is also reportedly allowed to work at other networks now, but it is not clear who will hire her.
On Dec. 4, the Academy Awards and ABC hired Kevin Hart to host the 91st Oscars. On Dec. 7, he resigned. In between, years-old tweets — some dating as far back as 2009 — homophobic jokes resurfaced. Hart initially refused to apologize for them, insisting he has grown since then. But on Dec. 7, he apologized and left the Oscars without a host.
"I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscar's....this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists. I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past," Hart tweeted. "I'm sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again."
Although Netflix fired Danny Masterson from The Ranch in fall 2017, his departure was not truly felt until this month, when Part 6 appeared on the streaming service. Masterson starred as Rooster alongside his fellow former '70s Show star Ashton Kutcher. However, allegations of rape and sexual assault against Masterson led Netflix to fire him. Masterson has denied all allegations against him, but was gracious when The Ranch Part 6 debuted.
"The Rooster may be MIA but [The Ranch] is back and it’s incredible," Masterson wrote on Instagram. "Please support this great show we spent years putting together. The cast is beyond incredible. The writers were given the ultimate worse case scenario and instead of throwing in the towel they worked longer hours to create new heartbreaking and hysterical storylines."
The actor added, "I’ve worked with most of the crew since the mid 90s on Cybil, [That '70s Show], Men at Work and until last year The Ranch. They are my family. They work 10-14 hour shoot days to make you smile in 30 minute increments. Support them. Support comedy. Support art. Support the Iron River Ranch and the Bennett family. Much love y’all. DM."
Back in May, Lethal Weapon star Clayne Crawford was fired after he was accused of "creating a hostile work environment" on the set. Crawford, who played the Mel Gibson character from the Lethal Weapon movies, was incredibly popular with fans, who were stunned by his departure. His character was killed off an replaced by a new character played by Seann William Scott. Crawford's departure also meant the audience left for season three. The show is expected to be cancelled, especially since Damon Wayans plans to leave.
At the end of Grey's Anatomy's 14th season, both longtime cast members Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew were written out of the show. The decisions were made by the producers, who chose it was time to say goodbye to the characters. Drew was expected to rebound quickly, since she was cast in the pilot for a Cagney & Lacey reboot. Unfortunately for her, CBS passed on the project.
"Everybody loved it and it was just one of those, 'I don't know what happened' kind of things," Drew told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's certainly heartbreaking in the moment but I know that there's something around the corner for all of us that's meant to be even better."
Andrew Lincoln left The Walking Dead on his own terms. After almost a decade of playing Rick Grimes on AMC's zombie drama, he chose to walk away, confirming his departure during San Diego Comic-Con.
“This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes," Lincoln said at San Diego Comic-Con in July. "I love this show, it means everything to me. I love the people that make this show. I am particularly fond of the people that watch this show. This has been the most extraordinary, amazing and beautiful experience of my career, made possible largely by you guys. In this room and rooms across the world...What I wanted to say is my relationship with Mr. Grimes is far from over, and some part of me will always be machete-wielding sheriff's deputy from London, England. This will continue to be an ensemble show."
However, Lincoln will be playing the character again in a series of planned movies, so his departure from the role will be short-lived.
After 15 seasons of playing Abby on NCIS, Pauley Perrette said goodbye. It's not entirely clear why Perrette chose to leave the show now, but she told TVGuide she reached the decision after some soul-searching.
"I believe in God and the universe so firmly, and it just suddenly became blindingly apparent that now was the time," she said. "After a lot of thought, I decided to announce it myself on Twitter because I didn't want it to be turned into anything 'shocking.' Abby leaving is more than a cheap TV ploy."
Perrette later claimed she was the victim of "physical assaults" and reported them to CBS.
"Over a year ago, Pauley came to us with a workplace concern. We took the matter seriously and worked with her to find a resolution. We are committed to a safe work environment on all our shows," the network said.
Cameron Monaghan and Emmy Rossum both announced plans to leave Showtime's Shameless during season 9. Monaghan's final episode aired this fall, while Rossum will continue to appear until the season finale next year. Both actors simply chose to move on to other projects.
"The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift. There are few characters — female or otherwise — as layered and dynamic. She is a mother lion, fierce, flawed and sexually liberated," Rossum wrote of her decision. "She is injured, vulnerable, but will never give up. She is living in an economic depression, but refuses to be depressed. She is resourceful. She is loyal. She is brave."
In April, USA Network said goodbye to Suits stars Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle. The on-screen couple married and moved to Seattle in the show. In reality though, Markle left because she married Prince Harry and became the Duchess of Sussex. Adams decided to leave for story reasons after talking with showrunner Aaron Korsh. Suits returned over the summer with Katherine Heigle joining for a rebooted show.