Pop Culture

‘Jared Leto 14’ Is the New ‘Cop 40%’

Jared Leto on a red carpet.

Content warning: Discussion of alleged sexual misconduct including assault, grooming, and predatory behavior.

Fans who are excited about the recent announcement that Jared Leto will be heading Tron 3 but unaware of the actor’s controversies have a handy search term to gain some insight.

Following Leto’s casting announcement, animation director and comics creator Hamish Steele stated in a tweet that Leto has wanted to be a part of the Tron franchise since he was 14. He then encourages others to search “Jared Leto 14” to find more information.

However, as you might guess, no Tron-related content comes up with that search. Instead, the top results are related to misconduct allegations against the actor, as Leto has been accused of predatory behavior and alleged abuse of minors as young as 14.

It’s been less than a year since rumors and reports of Leto’s alleged predatory behavior were last trending. In April of 2022, a photo appeared online of 19-year-old Olivia Rodrigo with Leto at the 64th Grammy Awards and Twitter users took it upon themselves to warn the young singer to steer clear of the actor.

The new “Cop 40%”

Even though the misconduct allegations against Leto resurface occasionally, such as after the Grammy Awards, they haven’t garnered enough attention. This is why Jared Leto 14 is like the new “Cop 40%”—a search phrase that brings up a bevy of results explaining the little-known fact that at least 40% of cops are estimated to be domestic abusers (compared to 10% of the general population).

The misconduct allegations against Leto explained

The allegations of sexual misconduct against Leto date all the way back to the early 2000s. In 2005, an anonymous source opened up to the New York Post about Leto’s alleged predatory behavior. This person called Leto a “serial texter” and claimed he had a creepy habit of constantly texting and calling teenage girls. In one alleged incident, he asked a 17-year-old for her number in front of a chaperone when he was in his 30s, though the girl refused to give it to him.

The NY Post is not exactly a reputable news outlet but it’s also far from the only source of allegations against Leto. At one point, there was a since-deleted forum on Voy.com that contained multiple anonymous allegations. One victim claimed to have been molested by Leto when she was 17, reportedly writing, “I think he got pleasure out of hurting me, in retrospect, but I was too young and didn’t know that then.”

In 2013, another now-deleted forum arose on GossipRocks.com and included accusations from another woman who said that she was 17 and Leto was 34 at the time of an alleged assault. She said that Leto coerced her into nonconsensual sexual acts and also asked her to verbally tell him she was 14 or 15, even though the age of consent is 17 in New York.

Meanwhile, his alleged predatory behavior even seems to be known around Hollywood. In 2018, former Disney star Dylan Sprouse called out Leto on Twitter, accusing him of sliding into the DMs of “every female model aged 18-25.” In a now-deleted reply, director James Gunn responded with apparent surprise that Leto “starts at 18 on the internet.”

“Yes, this is a cult”: other Leto controversies explained

In addition to the misconduct allegations, Leto has also been involved in other controversies in the past due to his bizarre behavior, extreme acting methods, and more. In 2019 Leto and his band started what they described as a cult by inviting hundreds of fans, dubbed Echelon, to a remote retreat in Croatia. All of the fans wore white and were photographed surrounding and following Leto. On Twitter, 30 Seconds to Mars’ Twitter page confirmed that they had started a “cult.”

Leto has since said that calling his following a cult was a “joke,” but embracing that term and trying to make such big displays of fan devotion is strange and concerning. Starting a cult is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Leto’s bizarre behavior. Many stories have risen of Leto’s outlandish behavior on film sets, which he has tried to excuse by claiming he was “method-acting.”

On the set of Morbius, Director Daniel Espinosa said that Leto forced crew members to push him to the bathroom in a wheelchair because he was supposedly embracing Morbius’s physical limitations. Though denied by Leto, there were also allegations that he sent his Suicide Squad co-stars extremely creepy gifts to get into the role of Joker, including a live rat, a dead hog, and used condoms. Just as he has potentially used his stardom to avoid consequences for his alleged predatory behavior, he has used method-acting as an excuse to get away with reported obnoxious and egregious behavior while filming that would not have been tolerated in any other work environment.

(featured image: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

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