Fact Check

Did Denzel Washington Turn Down $100M Disney Offer to Work With Robert De Niro?

Despite their respectively long and successful careers in Hollywood, Washington and De Niro have never appeared in a movie together.

Published March 1, 2024

Image courtesy of Screengrab
Denzel Washington turned down a $100 million offer from Disney to work with Robert De Niro because Washington thinks De Niro is a "creepy old man."

In early 2024, a rumor circulated that Denzel Washington turned down a $100 million offer from Disney to work with Robert De Niro, calling De Niro a "creepy old man." For instance, on Jan. 7, 2024, the Facebook account SpaceX Fanclub published a link with the claim, along with side-by-side images of the two men.

 (Facebook page SpaceX Fanclub)

The link went to an article on Esspots.com, a self-described "news and commentary" website. The article read:

In an unexpected turn of events that has sent shockwaves through Hollywood, acclaimed actor Denzel Washington has reportedly rejected a staggering $100 million offer from Disney to co-star in a blockbuster film alongside legendary actor Robert De Niro. The reason for his refusal? In Washington's own words, 'He's a creepy old man.'

In other words, the article claimed Washington, 69, refused a lucrative offer from Disney to collaborate with De Niro, 80.

The story claimed a so-called gossip blog "Hollywood Whispers" first reported the news, and it has "since been confirmed by multiple sources close to the actor." Also, Washington supposedly talked about the alleged decision in an interview with a magazine called "Celebrity Scoop." 

It was true that Wordpress blogs with the names "Hollywood Whispers" and "Celebrity Scoop Magazine" existed, though they had not posted anything new in months, and neither had reported on the alleged drama involving Washington and De Niro.

In fact, the entire story was fictional. Esspot publishes stories that it describes as satirical and parody.

On the website's "About Us" page, it describes itself as a "one-stop destination for satirical news and commentary about the United States of America" and says it is a subsidiary of SpaceXMania.com — another website that publishes satirical stories about celebrities and current events.

SpaceXMania.com's mission is to "bring you the freshest fake news, some sassy analysis, and a good dose of satire, all rolled into one crazy concoction that orbits around Elon Musk and everything that's lighting up the viral/trending charts," according to that site's "About Us" section.

Regardless, the story about Washington and De Niro by Esspot was disseminated by several dubious websites and blogs known for spreading sensationalized and false information. 

The Facebook post by SpaceX Fanclub had garnered nearly 3,000 reactions and over 500 comments at the time of this writing. Those responses were polarizing, with commentators expressing support for either Washington or De Niro. "Thanks Mr.Denzel Washington you are a great role model and faithful American with morals and ethics," wrote one Facebook user, while another responded, "Robert DeNiro was a long time favourite actor, but his Trump derangement really turned me off of him. I wonder what the elites have on him?" 

However, other commentators picked up on the fact that the news came from an unreliable website, with one user writing, "Unless theres a video of him actually saying it, I won't believe it."

Washington and De Niro have not worked together on any film projects, as of this writing, according to their IMDb pages. Additionally, IMDb lists no upcoming projects where the two actors are set to collaborate. 

That said, there is no indication of any personal or professional animosity between the two actors. Washington has expressed respect for De Niro and said he'd like to work with him. In an interview with GQ in 2012, Washington said of De Niro's acting, "There's a scene in 'The Godfather II.'  De Niro's in a theater. And he's looking back. It's just a look. I don't think I've ever imitated another actor, but there's nothing wrong with learning from them."

Snopes encourages readers to exercise caution when they encounter sensational claims involving well-known public figures. We've previously debunked other rumors related to De Niro, such as this one claiming actor Jim Caviezel refused to work with the "Killers of the Flower Moon" actor, and another fake story about Sylvester Stallone refusing to work with De Niro for being "woke."

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.



Breaking: Denzel Washington Rejects $100 Million Disney Offer to Work with "Woke" Robert De Niro, "He's a Creepy Old Man." 29 Jan. 2024, https://spacexmania.com/breaking-denzel-washington-rejects-100-million-disney-offer-to-work-with-woke-robert-de-niro-hes-a-creepy-old-man12/.

Breaking: Denzel Washington Rejects $100 Million Disney Offer to Work with 'Woke' Robert De Niro, 'He's a Creepy Old Man' - USA News. 22 Feb. 2024, https://dream.vinacake.net/breaking-denzel-washington-rejects-100-million-disney-offer-to-work-with-woke-robert-de-niro-hes-a-creepy-old-man/.

Denzel Washington Declines Disney's $100 Million Offer to Work with Robert De Niro "He's A Creepy Old Man" - My Blog. 23 Feb. 2024, https://used82.com/?p=9551.

Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/SpaceX6683/posts/denzel-washington-turns-down-a-lucrative-100-million-offer-from-disney-to-co-sta/887280876736213/. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Nast, Condé. "Denzel Washington GQ October 2012 Cover Story." GQ, 18 Sept. 2012, https://www.gq.com/story/denzel-washington-interview-gq-october-2012.

Robin, Alex. "'He's A Creepy Old Man': Denzel Washington Declines Disney's $100 Million Offer to Work with Robert De Niro." Esspots, 7 Jan. 2024, https://esspots.com/hes-a-creepy-old-man-denzel-washington-declines-disneys-100-million-offer-to-work-with-robert-de-niro/.

Nikki Dobrin is based in Los Angeles and has previously worked at The Walt Disney Company, as well as written and edited for People, USA Today and The Hill.