Joey’s Burn Book: Brad Pitt


Art by Nicole Armstrong.

Joey Harinsky, Former Deputy Culture Editor

This previously ran in our April 2023 print issue.

Brad Pitt. Academy Award winner, fashionable movie star, People Magazine’s sexiest man alive – that Brad Pitt. Everyone knows Brad Pitt. A man seemingly loved by all of Hollywood. An actor with universal appeal along the likes of George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio (though he too might deserve a burn book entry if his trend of allegedly dating teenagers continues). 

Everyone loves Brad Pitt, from middle-aged women to teenage boys who take away the wrong messages from the movie Fight Club. Everyone loves him – except, of course, the wife and children he spent years abusing. 

In 2005, Pitt starred in a movie called Mr. & Mrs. Smith alongside Hollywood starlet Angelina Jolie. (The film is alright, with a weak plot about an assassin couple carried by the cast and performances, but that’s not what’s important here). What is important is that Pitt would fall for Jolie and leave his then wife Jennifer Anniston. Pitt and Jolie would have six children together – a mix of biological and adopted – and would later tie the knot in 2014. 

Everything about the couple seemed great from the outside, until 2016 when Jolie filed a lawsuit against Pitt for abuse. Without delving too deep into the personal lives of the family, the lawsuit throws multiple allegations at Pitt. Firstly, that Pitt constantly yelled at and hit Jolie along with their children. Secondly, that Pitt had a drinking problem and allegedly poured beer and wine on his children in a confrontation where he also allegedly strangled them. 

The FBI (perhaps one of the worst institutions in America on just a day-to-day basis) along with the Los Angeles Police Department (the definitive worst institution in America) launched an investigation into the incident. However, as often happens when charges are lobbied against rich, white men, it fizzled out, and no definitive verdict ever came. 

This past year, Jolie attempted to shine a light on Pitt’s true actions, putting the allegations into the public eye as well as trying to hasten the investigation. Hearing that a man in Hollywood is secretly an alleged abuser is not really a shocker, as it happens quite often – most notably with Johnny Depp in recent years. However, when it comes to Pitt, things are different. With recent movements to oust abusers from their positions of power, these abusers often don’t find much work after the fact. Pitt, on the other hand, has starred in multiple films each year and won an Oscar. Numerous celebrities during this past awards season seemed in awe of Pitt as he sat in front of them whilst they received awards. He’s put on a pedestal, not just by fans, but by the people surrounding him.

Pitt is charismatic and charming; he’s a good actor too, and let’s face it: everyone likes at least one movie he’s been in. I like the vast majority of them. However, it’s not a good enough trade off for the damage – both mentally and physically – he has caused and continues to allegedly inflict upon his family.