The aggressive back-and-forth continues between John Travolta's lawyers and the trio (perhaps quartet?) of anonymous male masseurs accusing the actor of inappropriate sexual behavior. The embarrassing story has made loads of headlines over the past week, leading some industry analysts to wonder if Travolta's career will be damaged by the scandal — even if the claims that he forced himself upon several male masseurs are found to be false. (The latest news is that one alleged victim has filed to dismiss his lawsuit.) The actor, who denies these masseurs' claims, is attempting to stage a comeback with two buzzy new films: Oliver Stone's drug war drama Savages and the drama Killing Season. Will this tabloid-ready controversy affect Travolta's success?
He'll have a hard time surviving: It's the court of public opinion that really matters, says Steven Zeitchik at the Los Angeles Times. If moviegoers are swayed by these accusers' descriptions of Travolta as "petulant and naked," they're unlikely to buy the actor as a smooth-talking federal agent in the high-octane drug-cartel drama Savages. Travolta will have a similar issue when Killing Season, in which Travolta plays a war vet opposite Robert De Niro, hits theaters. Sure, Travolta has staged comebacks in the past, but he wasn't facing the relentless high-profile scrutiny of TMZ in those instances. It will be much harder this time.
"Sex claims could savage Travolta"
Travolta will be just fine: The public tends to be forgiving when it comes to celebrity sex scandals, says Piya Sinha-Roy at Reuters. Tiger Woods, Hugh Grant, and Rob Lowe have all seen their careers bounce back after sex scandals of varying degrees of seriousness and alleged criminality. Travolta shouldn't be any different. The media may be obsessing over this story, but history tells us that the public won't follow suit.
"Travolta's career can overcome sex scandal"
Especially because his legal defense looks strong: Travolta "could survive the scare without paying anyone but his lawyer," says Mack Rawden at Cinema Blend. At one point there were three potential plaintiffs, but one has been discredited and another "hasn't even talked to a lawyer." Plus, Travolta's defense team is on a crusade. Okorie Okorocha, the attorney for John Doe #2, told E! News that Travolta's lawyer, Marty Singer, is willing to "fight to the death" over these allegations.
"John Travolta's lawyer willing to fight to the death over allegations"