Was al Qaeda Targeting Russell Crowe?

Was al Qaeda targeting Russell Crowe? (AP) CNN, Fox, ABC

Russell Crowe says Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terror network wanted to kidnap him as part of a “cultural destabilization plot,” according to an Australian magazine. In an interview published in the March edition of Australia’s GQ magazine, Crowe said FBI agents told him of the threat in 2001, in the months before he won a best actor Oscar for his role as Maximus in “Gladiator.” “That was the first (time) I’d ever heard the phrase ‘al Qaeda,’ ” Crowe said. “It was about — and here’s another little touch of irony — taking iconographic Americans out of the picture as sort of a cultural destabilization plot,” he added.

Crowe was born in New Zealand and has a ranch in eastern Australia but made his name in Hollywood. It was not clear if there were other targets in the plot.

Crowe said he was shadowed by FBI agents after the threat and hired private security guards.

Oddly, Crowe was on the cover of the March issue of GQ’s American edition as well, but was merely part of the “The Ten Greatest Actors of Our Generation” feature.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, Terrorism, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. jen says:

    It’s sounds ridiculous on the face of it, but I do remember that there were reports shortly after the Oscars that year that he was targeted for kidnapping or something similar. I remember hearing that the FBI contacted him about it rather than it being a case of him contacting law enforcement because of a stalker. It is odd, though, that Al Qaeda would target celebrities like that.

  2. Things can get complicated when it comes to protecting possible kidnapping targets. This situation (Russell Crow) is even more dangerous/ complicated because you have (from what we are told) terrorist( trained and armed invdividuals)involved in the plot.

    Having provided security for celebrites, executive, and individuals who have been under some sort of threat, I can tell you this is not an easy task.

    This becomes more of an issue with a celebrity. They have to be in the lime light to promote upcoming movies, etc…,

    This makes our job much harder then say if we were able to put them in a safe house and then deal with the threat.


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