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Director Denies Claims Sylvester Stallone Mocked ‘Ugly” Actors On Tulsa King Set

Director Denies Claims Sylvester Stallone Mocked 'Ugly


  • Director Craig Zisk defends Stallone by claiming extras weren’t cast correctly.
  • Background actors accused Stallone of mocking them for their appearance, prompting the casting agent to quit the show.
  • Zisk, though denied reports of a toxic environment created by Stallone on set, reveals the disagreement over casting extras.

Director Craig Zisk, who works on the Paramount+ series Tulsa King, is coming out in defense of Sylvester Stallone following claims that the actor verbally abused background actors on set, which resulted in a casting agent quitting the show.

Tulsa King

Tulsa King

Release Date
November 13, 2022


101 Studios, Balboa Productions, Bosque Ranch Productions

Taylor Sheridan

Per The Hollywood Reporter, Catrett Locke Casting made the confirmation on their Facebook page that they were ending their relationship with Tulsa King,which recently began production on its second season. An admin of another casting group, Charleston SC Background Actors/Crew, then added more context to what was allegedly going on, which included Stallone and his crew creating a toxic work environment for the background actors that was incredibly unprofessional:

“Several groups are talking about what happened on the set of
Tulsa King
filming in Atlanta. At first I had hoped it was just a bad rumor started by 1 person who may have felt some type of way; but there have been countless people who were on set and have stated what they saw, how they were treated, etc. Sadly Sly Stallone and crew made things miserable for the background artists and many have said the set was completely unprofessional and a total mess. Although I have not personally worked with Rose Locke & CL Casting…I have great respect for them for pulling out of the project and looking out for their background artists.”

Several Casting Agencies Suggested a “Toxic Environment” Controversy

Sylvester Stallone in Tulsa King

The matter seems to have escalated after screenshots began circulating from public and private Facebook casting groups that detailed background actor experiences on the set of Tulsa King. Two of them were posted on X/Twitter by a TV writer named Julie Benson, who most recently worked on Star Trek: Prodigy. While she is not associated with Tulsa King, the screenshot she shared came from a casting agent who alleged Stallone fostered a “toxic environment” which then led to the moderator of the private Facebook group presenting more pointed accusations.

“I have been informed of certain things that happened on Thursday … I came the 2nd day (Friday) to see what was happening. At the end of the day I resigned because it was a clear toxic environment that I was not comfortable putting myself or background artists in. I will finish out this coming week and someone else will take over. I want to apologize for anything you experienced. I would also like you to text me … what you experience, saw or heard, I will be sending the info to HR.”

In a second screenshot from another Facebook group moderator, Stallone is singled out for allegedly mocking the background actors by calling them “ugly”, making fun of their weight, and insinuating that he needed pretty young girls to be around him.


Terence Winter to Depart as Tulsa King Showrunner Before Season 2 Premiere on Paramount+

Terence Winter, co-writer and showrunner of hit series Tulsa King, steps down from his role due to creative differences and a focus on new projects.

“While working on TK this week Sylvester Stallone was observed calling the director over and saying ‘what the F* is up with these F**** ugly background [actors].’ He and the director proceeded to call certain people terrible names and laughed at them. ‘Tub of lard,’ ‘fat guy with cane’ and was making fun of their weight and handicaps. Sly said, ‘Bring in pretty young girls to be around me.’ Rose Locke has resigned and will finish out this final week to give them the opportunity to find someone else. BGs need to stand together and NOT submit to TK moving forward to show this production we don’t support this kind of disrespect in GA.”

Another background actor doubled down on the alleged claims on the Facebook page, even indicating they were there right behind Stallone when he started shouting at director Zisk about the appearance of the actors.

“I was there, right behind Mr. Stallone. He shouted to the director to come over here. Lot’s of F bombs dropped. Stallone was very upset with the look of the background actors. Said they were hideous and old and fat. Next thing, people are being told to go back to holding and younger people were brought in.”

While Stallone has yet to publicly comment on the matter, Zisk, who directed the episode but wasn’t mentioned in any of the postings, took to TMZ to deny the reports. Zisk, who is also an executive producer, stated that the extras weren’t cast correctly as he told the casting agent that the extras needed to be “young and hip” but the background actors that did show up were older and did not fit that description. Zisk revealed that he used the background actors anyway but told Locke, who was in charge of casting, that she would have to submit photos of the actors moving forward, which led to a verbal disagreement. The director went on to say, “That’s the way I work and everyone I know works that way in extras casting.”

Tulsa King, which marks Stallone’s first leading role in a scripted television series, sees the actor playing Dwight “The General” Manfredi, a Mafia capo who recently got out of prison and is sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he begins to set up a new criminal organization. Zisk is attached to executive produce and direct the entire second season of the series, which recently began shooting in Atlanta and Oklahoma.

The first season of
Tulsa King
can currently be streamed on Paramount+

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