Olivia Wilde’s next movie don’t worry darlingwith Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, generated quite a bit Controversy. With business rumors, costars spitting on other costars, and the general behavior of the mean girls on set, Wilde has undoubtedly come in for a lot of criticism on social media. There is an ongoing online and public debate over whether Wilde deserves this criticism. While the blatant harassment directed at Wilde is unwarranted, her recent actions are certainly at odds with her expressed feminist ideals.
Wilde’s relationship with famous pop musician Harry Styles does not justify the outcry it has caused. If Wilde was a man who was dating a younger pop star, his relationship probably wouldn’t be talked about the same way.
A Twitter user actually points out that even if Wilde did cheating on former fiancé Jason Sudeikis—what Wilde denied— male directors have been doing this for ages, but they haven’t gotten half the backlash she has. While much of the hatred towards Wilde is rooted in misogyny, audiences shouldn’t just gloss over his other legitimately questionable actions in relation to the new movie.
The assertion that everything of her review is “misogynistic” is ironic because she originally cast Shia LaBeouf as Styles, despite her very public abuse allegations. LaBeouf’s History of Racist and Violent Behavior dates back to 2007. Most notably, musician FKA Twigs filed a formal complaint against LaBeouf for sexual assault in December 2020.
“A lot of things came to light after that that really troubled me, behavior-wise,” Wilde said of LaBeouf in an interview with Variety magazine. “Particularly with a movie like this, I knew I was going to ask Florence [Pugh] being in very vulnerable situations, and my priority was for her to feel safe and to feel supported.
LaBeouf then reported he was not fired, but quit, citing video and text messages as evidence. The most incriminating evidence is the video footage de Wilde essentially begging LaBeouf to stay on his film. Wilde can be heard saying she is “heartbroken” and reluctant to give up on LaBeouf. She even goes so far as to say it could be a “wake-up call for Miss Flo,” referencing Pugh, if LaBeouf decides to go ahead with the movie.
Her statements show complete disregard for Pugh’s feelings and safety, especially since she so condescendingly refers to Pugh as “Miss Flo”. With the claim that Pugh needs a “wake-up call,” it seems Wilde is equating his reluctance to work with LaBeouf as mere diva behavior. Quashing Pugh’s concerns should be seen as an extreme breach of on-set safety, which Wilde had previously claimed she cared so seriously about.
In response to the leak, Wilde did not address the video and just said“This question is so much more nuanced than can be explained in private texts published out of context. She went on to say that LaBeouf was “replaced” rather than “fired” and that she wished him the best.
It seems Wilde’s attempt to portray herself as a fierce protector of her cast was a last-ditch effort to salvage her reputation amidst a PR nightmare, which is downright disappointing. It’s absurd to dismiss Wilde’s obvious support for a known abuser and racist as well as his subsequent efforts to cover it up, especially because Wilde has been something of a “feminist icon” in the film industry since the massive success of her debut as a director. , Libraryin 2019.
As for Wilde and Pugh, it’s equally troubling that they have two different interpretations of what don’t worry darling is about. Wilde insists it’s a sex positive film aimed at women and marketed it as such. Pugh, on the other hand, disagreed.
“When it’s down to your sex scenes, or watching the most famous man in the world go down on someone, that’s not why we do it,” Pugh said in a rare movie statement. “That’s not why I’m in this industry. [This movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who did it are bigger and better than that.
Pugh’s disgust at the oversexualization of herself in the trailer – which Wilde praises – warrants raised eyebrows in Wilde’s direction, especially in conjunction with Wilde pushing Pugh to work with an abuser she was naturally with uncomfortable. Wilde’s actions are not in line with her open initiative to empower women in the industry.
Wilde also took for instagram to praise Styles for signing off on a female-led film with such “humility” and “grace.” While his idea that it’s rare to find male actors willing to star in female-led movies is probably true, it’s counterintuitive to praise Styles for simply being okay not being a part of a predominantly male distribution.
Such a comment is not only disrespectful, but absurd because Styles is by no means a seasoned actor, but has had the opportunity to work with the likes of Oscar nominee Florence Pugh. The goal is to normalize films directed by women. Extending excessive praise to objectively privileged men who only live up to bare expectations makes human decency seem like a big ask.
That said, it’s important to take note of these grievances, rather than pay attention to all the talk surrounding the alleged affair. A smear campaign against Wilde is unwarranted, especially since it’s true that male directors can get away with more and still look good. However, Wilde, like all other directors, should be legitimately promote a safe space for women in the film industry. Being openly vocal through the media should be encouraged rather than closed. At the very least, audiences should consider Wilde’s behavior in consuming his content.