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Letitia Wright Calls Out a ‘Hollywood Reporter’ Writer for Lumping Her in With Abusers

Letitia Wright in Black Panther (2018)

A recently published article on The Hollywood Reporter titled “How Personal Baggage Will Impact Oscar Chances” discusses how personal controversies might impact the way Oscar voting plays out this year. Three actors are brought up in the image and at the start of the article: Will Smith, Letitia Wright, and Brad Pitt. Wright has taken issue with her mention in the article, which goes on to include the following people: Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Mel Gibson, Casey Affleck, Gary Oldman, Kobe Bryant, Nate Parker, Bryan Singer, and Nick Vallelonga.

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Letitia Wright became a subject of controversy when she shared anti-vax information on her platform and then denied doing so before leaving the internet until the promotion of her latest film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. It was something that deserved to be called out and that still follows Wright as a criticism of the actress. I say that to acknowledge that spreading anti-vax information is harmful and dangerous for our collective society. However, there is a difference between Wright’s and Will Smith’s actions and those of Brad Pitt, who has been accused of domestic violence.

The article lumps them together as a trio of contenders (Wright, Pitt, and Smith) when I have not seen any calls for Wright to be nominated for anything. The two I’ve seen mentioned as deserving nominations for Wakanda Forever are—overwhelmingly—Angela Bassett and Danai Gurira. The article even says, “While hers is far from the magnitude of baggage held by Smith or Pitt, she did endure a fair share of bad publicity when she retweeted an anti-vax conspiracy video in December 2020 and then reportedly promoted anti-vax views on the set of the film. (She denies the latter.) Backlash became so strong that some fans on social media called for the role to be recast.”

Previous bad actors are brought up and honestly, it just comes across as more of an indictment of the Academy for making Will Smith’s slapping of Chris Rock such a “moral” moment of shock when they have awarded and platformed actors accused of sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, and racism. Wright is also the only woman on this list, which feels like it was motivated by a desire to make the piece seem fair and equal by having a diverse image of “bad behavior.” But it is not the same and it is reductive to treat it as such.

Wright struck back on Instagram, calling The Hollywood Reporter’s article “incredibly disrespectful,” and said she apologized for her anti-vax comments and for keeping silent on the topic while rumors were circulating indicating otherwise.

People have pointed out that fellow anti-vaxxer and Marvel star Evangeline Lilly has not gotten this same kind of attention thus far, but that might change when the new Ant-Man sequel comes out. Regardless, this kind of stuff is frustrating because we should be able to call people out when they misuse their platform without lumping them in with Polanski—a director that won an Oscar after very publicly admitting to assaulting a child. It is reductive and only serves to make it harder to ask for accountability in good faith.

(via THR, featured image: Marvel)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.

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