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Olivia Munn is paying a price for her bravery and it’s so very wrong – ANITH
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Olivia Munn is paying a price for her bravery and it’s so very wrong

Olivia Munn is paying a price for her bravery and it’s so very wrong

It’s striking to see Olivia Munn fielding an interview all alone when The Predator, the movie she’s repping at Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, is an ensemble effort.

On Thursday, we learned that Fox cut a scene out of The Predator because it featured a registered sex offender, also a friend of director Shane Black. It was Munn who first alerted the studio that she had shared a scene with this man and set in motion his removal from the film.

Speaking on Saturday to The Hollywood Reporter, without any cast members at her side, Munn discussed the situation at length. She did what she did because she felt it was the right thing to do, but it’s clear not everyone felt that way.

“There are people who get very mad at you for not… just, you know… helping them bury it,” she said carefully at one point. Munn doesn’t single anyone out by name on that count, but the absence of — and relative silence from — her fellow actors is notable.

“It’s a very lonely feeling to be sitting here by myself when I should be sitting here with the rest of the cast,” she said.

(It’s easy to miss the nuance of Munn’s comments in text form, so do yourself a favor and watch the full interview.)

To be clear: Munn only comes off here as a strong woman who’s not backing down from her position that she did the right thing. She may admit to feeling a sense of isolation from the cast and crew, but this isn’t a pity party, self-inflicted or otherwise.

That said, it’s hard for those of us on the outside looking in to overlook the signs that she’s paying a price now for doing the right thing. 

Black hasn’t communicated with her at all one-on-one since this story first surfaced. His public apology didn’t even address her directly, despite the fact that she’s the one who had to perform in a scene with the sex offender, without her knowledge.

Her fellow cast members have been notably silent and/or absent as well. The intro to THR‘s coverage of the interview mentions that Munn sat for a paired interview with her fellow star, 11-year-old Jacob Tremblay, before her solo chat. But it goes on to provide additional context on the unusual situation.

“Munn did show up to THR’s Video Lounge in Toronto on Saturday afternoon, but instead of doing an interview alongside castmembers, Munn was joined only by Tremblay after her fellow actors backed out of scheduled interviews, presumably because of the subject matter of the deleted scene,” the story reads. 

A representative for The Predator star Keegan-Michael Key reached out to Mashable after this story published and asked us to share the following statement:

Keegan was never booked to do an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. His last interview was scheduled after lunch, which he completed. He was always departing TIFF early so he could be home to spend the Jewish holiday with his wife.  Furthermore, Keegan reached out to Olivia privately last week to let her know how proud he was of her and echoed that sentiment in many interviews since then.

Munn herself has already explained that she’s still repping the movie and at the annual film fest only because she’s “contractually obligated” to do so, as she wrote in a Friday tweet.

This Is Us and The Predator star Sterling K. Brown isn’t in Toronto this weekend, but he did weigh in on Twitter a few hours after Munn’s interview with THR published. He defended his fellow actor and echoed some of her words, but the timing led many to wonder why Brown didn’t speak up sooner.

In this post-#MeToo world, even the good changes tend to come with a fair amount of bad. Here we see it playing out in real time as Munn pays for her act of bravery.

She spoke up, and in doing so she ensured that one less problematic figure gets to have a redemption arc enabled by his white male friend. But she’s standing alone in the aftermath, and she’s fielding the same old questions, and delivering the same common-sense answers.

The truth is that the situation that we’re in over the last year or so, the #MeToo movement, it really exists because the people online who are appalled and outraged and demanding that things be changed. The people who are at the top, the people colluding to keep abusers in power, the people who are colluding to turn a blind eye so that they can keep making money, they are the people who created this disparity in the first place. We can’t really depend on them to make a change. It’s the people online and people who express their outrage. For some reason, there seem to be people out there who are only motivated by the bottom line. If the fans and public keep expressing that they won’t go support who are abusers or organizations or companies that support that, then that will make them change. Nothing really changes until people see that it will affect them personally.

That’s Munn responding to a question about whether she thinks the situation with The Predator will lead to broader changes, in this case in the way film casts and crews are vetted.

It’s nothing new, though. How many women have said over the past year (and, let’s be clear, since well before that) that change is going to have to be a group effort? How many have pointed out that the system — whatever system they may be referring to in the moment — doesn’t ever change because money is still being made?

It’s premature to say that the days of vindictive men blackballing the women that spurn them are over, but it’s presumably (hopefully) a lot harder to get away with in the current environment. What Munn is experiencing now, just like others who have spoken up, is a different kind of fallout — but that doesn’t make it any better.

She shouldn’t be alone here. Men (and women) who claim to be allies need to actually step up and be allies in the moments that matter. And hey, guess what? This moment matters. It’s wrong that Munn is facing the media alone while her other cast members bow out of their commitments. It’s wrong that Black hasn’t communicated with her directly, even if he’s upset about what happened to his friend.

Too frequently, we hear men excuse their silence with comments like “Well, she’s a strong, independent woman who can speak for herself.” Or “It’s not my place to wade in.” Or “I want to hear all the facts first.”

None of that is good enough. Women can be strong and speak for themselves while also reaping the benefits of a robust support network that’s ready to act. It’s shameful that Munn’s co-stars didn’t provide that for her here, and that she has to pay any kind of price for doing the right thing.

UPDATED Sept. 9, 2018, 5:19 p.m. with a statement from Keegan-Michael Key.

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Anith Gopal
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