May 18, 2024

Has Hollywood turned its back on Angelina Jolie?

In 2018, Angelina Jolie wore a black Versace gown to the Golden Globes as part of a monumental #TimesUp takeover, powerfully calling out sexual assault, harassment and sexism within the entertainment industry. This year, her absence from the ceremony was sorely felt through the hyper-visibility of her ex-husband, Brad Pitt.

Even if you skipped the Golden Globes, it’s unlikely that you missed the golden boy himself. Having been namedropped in the winning speeches of multiple awardees, Pitt was also a hot topic in several gushing red-carpet interviews and was pictured with just about every famous face in attendance.

After a 12-year relationship (and two years of marriage), Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt announced their separation in 2019. Pitt later sued Jolie for allegedly improperly sharing her stake in Chateau Miraval, a winery once co-owned by the pair. Jolie later filed a counter-claim, which detailed how Pitt allegedly became “physically and emotionally abusive to Jolie and their children” during an overnight plane journey back in 2016 (via The Washington Post).

Pitt has denied the allegations, saying that Jolie “continues to rehash, revise and reimagine her description of an event that happened 6 years ago by adding completely untrue information each time she fails to get what she wants,» adding that “Her story is constantly evolving” (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Pitt hasn’t been charged with any offence (the FBI dropped their investigation into the plane incident in 2016). Still, the way industry figures fell over themselves – literally interrupting their own speeches – to lavish praise on Pitt at the Golden Globes felt uncomfortable. Had Jolie been in the room, would they have dared fawn over him this way?

In a supposed post-#MeToo era, why are famous women who speak up about alleged abuse so easily cast aside?

Angelina Jolie’s influence cannot be overstated – and that’s before you even consider her award-winning filmography.

In 2013, Jolie spoke publicly about her decision to undergo a mastectomy after discovering she had the BRCA1 gene mutation (her mother died from breast cancer). The “Angelina effect” was later dubbed to refer to the dramatic uptake in women choosing to undergo testing for the BRCA 1 gene. A renowned humanitarian, following a decade of service as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie was made Special Envoy to the High Commissioner António Guterres, focusing on international refugee crises.

“Jolie’s other-womanness plays into reductive stereotypes about women as temptresses or seducers, which reinforces the idea that men cannot control their sexual urges. ”

However, Hollywood – and maybe the public in general – appears to have not forgiven Jolie for the more brazen escapades of her early career. In the early ’00s, the media lapped up Jolie’s apparent “wild child” persona, which saw her speaking openly about her romantic relationships with women; kissing her brother, James Haven, on the lips at the Academy Awards in 2000; and wearing a vial of Billy Bob Thornton, her then-husband’s, blood.

This vivid perception of Jolie was finally cemented through her relationship with Brad Pitt, who – in the world’s eyes – she “stole” from Jennifer Aniston. Jolie’s other-womanness plays into reductive stereotypes about women as temptresses or seducers, which – as Ginny Brown wrote in 2016 – reinforces the idea that men cannot control their sexual urges. This dichotomy disadvantages the “other woman,” who is inevitably held responsible for any violence enacted upon her – hence the cursed phrase: “She was asking for it. ”

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