How Kristen Stewart's Apology Backfired (Analysis)
This story first appeared in the Aug. 23-Sept. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
OK, people. Enough is enough. Let’s cut Kristen Stewart a break. She didn’t kill anybody. She’s 22. She’s not married. What was she doing? She was making out with somebody. What were you doing when you were 22? Either you were making out with somebody or you wished you were. OK, the guy she was making out with is married with children. That’s really deplorable, no doubt about it. And of course she’s the only person in L.A. to be making out with a married person, right? Ha! As if. In fact, I’d bet that right now 17 percent of the people reading this are making out with somebody they shouldn’t be and another 28 percent are looking forward to doing so next weekend. So save your outrage, huh? I mean, why do you think people go into show business?
Her fans are upset. A bunch of them are running around wearing T-shirts that say “trampire” on them. You know what I think? I think fans like that are the real vampires, because they suck.
Sure, we can feel sorry for RPat. I mean, we don’t know RPat. We don’t know what was going on at home when KStew and RPat were just sitting around the house. We do know that actors fly away from each other all the time and that their relationships aren’t, you know, etched in stone, so why punish one 22-year-old unmarried actress for what her fellow professionals have been doing since William Shakespeare left the original Anne Hathaway back in Stratford?
Naturally, some of the misery K has gone through is earned, fair and square. She screwed up, the way even people do who are not sensuous, immature, impulsive, emotionally bumptious actors, and she got busted. She then made the ultimate mistake. She apologized, publicly, in a lame and soggy statement. Don’t these people have phones? Why don’t they use them to call the people (with a small p) to whom they should really be apologizing? The fact that she entered the ritual dance sincerely only made it worse. Without revealing too much, I’ll just say that in my non-anonymous role with a massive multiplayer media monolith, I have learned one thing: Apologies are viewed by the vengeful, lustful, titillated body politic as the appetizer that comes before the main course -- an execution in the town square. Music! Turkey legs for everybody! Huzzah!
And so it was for poor Stew. The fact that she paid the private price — losing Robert Pattinson, the guy she loved — was only the beginning. On Aug. 14, it got down to business -- and that’s frickin’ ridiculous. First, the director she was making out with was fired from the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel. That was stupid enough.
Then maybe he wasn’t fired. Instead, it’s KStew who’s off the project. Huh? The sequel to Snow White will go off … without Snow White? Because the starlet was making out with somebody other than her fan-approved boyfriend? Now the jihad is extending to her career as a vampire! Fan conventions for the 1,475th iteration of the Twilight saga are being canceled. No promotional work for you, young lady!
Come on, people. Who are we talking about here? Fatty Arbuckle? Roman Polanski? The madness has to stop! Was the famous head of one of the greatest Hollywood studios fired back in the ’30s when he was known to require that a new starlet be delivered to his office every day after lunch? Was Cleopatra fired for descending into sexual frenzy with her Mark Antony during filming? Half of this town is screwing the other half at any time! It's a tradition! You're not going to change that by Stalinizing Snow White!
Hey, you know what? I’ve got a better idea for the agents, studio executives and so-called fans who are now heaping misery on Stewart’s head: Take all that righteous indignation and focus it where it belongs -- on the sleazy, greasy, predatory pond scum who stalk the underbrush with their high-powered digital gear, prying into other people’s lives and selling the stinking evidence of their targets’ frailty back to us in poisonous morsels. That’s right. Go out today and do some good in the world: Kick a creep in the head. You’ll be glad you did.
And as for you, Kristen, it’s time to shed the scarlet A that people are trying to put on your chest. Stop cringing. Stop accepting punishment. Stop conforming to the expectations of all the hypocrites and reconfigure the role you’re playing. You can do that. You’re an actress: You don’t owe anyone even the smallest peek at your true self. Get up off the couch, put away the vat of ice cream, put on something foxy and go out. Be seen. If anybody gives you any crap, tell them to go f--- themselves. Celebrity means never having to say you’re sorry.