Entertainment

05.31.14

Dear Charlize Theron and Gwyneth Paltrow: Googling Yourself Isn’t “Rape” or “War”

The two Oscar-winning actresses both broadcast their ignorance recently, comparing the cybersnark they receive online to the horrors of “rape” and “war.” How wildly out of touch.

In between dusting their Oscar statuettes, sipping kale smoothies, and nibbling on quinoa, Gwyneth Paltrow and Charlize Theron decided to see what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.

First came Steven Spielberg’s goddaughter, Paltrow.

Speaking to the tech site Re/Code on Tuesday, the Grand Doyenne of Goop—in a remarkable display of #firstworldproblems—complained about the constant stream of cybersnark she receives online.

“You come across [online comments] about yourself and your friends, and it’s a very dehumanizing thing,” said Paltrow. “It’s almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanizing thing, and then something is defined out of it. My hope is, as we get out of it, we’ll reach the next level of conscience.”

So Paltrow, the A-list actress who received $10 million for A View from the Top, whose combined net worth with her ex-husband is a reported $280 million, who replaced the word “divorce” with “conscious uncoupling,” and who once said she’d “rather die than eat cheese from a tin,” compared the mean-spirited crap people write about her online to the horrors of war—just one day after Memorial Day.

The actress and aspiring self-help guru provoked the ire of Cindy McCain, wife of Vietnam War veteran and U.S. Senator John McCain—who was brutally tortured during his five years in captivity as a POW—and the mother of two soldiers:

Paltrow, the daughter of actress Blythe Danner and filmmaker Bruce Paltrow, was raised in Santa Monica, attended the private girls’ school Spence in New York City, and has been acting in films since she was 17, when she made her acting debut in High, a 1989 movie directed by her father. And her first major role came as young Wendy Darling in 1991’s Hook, helmed by her godfather, Steven Spielberg. A blonde multi-millionaire who gained entrée into Tinseltown as a legacy and has spent the better part of her life within the Hollywood bubble getting heckled for imposing her upper-crusty lifestyle choices on others doesn’t exactly compare to those putting their lives on the line to protect this country—mostly comprised of young men from families earning less than $60,000 a year.

"When you start living in that world, and doing that, you start I guess feeling raped."

The Shakespeare in Love actress’s wildly out of touch comments sound eerily similar to those made by superstar Scientologist Tom Cruise. Last year, during his deposition from his defamation lawsuit against Bauer Media, the Edge of Tomorrow actor was asked about his lawyer Bert Fields’ comparing his absence from Suri to that of a soldier’s separation from his family while at war in Afghanistan. “I didn’t hear the Afghanistan [comment], but that’s what it feels like, and certainly on this last movie, it was brutal,” said Cruise. “It was brutal.” During the same deposition, he also allegedly implied training for a film is more difficult than being an “Olympic sprinter” because “they only have to run two races a day” and when he’s shooting a film, he “could potentially have to run 30, 40 races a day, day after day.”

Mark Wahlberg, who recently portrayed a Navy SEAL sniper in the film Lone Survivor, was less than impressed by Cruise’s comments.

“You don’t do what these guys did,” said Wahlberg. “For somebody to sit there and say my job was as difficult as somebody in the military’s. How fucking dare you. While you sit in a makeup chair for two hours.”

Paltrow and Theron, two of the most stunningly beautiful actresses in Hollywood, seem to enjoy doing things in pairs. When Theron joined Instagram on Oct. 2 of last year, Paltrow did the same one day later. So naturally, just two days after Paltrow suffered a major foot-in-mouth moment, Theron followed suit.

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Jason Merritt/Getty

In an interview with Sky News Thursday to promote her new film A Million Ways to Die in the West, the South African-born actress was asked if she’s ever Googled herself. Innocuous enough, right? Apparently not. In response, Theron replied, “I don’t do that, so that’s my saving grace. When you start living in that world, and doing that, you start I guess feeling raped.” Asked whether she really felt that strongly about media intrusion, she doubled-down, saying, “Well, you know when it comes to your son and your private life. Maybe that’s just me.”

It’s a pretty shocking statement—trivializing rape—from a UN Messenger of Peace with her own tragic history of abuse who, in 1999, filmed a television advertisement on behalf of Cape Town Rape Crisis, in which she looked directly at the camera and stated: “Many people ask me what South African men are like,” before reciting South Africa’s rape statistics.

Theron’s Snow White and the Huntsman co-star Kristen Stewart made the same mistake when, in 2010, she told Elle UK that when she sees paparazzi photos of herself, “I feel like I’m looking at someone being raped.” Stewart later apologized for the mishap. 

And Theron’s timing, like Paltrow’s, couldn’t have been worse as India is in the throes of a rape epidemic. On Friday, authorities reported that three people—including a police officer—were arrested after two teenage girls were gang-raped and lynched in a northern Indian village, reported CNN.

When accepting his Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2006 for the CIA thriller Syriana, Hollywood’s de facto mouthpiece, George Clooney, closed out his poignant speech with the following:

“And finally, I would say that, you know, we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while, I think. It’s probably a good thing. We’re the ones who talked about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn’t really popular. And we, you know, we bring up subjects, we are the ones—this Academy, this group of people gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939, when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters. I’m proud to be a part of this Academy, proud to be part of this community, and proud to be out of touch.”

As the Paltrow and Theron blunders prove, being “out of touch” clearly has its downsides.