It turns out anything can happen on Hollywood’s biggest night, including hearing the phrase, “Cocaine Bear, leave Malala alone!”
As if Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai hasn’t already experienced enough, the Pakistani activist found herself at the center of an awkward segment towards the end of this year’s ceremony thanks to host Jimmy Kimmel (and Cocaine Bear). And the internet is less than happy about her involvement.
After a weirdly prolonged presentation featuring a hoarse Elizabeth Banks and the titular star of her latest directorial feat Cocaine Bear, Kimmel took his hosting duties to the crowd and asked the night’s illustrious guests some “fan-submitted” questions.
Crowd work during awards shows is routinely awkward, and the celebrities forced to participate often look like they want to die. Still, that didn’t stop Kimmel torturing Yousafzai (and later Colin Farrell) with silly, borderline offensive questions.
After shooing off whatever Academy intern was forced to dress as a bear, Kimmel decided to ask Yousafzai, who was representing her nominated documentary short Stranger at the Gate, her thoughts on Hollywood’s dumbest scandal involving a former One Direction member.
“Your work in human rights and education for women and children is an inspiration,” Kimmel began. “As the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history, I was wondering, do you think Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine?”
“I only talk about peace,” Yousafzai responded after a brief pause.
Yousafzai handled the question like a pro. Twitter, on the other hand, was annoyed on the producer's behalf. Ostensibly, users felt a question about a silly, fabricated fight between two famous men, directed at such an accomplished woman, was debasing and insulting.
Eventually, Yousafzai’s Twitter account joined in with this diplomatic message.
Kimmel also ended his interaction with Yousafzai by poking fun at her name— referring to her as “Malalaland”—which is maybe not a good idea when you’re white. It’s also just not very funny. It certainly didn’t help that the next fan question aimed at Farrell poked fun at his Irish accent. Sorry you both had to sit through that!