She acknowledged that the movie industry is in fact “ruthlessly misogynistic” while clarifying that Michael Bay or Steven Spielberg never assaulted or preyed on her. While this may sound like celebrity gossip to some, as a sexual assault survivor, this news feels personal.
In 2007, the massive blockbuster hit Transformers was released, starring Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf, and directed by Michael Bay. Megan Fox, then 21-years-old, played the gorgeous sidekick/love interest Mikaela Banes, to LaBeouf’s nerdy character of Sam Witwicky. Transformers made $709 million worldwide, and the live-action film thrust its two stars onto the cover of nearly every magazine cover that year.
Fox and LaBeouf came back for the sequel, Revenge of the Fallen (2009), but when the third installment of this popular franchise was announced, we learned Fox would not reprise her role of Mikaela Banes.
It was a shock to fans everywhere to see Fox walk away from the franchise that gave her her big break.
“It was her decision not to return. She wishes the franchise the best.” But for those who remember the Megan Fox interview in 2009, there seemed to be a much simpler answer as to why Megan was parting ways with the franchise. And it felt more like they had fired her for this interview.
About director Michael Bay, she said in an interview with Wonderland Magazine:
“He’s like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad-man reputation. He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he’s a nightmare to work for but when you get him away from set, and he’s not in director mode, I kind of really enjoy his personality because he’s so awkward, so hopelessly awkward. He has no social skills at all. And it’s endearing to watch him.”
These comments are rumored to be the reason behind her alleged firing by producer Steven Spielberg even though he’s denied these claims.
After this Wonderland interview, she was “canceled”.
Everyone talked about how ungrateful she was to the director of the movies who launched her career. Following the release of the third movie without her, Fox was known as a “Katherine Heigl” type (a woman complaining about the movie/directors that brought her success). The movie industry deemed her as problematic — canceled before the internet decided they would and could cancel whoever they wanted.
This is what I remember of Megan Fox and why she deserved to be canceled.
But earlier this week, a 2009 interview between Megan Fox and Jimmy Kimmel resurfaced when Twitter user @reservoird0gs posting this video. (Account has been made private and video deleted by the user.)
Fox: “I had just turned 15 and I was an extra in Bad Boys II. They were shooting this club scene and they brought me in. And I was wearing a stars and stripes bikini and a red cowboy hat and, like, six-inch heels. And he approved it. And they said, you know, Michael, she’s 15, so you can’t sit her at the bar and she can't have a drink in her hand. So his solution to that problem was to then have me dancing underneath the waterfall getting soaking wet.”
Kimmel: Laughs. “Perfectly Wholesome.”
Fox: “At fifteen, I was in 10th grade. That’s sort of a microcosm into how Bay’s mind works.”
Kimmel: “Wow.” Laughs.
Kimmel: “That’s really a microcosm into how all of our minds work. But some of us have the decency to repress those thoughts. And pretend that they don’t exist.”
Because she wasn’t old enough to drink at the bar in the movie, Bay suggested putting Fox in the bikini while washing a car so she would be soaking wet.
Megan Fox was fifteen years old at the time.
Perhaps she told this story for some kind of validation that what was happening behind the scenes was wrong. Because it was. Unfortunately for Fox, nobody in that audience gave it to her. Most people at home just laughed along with Kimmel and his audience.
The world dismissed her, and she “quit” working with Bay. After watching this interview, now the comments about Bay being a demanding director seem justified. I don’t think she was criticizing Bay’s directorial practices; she was speaking out against a man who had been sexualizing her as a minor.
After this interview resurfaced online, she received a great deal of support online, almost like the much-needed apology from the audience at that interview. If Fox told that story today, I’d bet nobody would be laughing. I think it points us in the right direction. We’ve had enough. People are tired. Things are changing.
Things are changing.
Victims are finding the courage to speak out, and predators and abusers everywhere, celebrity or not, should be scared.
But as right as it feels to jump in and unapologetically defend anyone who speaks out, which I have been doing, it is also just as right when someone addresses the rumors, as Megan Fox has done today.
In a note on her Instagram, Fox said:
I know that a discussion has erupted online surrounding some of my experiences in Hollywood and the subsequent mishandling of this information by the media and society in general. While I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support, I do feel I need to clarify some of the details as they have been lost in the retelling of the events and cast a sinister shadow that doesn’t really, in my opinion, belong. At least not where it’s currently being projected…
Please hear me when I thank you for your support. But these specific instances were inconsequential in a long and arduous journey along which I have endured some genuinely harrowing experiences in a ruthlessly misogynistic industry.
There are many names that deserve to be going viral in cancel culture right now, but they are safely stored in the fragmented recesses of my heart.
Her note acknowledges that the movie industry is in fact “ruthlessly misogynistic” while clarifying that Michael Bay or Steven Spielberg never assaulted or preyed on her.
She also admits that there are definitely others who deserved to be canceled, but for right now, she’s not naming names. And as someone who has never reported her abuser, I wish Fox the best in her healing journey, because she is the only person who should have a say in whether she reports or not.
I realize there is much bigger news happening in the world.
Much more important news that demands our attention than celebrity rumors. But as a feminist and assault survivor, I’m affected deeply by Hollywood and its proven predatory, sexist, and problematic culture. And for that, Megan Fox’s story doesn’t feel like celebrity gossip to me. Neither does the story of Justin Bieber’s allegations, or Chris D’Elia’s or Ansel Elgort’s. This feels personal.
I’ve been on the other side, sexualized and assaulted by a former boss. I’ve never reported my abuser, which I’ve had to process on my own, and whenever sexual assault allegations come out publically, I run to defend those who have spoken out.
I know how hard it is to live with the pain in silence, and I don’t know how hard it is to publically accuse my abuser, so I stand with them in solidarity for the bravery they have that I cannot find within myself.
© Jessica Lovejoy 2020. All Rights Reserved