Late last week, Variety published a column by their chief film critic Owen Gleiberman under the title “Renee Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself Has She Become a Different Actress?,” which ostensibly used the latest trailer for “Bridget Jones’s Baby” as an entry point to talk about how the actress’ looks have changed over the years and if those physical changes have impacted both her abilities as an actress and the response to her work by her fans (of which Gleiberman counts himself). The piece was mostly met with outcry and derision, and now some of its most vocal detractors are putting their own thoughts down on paper (or, well, the internet).
In response to Gleiberman’s piece, director, actress, producer and singer Rose McGowan has penned a guest column op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter that shares her — characteristically unfiltered and very personal — thoughts on the piece. McGowan approaches the topic with her own unique perspective, both as a woman who has long worked under the glare of Hollywood’s expectations of her (and her looks) and as a critic of the current climate in media and the industry.
McGowan’s piece opens with a shot: “Owen Gleiberman, this is not a counterpoint. There is no counterpoint, there is no defense for the indefensible.”
The piece continues to call out not only Gleiberman and his editors, but the very fabric of the current industry. She writes, “How dare you bully a woman who has done nothing but try to entertain people like you. Her crime, according to you, is growing older in a way you don’t approve of. Who are you to approve of anything? What you are doing is vile, damaging, stupid and cruel. It also reeks of status quo white-male privilege.”
McGowan goes on to recount a number of her own experiences in the Hollywood machine — most of which would make for a horrific tale on their own, but grouped en masse, the effect is nothing short of heartbreaking — and calls for others to respond to what she deems as “tantamount to harassment and abuse of actresses and women.”
She also replaces Gleiberman’s own words about Zellweger, her career and her looks, imagining what the column would look like if it was instead about male actors, ranging from Johnny Depp to Ansel Elgort. The result is very telling and worth a read.
You can check out McGowan’s full column for THR right here.
McGowan is not the only actress to speak out about Gleiberman’s article. On Tuesday, “Children’s Hospital” star Zandy Hartig penned her own op-ed on Uproxx, where she talked about her experiences as an actress “on the ‘wrong’ side of 40.” Looks like these ladies are on the right side of something.