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Amandla Stenberg Defends Response to ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ Critic Over Cleavage Remark: This ‘Baffles Me’

"There seems to be a lot of unwarranted conversation around my chest that kind of baffles me," Stenberg said after her direct message to a New York Times film critic went viral.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Amandla Stenberg attends the Los Angeles premiere of 'Dear Evan Hansen' at Walt Disney Concert Hall on September 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/WireImage)

Amandla Stenberg

WireImage

Amandla Stenberg wants critics to stop talking about her body in “Bodies Bodies Bodies.”

The A24 Gen Z satire slasher film, co-starring Pete Davidson, Lee Pace, Rachel Sennott, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, and Chase Sui Wonders, centers on a party game turned deadly. New York Times critic Lena Wilson wrote in her review that the film “doubles as a 95-minute advertisement for cleavage,” leading actress Stenberg to send a direct message to Wilson on Instagram.

“Your review was great,” Stenberg wrote. “Maybe if you had gotten your eyes off my tits you would’ve watched the movie!”

Wilson replied, “Hey, Amandla! Generally a big fan of your work, but this sure is something. Really wishing you well in your career and life. Have a nice night,” before blocking Stenberg. Wilson also shared the messages in a viral tweet, adding, “Always weird when the homophobia is coming from inside the house but this is something.”

Wilson continued, “Me: (spends one line of a 500-word review facetiously commenting on how A24 objectifies young women to sell content) Random men on twitter dot com and also, apparently, amandla stenberg: Local Dyke Cannot Stop Talking About Boobies.”

Stenberg shared an Instagram Story to clarify her message to Wilson.

“I just thought I would get on here really quickly to say I’m receiving a lot of commentary on the internet for being a very naughty girl and sending a DM that I thought was hilarious,” the “Acolyte” actress began. “But basically there is this film critic. Her name is Lena Wilson, and she writes for The New York Times, and she wrote a criticism of a movie that I just had come out called ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies,’ and she described in her review the movie as a ’95-minute advertisement for cleavage,’ which I thought was hilarious. I am proud that a piece of work that I was part of was described in such a renowned publication. That is a really unique experience that I get to have.”

Stenberg shared while laughing, “Alright, OK, listen, I thought it was hilarious. I thought because Lena is gay, I am also gay, I thought as gay people we would both find this comment funny. I was also curious to know what Lena would say to such a statement, but Lena decided to publish it and also say that I am homophobic for saying that. The intention of why I said that – and this is my experience as an actress – it’s quite surprising, I mean, it shouldn’t be surprising I guess at this point – the amount of commentary that I’ve received on my boobs is so extreme, and this has happened since I was a teenager.”

Stenberg continued, “I could literally be wearing a t-shirt, and just because of the size of my boobs, there will be some sort of sexualization or commentary on my chest. In this movie, I’m wearing a tank top, and I know that when I’m wearing a tank top, the result is there’s going to be some cleavage, because I have boobs. So I knew this comment was mostly directed towards me and I think Lena was trying to make a commentary about A24 sexualizing me, sexualizing my body, exploiting young women in order to sensationalize them in order to make their media more popular. I understand the angle.”

She summed up, “I can tell you that I wore this tank top in this movie because me and the costume designer thought that it fit the character well. And so I do get tired of people talking about my chest. It seems to be in Hollywood it’s not normal to have boobs that are above an A or a B cup. I’ve actually noticed this as my time as an actress. There seems to be a lot of unwarranted conversation around my chest that kind of baffles me.”

Stenberg concluded with, “Anyways Lena, I thought your review was hilarious, I thought my DM was funny, I did not mean to harass you, I did not mean to wish you any harm. You are allowed to make criticisms of my work, and I am allowed to have my criticisms of your work, and that is A-OK with me. And I wish you the best. Anyways, thank you, guys. Thanks to anyone who has gone to see our 95-minute advertisement for cleavage.”

After the video, Stenberg also reposted Wilson’s tweet with the caption, tagging Wilson, “I will change my bio to Local Dyke Who Cannot Stop Talking About Boobies if you will?”

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