As a Black person, I usually try my hardest to mind my Black-owned business at all times. Essentially, I try not to stick my nose in places where it doesn’t belong or start snooping around in white folks’ business—especially when it doesn’t involve me. It keeps me sane, my environment peaceful, and in turn, allows me to be a very non-problematic person.
But sometimes, as is the case with the recent premiere of Olivia Wilde-directed film Don’t Worry Darling at the 79th Venice Film Festival, some white mess is just too good to pass up. In case you’ve been living under a rock the last few days, and have yet to get caught up on all the drama surrounding the the upcoming film starring Wilde, Florence Pugh, pop star Harry Styles, and Chris Pine, allow me to give you a brief run down.
It all started when rumors began to swirl that Wilde and Styles were dating, thanks to a picture of them holding hands at the latter’s manager’s wedding back in January 2021 according to Us Magazine. News of their newfound relationship also came just three months into filming Don’t Worry Darling, which, I mean, hey. You hear stories of directors dating actors all the time, so that’s not that big of a deal.
What is a big deal is what came after, which was speculation about an alleged feud between star Pugh and Wilde that, per Variety, allegedly stems from rumors of pay disparity and Pugh’s alleged displeasure with Wilde and Styles’ relationship. There was also some tension between Pugh and Shia LeBeouf, the latter of whom is currently facing allegations of sexual battery, assault and emotional distress, and who was initially brought on to play the role Styles later got but was fired by Wilde months into production. (LeBeouf later produced text, emails and video messages disproving Wilde’s claims, clarifying that he actually quit the film due to lack of rehearsal time. A source with knowledge on the matter also said that the decision for LeBeouf to leave was mutually agreed upon and cited the fact that his acting style just wasn’t conducive to “Wilde’s approach as a director,” according to Variety.)
But what’s an even BIGGER deal is what happened over the Labor Day holiday when the film made its premiere in Venice. Due to filming conflicts, Pugh ended up arriving late, conveniently missing all the press conferences and interviews about the film, which did nothing but add more fuel to the already worrisome fire and stoke the flames of the feud between her and Wilde. She later showed up to the premiere that night but was noticeably one person away from both Wilde and Styles the entire night. (No seriously, go look at any of the pics. There is quite literally one person in between Pugh, Wilde and Styles the ENTIRE TIME. Coincidence? I think not).
But perhaps what’s even more egregious is what happened between Chris Pine and Harry Styles mere moments before the film showed. And because I can show you better than I can tell you, see for yourself:
Now look, “I don’t know how y’all do shit where you from but where I’m from—we don’t do shit like that.” And by “shit like that” I mean both spitting on people AND keeping calm, cool and collected after being spit upon. Some hands of some sort would’ve been thrown. They’re not rated E for everybody for no reason—time and place be damned!
And while it’s become a point of confusion and contention as to whether or not Styles actually projectile spit on Pine (the scandal has aptly been dubbed #SpitGate on Twitter), Pine’s rep has come out in defense of Styles to clarify that there was no spitting on anyone and it’s all just “a complete fabrication and the result of an odd online illusion that is clearly deceiving and allows for foolish speculation,” according to Variety.
But let’s be real here: nobody is going to believe a statement from a rep in this case. Nope, it’s not gonna suffice. Until we hear from Christopher Cleophus Pine himself (that’s not actually his middle name but it feels fitting), I, along with the rest of society, will believe what we saw. And what we saw, ladies, gentlemen and all my gender non-conforming folks, is spit. Case closed.
And while we’re being real, allow me to point out yet another fact that makes all this white mess so damn funny. Have you noticed, dear reader, at no point in my musings, that I haven’t even told you what the plot of this film is? I bet you haven’t. And you want to know why? That’s because in comparison to all the drama going on behind the scenes as a part of the rollout, at this point, THE MESS IS THE PLOT. In fact, there’s been so much absurdity surrounding this movie that mixed reviews aside, it makes a perfect case study on how not to roll out a film. I’m honestly not even sure the film exists anymore. Have you seen it? Because I haven’t.
Needless to say, the ridiculousness of this rollout has done much to distract both me and those now invested from all the real, heavy, and awful drama orbiting in the ether on any given day. So thank you Olivia. Thank you Florence. Thank you Harry. And thank you Chris for taking my very Black worries away, darlings. It’s a very, very welcomed reprieve.