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If Olivia Wilde Was A Male Director, We Never Would Have Blamed Her For ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Drama

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Olivia Wilde

As viewers flock to the theaters to see Olivia Wilde's highly anticipated film "Don't Worry Darling," it's time we address the way the media has unfairly villainized Wilde.

While many will agree that Wilde's made some alleged questionable choices during the course of making and promoting her film, it didn't take long before the court of public opinion deemed Wilde "unprofessional" and began despising her.

Many will argue that the hate train against Wilde started after fans began circulating rumors that Wilde and Florence Pugh, who plays the lead role in the psychological thriller, were feuding.

The treatment of Olivia Wilde online during the "Don't Worry Darling" press tour is rooted in misogyny.

Pugh and Wilde were allegedly not getting along because of (shock) a man!

It didn't help that the aforementioned man was Harry Styles, who has a scarily dedicated cult-like following of young women who worship the ground he walks on.

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It wasn't long before those fans began harassing Wilde.

Pugh allegedly felt that Wilde and Styles' romance negatively affected the set during filming, and it was rumored that Pugh also felt sympathy for her friend Jason Sudeikis who had been in a long-term relationship with Wilde before she started dating Styles.

It wasn't long before people started calling Wilde a "cheater" and accused her of stepping out on her relationship with the "Ted Lasso" actor, which Wilde then had to publicly deny, even though she shouldn't have had to.

Pugh stopped promoting the film on social media, she skipped out on press conferences and premieres.

The reasons were because Pugh is currently in the middle of filming "Dune: Part 2" in Budapest, but, yet again, the internet needed a better reason — a juicer reason.

We, the public, have no idea why Pugh decided to distance herself from the project, or whether or not it was done with malicious intent in the first place.

Then came the Shia Labeouf drama, which tipped the public's opinion of Wilde over the edge despite having no confirmed tale of what really went down, and the cherry on top was the final act that took place at the 2022 Venice Film Festival.

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The internet latched on to all of the rumored drama and started claiming that the film looked like a "troubled production" and was going to perform horribly in theaters.

While gossip can run rampant on any film before its release, has there been a movie in recent history that has attracted this much backlash?

Not only that, but it also sparks another, deeper question: Would all of the drama have played out if Wilde was a man?

"Don't Worry Darling" was supposed to be Wilde's stepping stone into the film industry as a respected director, and for any other person, it would've been.

However, all of the negative publicity has now lowered audiences' opinion of how capable Wilde truly is.

It wasn't supposed to be like this.

A woman-led film was supposed to be praised and loved, but maybe we should've seen it coming. 

While not every obstacle that has afflicted "Don't Worry Darling" can be traced back to sexism and misogyny, it does raise a conversation about how the media has unrealistic standards for how women need to behave in public spaces, especially in the entertainment industry.

A male director wouldn't have to answer to the drama between costars off-set, something that Wilde even said herself.

RELATED: Olivia Wilde Responds To Claims That Harry Styles Was Paid 4 Times More Than Florence Pugh For ‘Don’t Worry Darling’

"I don't feel like my male director colleagues are answering questions about their cast," Wilde told Stephen Colbert during an appearance on his show.

The response came after Colbert asked her a series of questions about the behind-the-scenes drama.

Why do we care more about grilling Wilde about senseless rumors and alleged drama than we do to ask about the film she spent a long time crafting and trying to perfect?

Wilde is not the first director who faces accusations of being rude to her actors and making questionable decisions about casting.

She is not the first person who has cast their love interest as the lead in the film and advocated for positive depictions of sex scenes — yet, she's faced the most criticism for all of it.

If anything, there is a much longer list of male directors who have done far worse and are still beloved and cherished. 

James Cameron's 1997 "Titanic" was a global smash, and was the first film to make a billion dollars.

The same Cameron that was accused of bullying the cast and crew, nicknaming Kate Winslet "Kate Weights-A-Lot."

Cameron allegedly kept water in the ending scene so frigid that Winslet developed hypothermia after staying in for hours without a wetsuit.

All of that didn't hinder his performance as a director or his reputation in Hollywood.

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He went on to direct "Avatar," which became the highest-grossing film of all time, and returned to direct its upcoming sequel "Avatar: The Way of Water."

In Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film "The Shining," he was accused of tormenting actress Shelley Duvall on set, making her repeat the traumatic baseball bat scene 127 times and causing her enough stress to make her hair fall out.

He is regarded as one of the best horror directors of all time.

In director Quentin Tarantino's films "Kill Bill Vol. 1" and "Kill Bill Vol. 2," Uma Thurman revealed that Tarantino had “demonstrated” scenes with her before shooting which involved spitting on her and choking her.

He allegedly also forced Thurman to drive an unsafe car instead of using a stunt double, causing her to crash and suffer physical injuries.

Tarantino has since been nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes.

But for Wilde, her capability as a female director is being questioned based on rumors that barely hold a candle to the things that have come out about the male directors listed above. 

The world would rather argue about separating the art from the artist when it comes to men, but won't even think about giving women the same luxury.

They'd rather gush over a man's genius, even though that same man has been accused of being emotionally and physically abusive. 

If the media has suddenly decided that with Wilde, they'll hold a magnifying glass to scrutinize and tear apart her work as a director, then they need to hold that same energy for James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, and the hordes of other male directors who have done far worse.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.