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4 Clues That The Viral 'The Movie Star And Me' Essay Is About Jake Gyllenhaal

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Jake Gyllenhaal

A personal essay exploring the dynamics of consent and power published on Medium last week has been stirring rumors and conversation across social media.

28-year-old writer and actor Domenica Feraud details her experience with an unnamed actor whom she worked with when she was 23 on a New York stage production.

“The Movie Star And Me” tells Feraud’s story working as an impressionable intern who is eager to impress, making her vulnerable to interactions with the actor that she now views as inappropriate.

The essay unearths a dangerous side to the entertainment industry and calls out senior staff on the production who encouraged and later turned a blind eye to the actor’s advances towards Feraud. 

Shortly after the essay was shared, many began speculating that the anonymous actor was Jake Gyllenhaal and while Feraud chose not to name him, people have been lining up evidence linking him to the details in the piece.

Is ‘The Movie Star And Me’ about Jake Gyllenhaal? 

Here are the clues that have led some to conclude that Feraud is writing about Gyllenhaal in her essay.

1. The image used in the essay could be a nod to Jake Gyllenhaal.

At the top of the article, there is a still from Taylor Swift’s recent “All Too Well” music video which stars Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien.

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The video, which was released in November, accompanies Swift’s rerecording of her 2012 track which is heavily rumored to be about her relationship with Gyllenhaal.

Swift infamously dated the actor when she was 21 and he was 29. In Feraud’s essay, she mentions that she was 23 while the actor was over 10 years older.

“I googled his age as I walked home: 35, on the cusp of turning 36,” she writes. 

“But he was aware of my youth, and seemed to be okay with it. I didn’t stop to wonder if I was okay with things.”

Swift explores similar themes of age gaps and power dynamics in this song so it is possible the image is a reference to that rather than an explicit nod to Gyllenhaal.

2. Feraud mentions that the actor has a famous sister which readers suggested is Maggie Gyllenhaal.

In one of Feraud’s first encounters with the actor she recalls him talking about his “famous” sister who once imparted knowledge to him about reciprocating oral sex. 

She later meets the sister after one of the actor’s performances in an encounter that appears to have been incredibly awkward.

“To be fair, she had probably met dozens of me,” Feraud writes.

“But to be fairer, shouldn’t she ask her brother to stop romancing interns rather than treating them with poorly hidden contempt?”

The sister mentions that she has daughters – as readers of the essay point out, Maggie Gyllenhaal has two daughters. 

3. There is an image that appears to show Jake Gyllenhaal and Domenica Feraud together in 2016.

In her essay, Feraud repeatedly mentions commuting with Gyllenhaal and once takes a train with him after work.

RELATED: Taylor Swift Fans Think Jake Gyllenhaal Is Using A Secret Cat Instagram Page To Respond To Haters

An image shared in 2016 shows someone who appears to be the actor sitting with a woman who is believed to be Feraud. 

4. The events in the essay are rumored to have taken place behind the scenes of ‘Sunday In The Park With George’ which starred Jake Gyllenhaal.

Feraud doesn’t mention the name of the production, anyone who worked on it or even when exactly this experience occurred. 

Based on her age at the time, we can guess it was around 2016. Again, people online have read between the lines and claim Feraud was working on “Sunday In The Park With George” which starred Gyllenhaal at the time.

Feraud mentions that the musical was performed at a “gala.” In 2016, Gyllenhaal starred in a four-performance production of the show as part of New York City Center's Gala.

Feraud talks about a female director and her female mentor/producer who repeatedly urged her to accept the actor’s advances in order to enhance his performance.

In 2016, “Sunday In The Park With George” was directed by Sarna Lapine and produced by Jeanine Tesori.

Feraud later talks about the actor and the production getting a rave review by Ben Brantley in the New York Times before the show opened on Broadway and her work with the actor ceased – the critic’s 2017 review of the musical praises Gyllenhaal. 

Of course it must be stressed that Feraud makes none of these connections to Gyllenhaal in the essay, this is simply what others have concluded from her piece. 

Regardless of the specificity of who Feraud writes about, what the essay is about is truly what should be highlighted. 

Feraud’s story details how powerful people can leave their subordinates vulnerable to situations that may cross boundaries of consent.

She describes how the actor openly discussed sex with her, slept on her lap during rehearsals, and romantically pursued her, all while others turned a blind eye.

The story culminates with a sexual encounter in which Feraud ultimately refuses to have sex with the actor, he complies. 

Later she reveals she has never had sex before and he is glad they didn’t take things further. He stops contacting her shortly after that. 

Eventually she learns from a friend that he apparently “falls in love with these young interns and PAs on sight, pursues them obsessively, and then has some sort of freak out a month in and disappears.”

Over the years, Feraud has come to recognize the instincts she may have ignored during the actor's pursuit of her and can better see that those who made her feel like she had to reciprocate his affections did not have her best interests in mind. 

“This man was enabled in his behavior at every step, which makes it hard for me to believe he’s an anomaly,” she concludes.

“And people like my mentor probably tell themselves these young women are lucky, but I’m here to vehemently disagree. Because the aftermath that never ends? It isn’t worth the fairytale.”

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.