When asked about the tone of her new movie Wonder Wheel, directed by Woody Allen, Kate Winslet began by commending Allen for his work and, specifically, the roles he's written for women.
"Woody Allen is an extraordinary writer and he’s obviously known for having created extraordinary roles, very powerful, complicated roles for women for many, many, many years and to join that lineage of incredible actresses made me feel terrified and also immensely privileged, and it was a responsibility as well," she said.
The topic of Allen has long been a sensitive issue in Hollywood, with many in the industry butting heads after Allen was accused of sexual abuse by his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow.
"That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up," she wrote in an open letter for the New York Times in 2014. "I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls." Allen has denied the allegations.
But in the middle of this #MeToo movement, it's a tense time to sing the praises of an accused child molester, and some people think Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan, and Jessica Chastain's faces during the interview reflect this uncomfortable timing.
Actually watching the clip, it's hard to say how much of these reactions are for real and how much the public is attributing their own views of Allen onto the women's facial expressions. After all, it's unrealistic to expect Winslet to not talk about Allen since she's currently doing press for his movie, this isn't the first time she's spoken positively about the director. In September, before the #MeToo movement started but long after the accusations against Allen had been public, Winslet was asked point-blank about the controversy, and told the New York Times that, "As the actor in [Wonder Wheel], you just have to step away and say, I don’t know anything, really, and whether any of it is true or false. Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person."
Post Harvey Weinstein, this defense becomes even less palatable, which is perhaps why a tweet like this went viral in the first place. Whether or not the women's faces were truly ones of discomfort, the rest of us are clearly ready to live in a world where polite discourse about accused sexual predators falls flat. Even a silent protest is a big step from just the straight-up silence that preceded it. Women are no longer laughing along.
Refinery29 has reached out to Winslet, Robbie, Ronan, Chastain, and Allen for comment.