Olivia Wilde Sets the Record Straight on “Spitgate”

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With the release of Don’t Worry Darling just a day away, Olivia Wilde is seizing her last chance to set the record straight. Not on if she doesn’t have anything but glowing things to say about the film’s costars, Harry Styles and Florence Pugh. Not on whether or not she had creative differences with the film’s original star, Shia Labeouf. But on the drama that no one would have expected to become such a central part of all the chaos that’s surrounded the film for months: the truly ridiculous incident known as Spitgate.

In the unlikely chance that it’s somehow been absent from your feeds and timelines, here’s a quick recap. After posing on a red carpet that found actors strategically placed between Wilde, Styles, and Pugh, Styles headed into the theater of the film’s Venice Film Festival premiere on September 5 and took a seat next to his costar Chris Pine. From the look of a video that quickly went viral, he also spit on his seatmate in the process. The clip caused such a kerfuffle that it wasn’t long before Pine’s representative issued a formal shutdown of the theory, and Styles himself felt compelled to address it while onstage at Madison Square Garden. Now, Wilde has entered the chat. She’s here to assure that Styles was very much joking when he fessed up to hacking a loogie on poor, unsuspecting Chris.

While interviewing Wilde on The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert put it to her point blank: “Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine? Why or why not? Support your answer.” The director immediately replied with a firm no. “It’s a perfect example of, like, people will look for drama anywhere they can,” she said with a laugh. “Harry did not spit on Chris, in fact… he really didn’t. People can look at a video that shows evidence of someone not spitting on someone else and they’ll still see what they want to see. And that is the creation of drama, and that is clickbait.” From there came the usual: She has “nothing but respect” for Pugh, to the point that she regrettably had to choose her over Shia Labeouf, who was originally set to portray Styles’s character. She’s convinced that a male director would never be bombarded with such types of questions—and in fact, Colbert admitted that he wouldn’t have even thought to ask them if she were a man.

Wilde, Styles, and Pugh are no doubt overwhelmed with relief to be nearly able to put all the drama in the past. As for the rest of us, it’s something a letdown. When will be the next time we’ll get a spate of celebrity gossip so harmlessly delightful as having to do with phantom saliva?

This post was originally published on W Magazine

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