With the disturbing video of Hollywood actor Megan Fox being interviewed by talk show host Jimmy Kimmel back in 2009 resurfacing, social media is once again riven with debate regarding the inherent sexualisation and harassment of young women by older men in power.
In the interview, Fox can be seen recalling an incident from when she was 15-years-old and shooting as an extra on the sets of the Michael Bay-directed Bad Boys 2.
"I had just turned 15 and I was an extra in Bad Boys II. They were shooting this club scene and they brought me in, and I was wearing a Stars-and-Stripes Bikini and a red cowboy hat. And six-inch heels," Fox can be heard telling Kimmel.
"And he approved it, and they said, you know, 'Michael, she's 15, so you can't sit her at the bar and she can't have a drink in her hand.' So his solution to that problem was to then have me dancing underneath a waterfall getting soaking wet," she added.
But while the incident itself was disturbing considering Fox was just 15 at the time it happened, what was more shocking was Kimmel's reaction. Instead of addressing the issue of Fox's sexualization by older and powerful men such as Michael Bay, who in later films has been accused of turning the young actress into a "sex symbol" to better market his films, Kimmel laughed and made further jokes about Fox.
clip from 2009 where megan fox tells a story about michael bay sexualising her as a 15 y/o— liz w (@reservoird0gs) June 21, 2020
the crowd laughs, and kimmel makes gross jokes
teen girls being preyed on by older men has never been taken seriously and still isn’t pic.twitter.com/t1rF80UTj1
When Fox said "At 15. I was in tenth grade. So that's a microcosm of how Bay's mind works," Kimmel responded, "Well that's really a microcosm of how all our minds work."
The video has once again led to a conversation regarding the mental and sexual exploitation of women in Hollywood, a conversation that was first highlighted by the #MeToo movement in 2017 when several women including actress Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd coming forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.
The sexualisation of young women in the film and entertainment industry is a known secret and many on social media felt that the interview was just another example of how the industry itself propagated such misogynistic objectification of women in the name of entertaining film and TV.
Yet others called out Bay as well as Kimmel for normalising the sexualisation of a minor.
hollywood owes megan fox a big fucking apology. the fucking misogyny. disguisting. pic.twitter.com/qI9HAw0g23— lesbian pirate (@stinkybinky5) June 22, 2020
megan fox deserved better than being overly sexualised from the time she was a child by male directors and then being blacklisted when she spoke up about it while those men continued having careers— indie (@INDIEWASHERE) June 21, 2020
do you know how f*cked up it is that a 15 YEAR OLD GIRL was s*xualized by a creepy old man and an entire audience and the entire industry just laughed it off? get michael bay, jimmy kimmel, and every other creep out of the industry and give megan fox some respect #CancelKimmel— amesᵇˡᵐ (@redputationaotd) June 23, 2020
Oh boy, the hits keep coming against Jimmy Kimmel...This latest unearthed clip might be the worst one yet...don't see how he recovers https://t.co/9USkrwxxIN— ✭ Wayne Dupree ✭ (@WayneDupreeShow) June 22, 2020
Reminder that Megan Fox spoke out about Michael Bay sexually harassing her a decade ago and was promptly blacklisted and shamed to the point that when #MeToo came around she kept her mouth shut because she figured she was not a "sympathetic victim" anyway stream Jennifer's Body pic.twitter.com/GOgbWk8iMH— Sophia TØP 3000 (@SophiaEHanson) June 21, 2020
Clip from 2009 where Megan Fox tells a story about The Industry sexualising her at 15 y/o...— Terrence Daniels (Captain Planet) (@Terrence_STR) June 22, 2020
The crowd laughs, Jimmy laughs but you can tell by her reaction it wasn’t a joke, she just plays along... When people ask why young actors & actresses don’t speak up...
This is why pic.twitter.com/UW3QciFQAr
the transformers crew said megan fox acted like a porn star in response to her calling out michael bay for being predatory. women should not fear being painted as a ‘whore’ for coming forward about sexual abuse pic.twitter.com/TnesWiX0lB— ♡ (@emotrends) June 21, 2020
I don’t know what vindication/retribution looks like for Megan Fox but I hope she gets it and more. https://t.co/odgDIRTv6C— Rubén (@QueerXiChisme) June 23, 2020
i now have TWO political stances:— “rachel” (@rachellobaugh) June 22, 2020
1. we should bring back the guillotine
2. megan fox should be allowed to eat michael bay
This is not the first controversy Kimmel has found himself in this year. The talk show host who features on the late-night TV show 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!" has been taking a break from the show after the controversy regarding blackface sketches as well as stereotyping African Americans. He also body-shamed talk show host Oprah Winfrey by wearing a bodysuit to match her build. Many tweeted under the #CancelJimmyKimmel hashtag to tweet their outrage against Kimmel.
I always thought Jimmy Kimmel was the nice guy next door definitely better than Jimmy Fallon, but it turns out he’s a racist and terrible human being for laughing at a girl that’s been blacklisted and humiliated by Hollywood.. #CancelJimmyKimmel #MeganFox— Ray (@__RayPrime2099) June 23, 2020
Many, however, failed to understand how the world was just waking up to this. Fans stood up for her and reminded the internet of underrated films like Jennifer's Body which many claimed was one of the many films that were appropriated and sexualised by film producers and marketers.
This story has been public knowledge for the past 10 years. How are people only now finding out about it?— Sam Sprague (@spragueyboy) June 22, 2020
The Megan Fox Renaissance is coming— Amelia Dimoldenberg (@ameliadimz) June 22, 2020
Since Michael Bay is trending for his shitty, sexist behavior, I would just like to remind everyone that Megan Fox is an extremely underrated comic actress and her line delivery in JENNIFER'S BODY is close to god-level.— Kmart Ronan Farrow (@Nico_Lang) June 21, 2020
After the outpouring of support for Fox on the internet and amid several news reports about the alleged harassment of the actor on the sets of Transformers, Fox clarified that she was not underage while auditioning for her role in the Michael Bay film.