Ansel Elgort’s ‘West Side Story’ co-stars address sexual assault claim against him
Despite the passage of time and the splashy release of Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake, a 2020 sexual assault allegation still lingers around star Ansel Elgort. It’s an allegation his female co-stars were just called upon to address.
Nine months after filming on the musical wrapped, in June 2020, a woman tweeted that the actor had assaulted her in 2014 (when she was 17 and he was 20). Elgort asserted at the time that he had “never and would never assault anyone.” The pandemic news cycle progressed, the musical’s release was pushed back and Elgort managed to avoid addressing it again in his limited promotion of the buzzy film late last year.
A history of the musical’s Puerto Rican appropriation and stereotypes and failed attempts to correct them on stages and in the new movie.
The 27-year-old attended the New York premiere in November, participated in group interviews and appeared on “The Late Late Show” to plug the movie, all the while avoiding the topic. But his benign interview with James Corden didn’t deter the critics who posted in the video’s YouTube comments section, calling out the actor for carrying on as if the allegation didn’t exist.
Meanwhile, promotion of “West Side Story” and its actors has continued in the months after its disappointing theatrical release as it vies for Academy Awards and other critical awards-season consideration.
Thus, in a Wednesday feature for the Hollywood Reporter, Elgort’s co-stars Rachel Zegler, Rita Moreno and Ariana DeBose addressed the allegation and — as the publication noted — were circumspect with their answers and lapped praise on the actor. (Elgort didn’t partake in the sit-down, and THR said Spielberg declined to comment.)
“Nobody really knows what’s going on in anyone’s head,” said DeBose, 31. “Only the people who were involved in that situation know what actually went down.”
Added veteran actor Moreno, 90: “I think it would have been absolutely horrendous and wrong for anyone to take sides in that matter. It’s not for me to make those judgments.”
Zegler, 20, who plays Elgort’s love interest in the musical revival, echoed those sentiments and addressed the scandal even more broadly.
“We made a movie two and a half years ago, and a lot has gone on in the world since then,” she told THR. “A lot has changed very publicly, and privately as well. There’s been a lot of awakening. You just hope that the people involved are OK, that they are asked in a respectful manner and that they are given the opportunity to answer for themselves.”
A woman named Gabby who said she was a fan of the “Baby Driver” and “The Fault in Our Stars” actor posted her allegation on Twitter on June 19, 2020, according to Variety. She alleged that Elgort sexually assaulted her after they connected over Snapchat.
Gabby said in the now-deleted post that she “was just a kid” and it was her first time having sex. She alleged that she was “sobbing in pain” and instead of stopping, Elgort allegedly said, “We need to break you in.”
A day after she tweeted her story, Elgort posted a denial on Instagram, Variety reported. He said that he did have a “brief, legal and entirely consensual relationship” with the woman. He then ghosted her, which he said was “an immature and cruel thing to do to someone.”
He added that “her description of events is simply not what happened” and said “I have never and would never assault anyone.” His post has since been deleted as well.
Representatives for Elgort did not immediately respond Thursday to The Times’ request for comment.
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