Yesterday Variety‘s Matt Donnelly and Elizabeth Wagmeister riffed about the coming “Armie Hammer iceberg” that will allegedly make things difficult for Disney’s Death on the Nile when it opens on 2.11.22 — Valentine’s Day.
It is presumed that the ugly social-media saga that has dogged Hammer, who plays a significant role in the new Hercule Poirot mystery, will somehow diminish the film’s commercial prospects. Kenneth Branagh has directed the film as well as played Poirot.
This reminded me of another potential p.r. difficulty awaiting Disney marketing when Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story opens on 12.10.21, or roughly 70 days before the Death on the Nile debut.
I’m speaking, of course, of that bizarre Ansel Elgort Twitter furor that erupted on or about 6.18.20 over allegations of an inappropriate relationship between Elgort, the star of West Side Story, and a young woman named “Gabby” back in December 2014, when she was 17 and Elgort was 20.
The Twitter charges included sexual assault as well as, nonsensically, pedophilia. For two or three days #MeToo and safe-space Twitter wanted Elgort dead and dismembered. Even though the liason apparently happened in New York State, where the age of consent is 17.
To go by available assertions, nothing that happened between them even flirted with the legal definitions of assault or pedophilia.
On 6.19.20 I mentioned that the same kind of relationship happened between 20-year-old Paul McCartney and 17-year-old Celia Mortimer, in the fall of 1962. McCartney later wrote a song about his relationship with Mortimer called “I Saw Her Standing There“, which was released on 3.22.63.
England’s age of consent was 16 at the time so McCartney was legally in the clear.
HE excerpt: “But if, God forbid, 2020 cancel culture had somehow descended upon early ’60s England like a flash flood, McCartney might have sustained serious career damage if Mortimer had decided to accuse him after-the-fact of ‘sexual assault’, which can sometimes be translated as ‘it was my first time and a bit painful, and the sex wasn’t followed by tender emotional caresses and perhaps the beginning of a serious relationship, and so I felt used.'”
Nine months have elapsed between the June 2020 Ansel-Gabby blowup and today. I’m presuming that clearer heads have prevailed and that even the Twitter fanatics who went crazy last June understand that nothing especially horrible (certainly not in a legal sense) happened. So maybe it’s all over and nothing will kick up again.