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Olivia Newton-John Responded To Accusations That "Grease" Is Problematic

"We need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are."

Posted on February 5, 2021, at 7:29 a.m. ET

Olivia Newton-John has responded to accusations that her classic 1978 movie Grease is problematic, saying the conversation surrounding it is "kind of silly."

Emma McIntyre / Getty Images

Most of us are familiar with the iconic movie musical, which sees Olivia and John Travolta play Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko, but the movie caused a stir recently after it aired on UK TV during the holidays.

Paramount Pictures

Several viewers watching the movie on BBC One took to social media to express the opinion that it hadn't aged well.

Accusations of anti-LGBTQ prejudice stemmed from the dance competition scene, which declares same-sex couples aren't allowed to take part. Others called the movie "misogynistic" over its portrayal of Rizzo, who is shamed for sleeping with multiple men, while various lyrics in some of its most famous songs were considered to be more than a little problematic.

Despite the criticism, however, most people seemed to conclude that the movie was a product of its time — and star Olivia Newton-John apparently agrees with them.

Sam Tabone / WireImage

When asked about the backlash during a recent appearance on the A Life of Greatness podcast, Olivia said the movie is "not [meant] to be taken so seriously."

"I think in this particular instance, I think it's kind of silly, because the movie was made in the '70s about the '50s," the 72-year-old said. "It was a stage play. It's a musical. It's fun."

"It's a fun movie musical and not to be taken so seriously," she added.

"We need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are," Olivia went on. "I think it's just a fun movie that entertains people. That's all."

Paramount Pictures

As for her relationship with costar John Travolta, Olivia said they are still "really great friends" and "always will be."

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

"I think we shared something incredibly unique, making that film that is still so loved," she said. "It keeps our friendship together."

The pair reunited in celebration of the film's 40th anniversary back in 2018, getting in costume as Danny and Sandy for the first time in four decades for a sing-along showing and Q&A.

Listen to Olivia Newton-John's full interview on the A Life of Greatness podcast here.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.