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Olivia Wilde Is Receiving Backlash Over Her Post Praising Harry Styles For Taking A Role In A Woman-Led Movie

"We genuinely don't have to pelt men with meals and trophies for acting like the women they work with are people. It is their obligation to do so."

Posted on February 16, 2021, at 6:23 a.m. ET

Olivia Wilde's recent praise of Harry Styles has sparked a debate online about the standards men are held to.

Axelle / FilmMagic

The whole thing started when Olivia, who's reportedly been dating Harry since January, posted a tribute to him and his work on her latest movie, Don't Worry Darling.

Ian West - Pa Images / Getty Images

Olivia, who is the director behind the project, praised Harry for not outshining the women in the film.

"Little known fact," she began the post. "Most male actors don’t want to play supporting roles in female-led films. The industry has raised them to believe it lessens their power (i.e financial value) to accept these roles, which is one of the reasons it’s so hard to get financing for movies focusing on female stories."

"No joke, it is harrrrrd to find actors who recognize why it might be worth it to allow for a woman to hold the spotlight. Enter: @harrystyles, our 'Jack,'" she continued.

"Not only did he relish the opportunity to allow for the brilliant @florencepugh to hold center stage as our 'Alice', but he infused every scene with a nuanced sense of humanity," she went on.

"He didn't have to join our circus, but he jumped on board with humility and grace, and blew us away every day with his talent, warmth, and ability to drive backwards," she signed off.

While many people loved the post, others took issue with what they perceived as a man being praised for doing "the bare minimum" by getting on with his work and not being sexist.

i love olivia wilde but girl 😐 why are we praising men for doing the bare minimum. it's literally his job https://t.co/cPTsfXHGoc

"I love Harry more than the next girl, but seriously...Olivia Wilde praising him for being in a movie starring a woman is the most bare minimum level shit," one Twitter user said. "Like, I'm not going to applaud Harry for not being sexist."

I love Harry more than the next girl, but seriously...Olivia Wilde praising him for being in a movie starring a woman is the most bare minimum level shit...like I’m not going to applaud Harry for not being sexist just say he’s charming and pretty next time, liv, we’ll understand

"So we are celebrating an emerging male actor for doing the job he was hired to do," journalist Hanna Flint wrote. "We get it, you love him and he is great but this one is for bare minimum Twitter."

So we are celebrating an emerging male actor for doing the job he was hired to do? We get it, you love him and he is great but this one is for bare minimum Twitter.

Twitter: @HannaFlint

Others, like author Jude Ellison S. Doyle, said men shouldn't receive undue praise for simply "acting like the women they work with are people."

Did we not just go through the 5,000th Disillusioning Reveal About Joss Whedon? We genuinely don't have to pelt men with medals and trophies for acting like the women they work with are people, it is their obligation to do so. https://t.co/ASbvbS7f4i

"The craving for the Feminist Male Role Model is real," he added. "But you don't have to hand a Pulitzer to every dude who says 'sexism is bad.'"

The craving for the Feminist Male Role Model is real. People want to know that you can opt out of toxic masculinity, that better things are possible. It might even be more intense if you're not a woman! But you don't have to hand a Pulitzer to every dude who says "sexism is bad."

"It is bizarre that she thinks someone with one released acting project where he had a minor role deserves such a massive round of applause for conceding the lead to a literally Oscar-nominated actor," said journalist Roisin O'Connor.

It is bizarre that she thinks someone with one released acting project where he had a minor role deserves such a massive round of applause for conceding the lead to a literally Oscar-nominated actor https://t.co/wkNhb8hHLz

Others pointed out the irony of Olivia dedicating an entire post to Harry despite it being a woman-led movie.

there’s a lot of irony in the fact that the first I’m hearing of olivia wilde’s new movie is how she cast harry styles and how men often don’t want to be side characters in female led films... now all the media attention is on harry and the photo she posted of him, so...??

Twitter: @cupcakeandy

Not Olivia Wilde talking about how the movie is all about a woman and then making the entire caption about praising Harry 💀

Twitter: @sirennarry

olivia wilde: to celebrate this strong female lead, i’m gonna celebrate the amazing fantastic ground breaking revolutionary male supporting role🥺❤️

Twitter: @swiftshaim

Others suggested that attention and praise should be heaped on people other than supporting male actors.

olivia wilde: won’t SOMEONE think of the supporting male actors?!?? https://t.co/NDFZSQFCWY

Twitter: @gloomstalker

And said that focusing on Harry detracted from the abilities of the women in the cast.

not Olivia Wilde trying to tell us that Florence Pugh being fucking awesome is all thanks to her casting her boyfriend

While others said that her centering of Harry took focus away from the rest of the movie as a whole.

olivia wilde is trending again. for directing a highly anticipated star studded movie that is pioneering covid safe cinema? no. for who she might be dating. sexism is alive and well.

Twitter: @fullmoonyelena

its basically been reduced to a pr stunt and its sad cos its got brilliant actors in it who deserve all the love but all we’re being forced to focus on is harry styles and olivia wilde and while I’m so proud of harry, the film isn’t supposed to be all about him???

Twitter: @petitsoleil91

However, others drew attention to the fact that Olivia reportedly fired Shia LaBeouf from the movie last year, maintaining that she had a "no assholes on set" policy.

Axelle / FilmMagic

They defended Olivia's post by suggesting that her firing of Shia and praise of Harry was an attempt to highlight the rampant toxic masculinity in the movie industry.

how are ppl not getting that olivia wilde’s instagram post ab harry is meant to be a diss at how hard it was to work w shia labeouf in the beginning like she isn’t just praising harry for doing his job

"Olivia shading men in Hollywood for being unwilling to step back while women take the lead and the media trying to say she's only praising her boyfriend is PEAK misogyny," one person wrote.

olivia shading men in hollywood (shia labeouf) for being unwilling to step back while women take the lead and the media trying to say she’s only praising her boyfriend is PEAK misogyny. as an actress and a director, she knows first hand what men in hollywood are like to women.

Twitter: @styIesism

"Olivia was praising Harry for lifting up another woman, praising him for wanting a film directed by a woman whose film revolves around the life of a woman to succeed and do well when she'd experienced a man (Shia) wanting the opposite for her film," another said.

olivia was praising harry for lifting up another woman, praising him for wanting a film directed by a woman whose film revolves around the life of a woman to succeed and do well when she’d experienced a man (shia) wanting the opposite for her film. why do yall hate women so much?

Twitter: @adeleftharry

"This only shows the hidden misogyny because Olivia made one post about Harry praising his very good work while still trying to speak about how vile men can be in the industry, and you took it as an opportunity to discredit her entire work?" another person said.

as an opportunity to discredit her entire work just bc you cant stand him, and fine, you dont like him? okay, but stop coming for olivia n harry, like out of all people??? stop hopping on the hate train just to seem quirky bc newsflash!!!! YOU ARE NOT

Twitter: @sunnytemptrss

"The bigger issue is the fact that Olivia even has to thank him for playing a supporting role to a woman because of assholes like Shia," said another fan.

the bigger issue is the fact that Olivia even has to thank him for playing a supporting role to a woman because of assholes like Shia—but people wanna focus on a false narrative...k

Twitter: @IndyaJazmine

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.