As the cast and crew (with one notable exception–more on that in a moment) of West Side Story continue to promote the film and push for awards nominations, three of the movie’s stars have weighed in on the sexual assault allegations made against their co-star, Ansel Elgort.
The accusations first arose in June 2020, after filming was complete, when a woman identified as “Gabby” on social media accused the actor of having a sexual relationship with her when she was 17 and he was 20.
Gabby recalled an uncomfortable sexual encounter with Elgort, in which she claimed she lost her virginity. She also alleged that he asked her for nude photos and to have a threesome.
Elgort denied the allegations on social media, saying the pair had a “brief, legal and entirely consensual.” He also admitted that he “did not handle the breakup well” and eventually ghosted the teenager.
Both posts from Gabby and Elgort have since been deleted.
This week, Rita Moreno, Rachel Zegler, and Ariana DeBose participated in a story on Latina women in Hollywood for The Hollywood Reporter. When asked about the allegations against Elgort, all three women didn’t hesitate to answer.
Their answers, however, left many scratching their heads.
“We made a movie two and a half years ago, and a lot has gone on in the world since then,” Zegler said of Elgort, who plays her love interest.
She continued, “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.”
“Nobody really knows what’s going on in anyone’s head,” DeBose added. “Only the people who were involved in that situation know what actually went down.”
But perhaps most surprisingly, and the most disappointing, response came from Moreno, herself a survivor of sexual assault.
“I think it would have been absolutely horrendous and wrong for anyone to take sides in that matter,” she said. “It’s not for me to make those judgments.”
Ansel Elgort has largely avoided doing press for West Side Story despite playing the lead in the film. Director Steven Speilberg has also refused to comment on the allegations against the star.
True to form, Twitter weighed in with both supporters and detractors gunning for Elgort and his co-stars…
tw / rape mention
honestly, i think i preferred it when y’all were mum on the topic of ansel elgort cause this is bad. like the first time yall directly address ansel elgort being a rapist and it gets brushed away as “no one really knows what happened” + “wrong to take sides”? https://t.co/sEUiHYdRyt pic.twitter.com/z09ZXruzGG
— sk (@kirkxxs) January 26, 2022
cw // ansel elgort
why does rita defend ansel more than she defends natalie wood I actually hate it here
— chino's lawyer (@sayitsoft) January 26, 2022
THREE FUCKING WOMEN sit there and defend rat ass ansel elgort rather than the victims??? wowwww https://t.co/4PLgR1arrr
— nora ? catrry is real (@poIaroidrry) January 26, 2022
Ansel Elgort sucks, but stop acting like they knew he was a abuser when they cast him pic.twitter.com/tQ9gjEd0Df
— Marcy Webb (@asexualflower) January 3, 2022
its actually so so funny how award ceremonies are nominating every leading cast member in west side story except for ansel elgort ?
— eli (@inccptions) January 12, 2022
so rachel zegler, ariana debose and rita moreno just defended ansel elgort from all his rape and harassment allegations and y'all are going to pretend nothing happened????? pic.twitter.com/XFhuCxGbKf
— mei ?? (@brooklyntveit) January 26, 2022
insane ppl twitter: rachel zegler was in a movie with ansel elgort before allegations against him came out therefore she supports s*xual assault!
rachel zegler in actuality: pic.twitter.com/5qItFHSjny
— arielle 🙂 (@sapphicdyad) January 24, 2022