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Sydney Sweeney’s team fires back at producer who said ‘she’s not pretty’ and ‘can’t act’

Nardine Saad – Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Sydney Sweeney’s team fired back at Hollywood producer Carol Baum for her “shameful” disparagement of the actor, calling Baum out for not supporting a fellow female producer.

Baum recently publicized her befuddlement over the “Euphoria” star’s booming popularity, marked by Sweeney’s roles in “The White Lotus,” “Madame Web” and “Immaculate.” But Baum appeared to be especially irked by Sweeney’s hit rom-com “Anyone But You,” a modern adaption of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” prompting the producer to survey her film students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts about Sweeney’s appeal.

“I watched this unwatchable movie — sorry to people who love this movie —[this] romantic comedy where they hate each other,” Baum said during a New York screening of her 1988 film “Dead Ringers” (via Daily Mail). “I said to my class, ‘Explain this girl to me. She’s not pretty, she can’t act. Why is she so hot?”’

The “Father of the Bride” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” producer said none of the students had an answer, but one student asked, “If you could get your movie made because [Sweeney] was in it, would you do it?”

“I said, ‘Well that’s a really good question … that’s a very hard question to answer because we all want to get the movie made and who walks away from a green light? Nobody I know. Your job is to get the movie made,” she said.

The producer’s remarks swept quickly across the internet, launching another round of think pieces about the 26-year-old star and her looks. The Emmy nominated actor has been the subject of fiery discourse since her explicit role in HBO’s gritty “Euphoria” and her part in the critically panned “Madame Web.” And her black leather chaps-wearing starring role in the video for the Rolling Stones‘s song “Angry” helped introduce “Hackney Diamonds,” the band’s first album of original material in 18 years. She’s also become a beacon of femininity embraced by the far right following her high-profile “Saturday Night Live” hosting gig. However, Sweeney’s team didn’t lean much into that, instead lamenting Baum’s missed opportunity to support another woman in their cutthroat industry.

“How sad that a woman in the position to share her expertise and experience chooses instead to attack another woman,” a spokesperson for Sweeney said Thursday in a statement to The Times. “If that’s what she’s learned in her decades in the industry and feels is appropriate to teach to her students, that’s shameful.”

“To unjustly disparage a fellow female producer speaks volumes about Ms. Baum’s character,” the statement said.

Representatives for Baum did not immediately respond Thursday to The Times’ request for additional comment. However, the “Creative Producing” author expressed regret over her comments, telling TMZ that she wishes she never made her original remarks and that criticizing an actor in public usually isn’t her style. She also said that she received hate mail over the incident.

“Immaculate” co-producer Teddy Schwarzman came to Sweeney’s defense Wednesday on X, formerly Twitter, typing a glowing testimonial about the horror-film star while also cutting down Baum.

“As a producer of #Immaculate, I’ll enlighten Ms. Baum that two-time Emmy nominee Sydney Sweeney is not only one of the most talented actresses I’ve worked with, but also incredibly smart, kind and humble,” the “Mudbound” and “Imitation Game” producer tweeted. “I’m not sure why someone who claims to still be a producer would make such terribly ugly comments, but I can assure everyone that Sydney is at least beautiful on the inside. And, of course, a badass Scream Queen.”

On Thursday, the film and TV star’s former acting coach Scott Sedita told TMZ that Sweeney is a well-trained actor whose career started when she was just a teenager.

“Sydney is beautiful because she has inner depth, intellect, compassion, style and facial features — eyes, smile, cheekbones — that the camera angles pick up on. The camera loves her ‘look’ as well as the audience. Audiences love her because she’s relatable and approachable,” he said.

In March, while promoting “Immaculate,” the actor acknowledged the intense scrutiny she faces and is aware that people have objectified her since she was quite young. “I kind of just have to take [it] day by day and just keep being myself,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show. “I think that it’s just — of course, it’s not natural. I’m just trying to figure out how to deal with all of it.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale” actor told Variety earlier this month that she sees how people write and talk about her body, but she “can’t allow” herself to react to it.

“People feel connected and free to be able to speak about me in whatever way they want, because they believe that I’ve signed my life away,” she said. “That I’m not on a human level anymore, because I’m an actor.”

In a recent interview with The Times, Sweeney noted that “nothing about this industry is normal. And I think it’s really important to remember that.”

©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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