During Sunday’s Academy Awards broadcast, Disney unveiled the teaser trailer for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of West Side Story. And while movie fans were obviously thrilled to see the first look at Spielberg’s take on one of the most iconic American movies ever made, that joy was short-lived as the presence of lead actor Ansel Elgort reignited the conversation around his sexual assault allegations.
Last year, Elgort, the 27-year-old star of films such as The Fault in Our Stars and Baby Driver, was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl back in 2014, when the actor was 20 years old. Elgort has since denied the allegations, stating that the relationship was both legal and consensual. Furthermore, no charges have been filed against Elgort at this time.
“I have never and would never assault anyone,” Elgort wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post. “What is true is that in New York in 2014, when I was 20, Gabby and I had a brief, legal and entirely consensual relationship. Unfortunately, I did not handle the breakup well. I stopped responding to her, which is an immature and cruel thing to do to someone. I know this belated apology does not absolve me of my unacceptable behavior when I disappeared.”
Woman comes forward with sexual assault allegation against #AnselElgort:
“I was only 17.” pic.twitter.com/NofXkxVSpn
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) June 19, 2020
Despite Elgort’s denial, the court of public opinion certainly doesn’t seem prepared to absolve him, as the allegations against him immediately resurfaced following the release of the West Side Story trailer on Sunday night.
It is perfectly fine to want West Side Story to succeed for all the people who worked on it not named Ansel Elgort
— Kenjac (@JackKennedy) April 26, 2021
Me in the theater when Ansel Elgort gets shot at the end of West Side Story pic.twitter.com/VEdNDlruIV
— Oluwajomiloju (@JomiAdeniran) April 26, 2021
here’s how we can repace ansel elgort in west side story pic.twitter.com/ooebq7xSVV
— binz (@ruegloss) April 26, 2021
whoever edited that west side story trailer trying to hide ansel elgort pic.twitter.com/hQUimASJsW
— 𝐋𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐚 (@sincesuburbia) April 26, 2021
when ansel elgort popped up during the west side story trailer pic.twitter.com/nV75NPWDok
— wiLL (@willfulchaos) April 26, 2021
the editors of the West Side Story trailer really put Ansel Elgort in like this 💀💀💀 pic.twitter.com/VS8urQZq8Q
— Johnny (@jackthizzzle) April 26, 2021
The West Side Story be looking so good then BOOM Ansel Elgort appears
— T'Challa Stan (@KhameekJ03) April 26, 2021
tw // sexual assault
with the west side story trailer being out i'd just like to remind people that ansel elgort has sexual assault allegations against him and we should always believe survivors first
— ً (@dilfavoys) April 26, 2021
Movie looks good and I wish Rachel Zegler all the luck.
But… Fuck Ansel Elgort https://t.co/8GLrL1Wdoq
— Daniel Richtman #BlackLivesMatter (@DanielRPK) April 26, 2021
With West Side Story set to release on December 10, it will be fascinating to see how Disney handles the marketing and press tour for the film, particularly as far as Elgort is concerned. As fans have pointed out, his presence is noticeably absent from the first trailer, which perhaps suggests the studio is already trying to sweep his presence as far under the rug as they can.