Obviously, Megan Fox is not exactly a pure feminist ideal, and it’s pretty stupid to say of a director you’re working with on a lucrative franchise (if you want to continue working on that franchise), “He’s like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad-man reputation. He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is.” Still, I’m less than charmed to learn that Steven Spielberg urged Bay to fire Fox over the incident, rather than having her in for a talk, or whatever. This is the same Steven Spielberg, of course, who has made precisely one movie with a female main character who doesn’t share lead duties with a dude. And, you know, not everyone has to make their life’s work making movies with female leads or nurturing young actresses or breaking down Hollywood’s gender barriers. But maybe when you’re one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, you don’t have to use that clout to land all over young actresses, either.
At the end of the day, Megan Fox may not have been a pro on the Transformers set, and she may have been a jerk in the press. But Alex Pettyfer can behave like a spoiled brat on multiple pictures and in negotiations, and there can be allegations that he’s a slightly scary control freak, and he’s fine to the extent that he’s the star of Steven Soderbergh’s next movie. Fox is not the ideal spokeswoman for feminism in Hollywood, she’s the kind of unideal victim Gloria Allred specializes in. But crying a lack of professionalism is a pretty good way to defang critics who are saying things that cut to the heart of your flaws. Or to distract folks from the likely awfulness of the movie you’re about to foist on American audiences.
Either way, maybe Steven Spielberg should consider using his powers for a greater good than saving Michael Bay from having people say mean things about him in the press.