Some of the most popular and successful films being made today are superhero films. The action-packed movies bring in billions to their studios, and Disney is no exception. In recent history, some of The Walt Disney Company’s most successful films have been based on comic book heroes — including Captain America, The Avengers, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Thor, and, most recently, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever stars Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Tenoch Huerta. Before the film’s highly anticipated release, the production was plagued with several devastating hardships. In 2020, star Chadwick Boseman — who played King T’Challa AKA Black Panther in the original movie — passed away at age 43 from colon cancer. His death shook the entire cast and crew and left writers wondering how to honor his character in the new film.
During production on the sequel, Letitia Wright — who played T’Challa’s sister Shuri — not only suffered a severe injury that paused production for weeks, but was also the subject of negative news when she shared an anti-vaccination video during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she quickly deleted the video and apologized for sharing it.
Even though the incident happened two years ago, Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter, wrote that the video may have impacted Wright’s Oscar chances. Feinberg wrote a piece about how this year’s Oscar contenders may be judged more on their personal lives than their acting and, along with Wright, also mentioned Will Smith and his infamous Oscar’s slap, and Brad Pitt — who has been accused by ex-wife Angelina Jolie of child abuse.
What made things worse — and caught Wright’s attention — was the fact that Feinberg mentioned other problematic and dangerous people in Hollywood — including alleged predator and rapist Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, who famously had a relationship with his underage stepdaughter, and Roman Polanski, who drugged and sexually assaulted a young girl.
Wright was enraged by the article and called out both The Hollywood Reporter and Feinberg in her Instagram story.
“I had to unblock @ TheHollywoodReporter just to post this. Scott Feinberg and all at this publication. You’re incredibly disrespectful. How dare you. You mentioned my name alongside men who have been accused of abuse and sexual misconduct.”
“I’ve remained silent as the world told me to kill myself two years ago for a video I posted and apologized for. I kept my head down and focused on my craft. And now I’m at the other side of it. Here you are, as a so called journalist we are meant to trust, putting my name into this nasty article for what?”
“At this point, a personal vendetta towards me. I’ve done nothing wrong but respectfully refused to do interviews with this publication. Stop your nonsense. I apologized TWO years ago.”
“You lied and said I continued talking about it with my cast & crew on my set. THIS WAS NOT TRUE. ASK MY PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR. The film was successful. Your agenda towards me is now even more clear. I won’t remain silent. Stop your disgusting behavior.”
Feinberg has not apologized for grouping Wright with predators and abusers, but The Hollywood Reporter said that it stands by its reporting and said in the article that Wright’s actions were not as egregious as others mentioned in the article. They sent an official comment to The New York Post:
“I sincerely appreciate the feedback and dialogue surrounding this column. While the intent was not to equate Letitia Wright’s situation with others mentioned in the article and we underscored that in the story (which was assigned to Scott), we also understand that some saw this in a different way. We have featured Letitia on our cover and cited her great talent in reviews and look forward to continuing to chronicle her career.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently in theaters and crushing the box office.