Disney Actress “Wildly Disappointed” By Reaction to Sexual Assault Allegations

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Ansel Elgort as Tony (left) and Rachel Zegler as Maria (right)

Credit: 20th Century Studios

West Side Story (2021) star Rachel Zegler will continue her journey with The Walt Disney Company in the leading role Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs.

Ansel Elgort as Tony (left) and Rachel Zegler as Maria (right)
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: “He’s Not King Dwarf,” Other Actors Blast Peter Dinklage’s ‘Snow White’ Backlash

She will be joined by former Miss Israel, Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984, Death on the Nile), who will portray the Evil Queen. The male lead will be played by Broadway actor Andrew Burnap. This part has been created specifically for this new version of the classic fairytale, which was Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first feature-length film in 1937.

Recently, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has come under fire from both fans and Game of Thrones alum Peter Dinklage. Dinklage has expressed concern regarding the “backwards” direction of casting a Latina leading lady, while still telling a story about “seven dwarfs living in a cave together.”

snow white and seven dwarfs dancing in cottage
Credit: Disney

Related: ‘Once Upon a Time’ Creators’ New Show Flops With ABC, Series Scrapped

Zegler, however, has found herself continually addressing another controversy, this time involving her West Side Story costar, Ansel Elgort (The Fault In Our Stars, Divergent). A prior People article shared details about the unfortunate allegations, which came to light several years after the incident allegedly occurred:

In June 2020, Elgort was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in 2014 when he was 20. The woman (a Twitter user named Gabby who shared the claims on social media) also alleged that he tried to solicit nude photos from her at the time and asked to have a threesome.

Ansel Elgort as Tony
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: 20th Century Fox Made an Illegal Deal to Show ‘Star Wars’ In Theaters

Now, Zegler has shared new thoughts regarding the situation. Speaking to Elle, the Snow White leading lady said:

“[There is] inherent discomfort that comes with the realization that there are tons of people who think that you have to answer for the actions of an adult male who can speak for himself. It is so wildly disappointing at every turn, no matter how you slice it. No matter how many times I’ve tried to justify people’s concern when it comes to me in my brain, but then realizing that it comes from a place of me having to answer for that, and not them actually caring about whether or not I was okay, was really hurtful.”

Rachel Zegler as Maria
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: Disney Now Claims Tinker Bell and Captain Hook Are “Potentially Problematic”

Zegler went on to say that she has felt that “our experiences as women in the industry [she and her fellow West Side Story cast members] who constantly find ourselves in close encounters with men in power” have been largely ignored.

Previously, Rita Moreno (Valentina) — who also famously played Anita in the 1961 version of West Side Story — has also weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Steven Spielberg film. She shared many scenes with Elgort and noted, “I think it would have been absolutely horrendous and wrong for anyone to take sides in that matter. It’s not for me to make those judgments.”

rita moreno in west side story
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: DC Star Reportedly Arrested For Assault After Striking Woman With Chair

At the time of publication, no charges have officially been filed against Elgort. Zegler’s comments, though, may serve to move the conversation regarding the general reaction to sexual assault allegations in the Hollywood community forward regardless of whether Elgort ever faces formal charges.

More on West Side Story

Ariana DeBose as Anita
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: ‘Mandalorian’ Actor Facing Underage Sexual Assault Lawsuit

The official description of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story reads, in part:

Directed by Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Tony Kushner, “West Side Story” tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. This reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works); and introducing Rachel Zegler (Maria.) Moreno – one of only three artists to be honored with Academy®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, Tony® and Peabody Awards – also serves as one of the film’s executive producers. Bringing together the best of both Broadway and Hollywood, the film’s creative team includes Kushner, who also served as an executive producer.

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