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Amandla Stenberg defends messaging New York Times film critic

Amandla Stenberg

Amandla Stenberg
Photo: Cindy Ord (Getty Images)

On Thursday, Bodies Bodies Bodies actor Amandla Stenberg posted a series of videos on Instagram defending a controversial DM she sent to New York Times film critic Lena Wilson, following the critics’ review of the slasher-comedy which referred to the film doubling “as a 95-minute advertisement for cleavage,” according to Variety. The actor’s response comes after Wilson posted the original Instagram DM online, causing a wave of criticism towards Stenberg from supporters of the film critic.

“Your review was great,” wrote Stenberg in her message to Wilson. “Maybe if you had gotten your eyes off my tits you would’ve watched the movie!”

Posting the Instagram DM onto their TikTok account, Wilson commented that they were “devastated” by Stenberg’s message, saying, “I’m posting it because I don’t want this person who has more social power than me to think that it’s fucking okay to do something like this.”

After a day’s worth of backlash online, Stenberg responded to all of the criticism via her Instagram, saying that she meant to come off as joking in her message to Wilson.

“I’m receiving a lot of commentary on the internet for being a very naughty girl and for sending a DM that I thought was hilarious,” said The Hate U Give star. “There’s this film critic and her name is Lena Wilson. She wrote a criticism of a movie I just had come out called Bodies Bodies Bodies. She described in her review the movie as a ‘95 minute advertisement for cleavage,’ which I thought was hilarious. I’m proud that a piece of work I was a part of was described as such in such a renowned publication.”

After releasing a bit of laughter, Stenberg continued, “I thought it was hilarious. I thought because Lena is gay, and I am also gay, I thought that as gay people we would both find this comment funny. I was also curious to know what Lena would say to such a statement. Lena decided to publish it and also says that I am homophobic for saying that.”

In the video, Stenberg explained that one of her reasons behind messaging Wilson’s line focusing on cleavage continued the actor’s multiple career experiences of others discussing her appearance since she was a teenager.

“It’s quite surprising the amount of commentary I receive on my boobs is so extreme,” Stenberg added. “I wore this tank top in this movie because me and the costumed designer felt it fit the character well. I do get tired of people talking about my chest. There seems to be a lot of unwarranted conversation about my chest.”

Stenberg finished off the video by saying, “Lena, I thought your review was hilarious. I thought my DM was funny. I did not mean to harass you. I do not wish you any harm. You are allowed to have your criticism on my work and I’m allowed to have my criticisms of your work. I wish you the best.”

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