As social media is wont to do, a single tweet can set off an entire new approach to an issue.
So it has been with actor Megan Fox, since a stream of tweets about her experience in Hollywood as a child star and beyond have caused a re-assessment of her treatment at hands of everyone from directors to the press.
Fox famously became a bona fide sex symbol the mid-00s. She later said the attention led to her having a “psychological breakdown”.
"It wasn't just that movie, it was every day of my life, all the time, with every project I worked on and every producer I worked with. It preceded a breaking point for me. I think I had a genuine psychological breakdown where I wanted just nothing to do,” Fox told Entertainment Tonight in 2019.
"I didn't want to be seen, I didn't want to have to take a photo, do a magazine, walk a carpet, I didn't want to be seen in public at all because of the fear, and the belief, and the absolute certainty that I was going to be mocked, or spat at, or someone was going to yell at me, or people would stone me or savage me for just being out... so I went through a very dark moment after that”.
The actor, who made her acting debut aged 15, also said that she felt like when she spoke about being objectified and harassed, she was ignored.
"I feel like I was sort of out and in front of the #MeToo movement before the #MeToo movement happened, I was speaking out and saying, 'Hey, these things are happening to me and they're not ok,’” she said in the same interview.
"And everyone was like, 'Oh well, f**k you. We don't care, you deserve it.' Because everybody talked about how you looked or how you dressed or the jokes you made”.
But now people are listening. And social media users have collected several pieces of evidence that paint a shocking picture of Fox’s experience.
First was a video of Fox recounting a story of her appearance as an extra in Bad Boys II aged just 15.
She told the story on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show in 2009.
“I had just turned 15 and I was an extra in Bad Boys II,” Fox said to Kimmel. “They were shooting this club scene and they brought me in and I was wearing a stars and stripes bikini and a red cowboy hat and six-inch heels.
“He approved it and they said [to director Michael Bay], ‘Michael, she’s 15 so you can’t sit her at the bar and she can’t have a drink in her hand.’ So his solution to that problem was to then have me dancing underneath a waterfall getting soaking wet.
“At 15, I was in 10th grade. That’s kind of a microcosm of how Bay’s mind works”.
Kimmel’s reaction is to laugh and say:
Yeah, well that’s really a microcosm of how all our minds work. Some of us have the decency to repress those thoughts and pretend that they don’t exist.
The Twitter user who posted the clip wrote in the accompanying caption that:
Teen girls being preyed on by older men has never been taken seriously and still isn’t.
Similarly, another social media user dug up an open letter allegedly written after Fox called Bay out for her treatment on the set of Transformers and for allegedly making her audition by washing his car in a bikini.
At the time, people suspected the “open letter” was written by Bay himself, but whether it was him or not, it betrays how the actor was perceived.
In it the authors write of Fox’s “tight stomach” and say she is “dumb-as-a-rock”, “the queen of [...] posing like a porn star,” and reveal intimate details about the position of Fox’s tattoos.
At one point, it’s suggested that “being a porn star in future might be a good career option”.
There was also a reminder of Fox’s appearance in Two and a Half Men aged 16, where her story arc was being “too sexy for her age,” with both middle-aged leads wanting to have sex with her.
The chatter about Fox also led to people remembering the (criminally underrated) horror film Jennifer’s Body, in which Fox gave an incredible performance.
Two things: Megan Fox was a victim of an industry that took advantage of her, and what Michael Bay did was disgusti… https://t.co/d85A2hYcoT
— In the Mouth of Mattness (@In the Mouth of Mattness)
That, and her run in New Girl, were held up as rejoinders to Bay’s claims that she couldn’t act.
But Fox wasn’t even safe on the set of Jennifer’s Body – as one person noted, a paparazzi photographer snuck onto the set to try and snap photos of her filming a nude scene.
People are now swearing to support Fox’s work.
@INDIEWASHERE We’re gonna bring her career back no doubt