Trigger warning: sexual assault, rape
When a star’s name appears on the trending bar, it often means something terrible has befallen them. Like death,
In the case of Natalie Wood, this is true. But the iconic actor's place on Twitter’s top trends this morning was not due to her recent passing – Wood drowned tragically and mysteriously in 1981.
Instead, Wood’s re-appearance in internet conversation is due to the death of fellow Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas, who has passed away at age 103.
But people aren’t sharing any fond memories of Douglas and Wood, who co-starred together in a number of films.
Rather, they’re reminding others of the alleged claim that Douglas raped a 16-year-old Wood in 1954.
The allegation was first brought to mainstream attention by a blogger in 2012, but never corroborated completely and Douglas was never charged.
In 2018, Wood’s sister, Lana, claimed that her sister had been assaulted by a powerful Hollywood actor at 16 but did not name the individual in question.
In an interview with The New York Times, she told a reporter that after Natalie's star turn in Rebel Without a Cause, her sister was invited to an audition at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in LA.
According to Lana, Natalie emerged hysterical, telling her mother and sister she had been raped by an actor twice her age.
Her mother reportedly instructed Natalie to keep it a secret.
Wood never spoke about the supposed assault. While her sister has said the story is true, she has not disclosed the identity of the person who assaulted Wood.
That didn't prevent people from calling out the Golden Globes in 2018 – the year that #MeToo activists wore black to protest sexual harassment in Hollywood – for honouring Douglas.
And in the wake of Douglas’s death, they’re reviving the accusation.
Some are taking a subtler approach to the claims.
So far, we don’t know the truth what may have happened between Kirk Douglas and Natalie Wood, who famously died in 1981 under mysterious circumstances.
But remembering the actress for her pioneering career – which included three Oscar nominations before she was 25 – is a good way to honour her.