Greta Gerwig responds to Barbie criticism after right-wing backlash

Greta Gerwig responds to Barbie criticism after right-wing backlash
‘Barbie’ sequel in doubt as Gerwig ponders what’s next amidst whirlwind success

Barbie director Greta Gerwig has responded to the torrent of hate that rightwingers in the US have directed at the film, saying it’s “an invitation for everybody to be part of the party”.

Speaking to the New York Times, Gerwig was asked if she had anticipated the degree of woke-bashing that rightwing critics have engaged in since the film came out, with some calling it a “man-hating” movie.

Gerwig said: “Certainly, there’s a lot of passion. My hope for the movie is that it’s an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men.”

She added: “I hope that in all of that passion, if they see it or engage with it, it can give them some of the relief that it gave other people.”

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Barbie’s feminist themes have sparked rage from influencers like Ben Shapiro, who made a bizarre Youtube video last week in which he burned Barbie dolls.

Ginger Luckey Gaetz, wife of Republican congressman Matt Gaetz, said the movie “neglects to address any notion of faith or family, and tries to normalise the idea that men and women can’t collaborate positively”.

James Gourley/Getty Images

Gerwig also responded to criticism that Mattel, which owns the Barbie doll range and executive produced the movie, interfered in the production creatively, in a scene where a character described the dolls as “sexist and fascist”.

She said: “It wasn’t like I ever got the full seal of approval from [Mattel], like, ‘We love it!’ I got a tentative, ‘Well, OK. I see that you are going to do this, so go ahead and we’ll see how it goes.’

“But that’s all you need, and I had faith once it was in there and they saw it that they would embrace it, not fight it. Maybe at the end of the day, my will to have it in was stronger than any other will to take it out.”

The backlash has been strong, but the support has been stronger, with Barbie already breaking the record for the highest-ever opening weekend for a female director at $356m.

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