Jessica Chastain has been branded a hypocrite after signing up to star in and produce a film directed and written by convicted domestic abuser Matthew Newton.
Although Jessica has been a vocal supporter of the Time’s Up movement and claimed she ensures she factors in her belief in gender equality into her choices of project, she is producing and will play the title character in Matthew’s new film Eve.
The 41-year-old Australian has a chequered past, as in 2007 he pleaded guilty to physically assaulting his then girlfriend, former Neighbours actress Brooke Satchwell, a conviction that was later quashed. Three years later another partner, Jessica Jones star Rachael Taylor, also obtained a two-year domestic violence court order against him after an alleged assault – which he was later charged with breaking.
Aussie film critic and broadcaster Mark Fennell pointed out on Twitter that the Molly’s Game star’s decision to work with Matthew contradicted her words in an interview with him earlier this year (18).
“I’ve always made choices, in all the work that I’ve done, to make sure that on any film set that I’m working with people that there isn’t a question about whether or not abuse has taken place,” she told him on Australian news show The Feed. “It’s very important to me that I practise what I preach, and that my actions follow my words.”
Social media users were quick to accuse Jessica behaving hypocritically, or of making a mistake in working with Matthew without checking out his past. Author Rosie Waterland tweeted that she hoped the Hollywood star would drop Matthew and “follow through on practicing (sic) what she preaches”, while another angry user slammed her decision “peak white feminism”.
In a joint statement announcing the production last week (end5Aug18), Jessica and Kelly Carmichael, the production and development boss at the star’s company Freckle Films, said they were “fans” of Matthew’s work and were “thrilled to be partnering him”.
Representatives of the 41-year-old actress did not respond to a request for comment and she is yet to address the controversy on social media.
Last year the actor turned filmmaker called his past actions “intolerable” and blamed them on his past struggles with drink and drug addiction.