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Rachel Zegler Breaks Her Silence On West Side Story Co-Star Ansel Elgort's Sexual Assault Scandal

Rachel Zegler Ansel Elgort sexual assault allegations

Rachel Zegler is finally sharing her thoughts about her onscreen love interest’s sexual assault allegations.

As you likely know — but everyone in the Hollywood press and Oscar conversations seem to have forgotten — Ansel Elgort’s reputation took a big hit in June 2020 when he was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in 2014 when he was 20. At the time the allegations came out, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake, in which Ansel plays the lead Tony, was already filmed.

The musical’s release was then postponed because of the pandemic and ultimately hit theaters in December, so there was naturally an elephant in the room — especially considering his leading lady in the film was ALSO 17 years old. Yikes.

Related: Rachel Apologizes For Dramatic Reading Of Britney Spears’ Tweets To Jamie Lynn

Ansel and his castmates noticeably avoided the subject while doing press for the film. But now, Zegler, who plays Elgort’s love interest Maria, has finally addressed the scandal in a Hollywood Reporter cover story. She said:

“We made a movie two and a half years ago, and a lot has gone on in the world since then. A lot has changed very publicly, and privately as well. There’s been a lot of awakening. You just hope that the people involved are okay, that they are asked in a respectful manner and that they are given the opportunity to answer for themselves.”

A rather diplomatic answer, no? Almost like they’re still trying to ignore the elephant until award season is over…

Rachel wasn’t the only WSS cast member who gave that kind of response. Hollywood legend Rita Moreno, who shared most of her scenes with Elgort, said:

“I think it would have been absolutely horrendous and wrong for anyone to take sides in that matter. It’s not for me to make those judgments.”

Right, why listen to a woman when it’s a he said/she said situation? It would have been so wrong…

Meanwhile, Ariana DeBose offered:

“Nobody really knows what’s going on in anyone’s head. Only the people who were involved in that situation know what actually went down.”

Here’s what we do know: Ansel’s accuser, a Twitter user named Gabby, shared the claims on social media, alleging that he tried to solicit nude photos from her at the time and asked to have a threesome. She gave a lengthy and shudder-worthy account of him pushing her into sex she wasn’t ready for despite her age. There were photos of the two together.

The Fault in Our Stars actor issued a statement at the time, saying he has “never and would never assault anyone,” and admitted only that they had a “brief, legal and entirely consensual relationship.” Sharing his side of the story, he added:

“I was distressed to see the social media posts about me that have been circulating in the past 24 hours. I cannot claim to understand Gabby’s feelings but her description of events is simply not what happened. I have never and would never assault anyone. What is true is that in New York in 2014, when I was 20, Gabby and I had a brief, legal and entirely consensual relationship. Unfortunately, I did not handle the breakup well. I stopped responding to her, which is an immature and cruel thing to do to someone. I know this belated apology does not absolve me of my unacceptable behavior when I disappeared. As I look back at my attitude, I am disgusted and deeply ashamed of the way I acted. I am truly sorry. I know I must continue to reflect, learn, and work to grow in empathy.”

Gabby said she didn’t want to come forward with her allegations at the time but decided to speak out so she could “finally heal.” She wrote:

“Years later I have ptsd, I have panic attacks I go to therapy. Finally I’m ready to talk about it and finally heal… [I also] didn’t tell anyone because [Elgort] said it could ‘ruin his career.'”

Apparently not as it turns out?

What do you think about Zegler and co.’s responses?

[Image via Jaime Espinoza/WENN]

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Jan 26, 2022 12:32pm PDT