Jodie Foster Walks Back Controversial Comments Slamming Gen Z

The 61-year-old star got backlash for calling the age group "really annoying."

Like the generations that preceded them, Gen Z is taking hits as older people try to define and stereotype the group that was born between 1997 and 2013. They recently caught some flak from star Jodie Foster, who gave her thoughts on Gen Z in a Jan. 6 interview with The Guardian. While the True Detective star showed support for the younger generation in the interview, she also shared about what she sees as their negative traits, which led to headlines and some backlash online. At the Golden Globes on Sunday night, the 61-year-old clarified her stance on Gen Z and pointed out what's so great about the members of our society who currently range in age from 11 to 27.

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Foster told The Guardian why she enjoys mentoring younger actors in Hollywood, opening up specifically about her connection with The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey. The Silence of the Lambs actor praised Ramsey for being openly non-binary and expressing themself as they see fit. Foster said that she requested the 20-year-old introduce her at Elle's recent Women in Hollywood event.

"[The organizers] are very proud of themselves because they've got every ethnicity, and I'm like, yeah, but all the attendees are still wearing heels and eyelashes," Foster said. "There are other ways of being a woman, and it's really important for people to see that. And Bella, who gave the best speech, was wearing the most perfect suit, beautifully tailored, and a middle parting and no makeup."

The publication asked Foster if she would have felt comfortable wearing something similar when she was a young entertainer.

"No, because we weren't free," she said. "Because we didn't have freedom. And hopefully that's what the vector of authenticity that's happening offers—the possibility of real freedom. We had other things that were good. And I would say: I did the best I could for my generation. I was very busy understanding where I fitted in and where I wanted to be in terms of feminism. But my lens wasn't wide enough. I lived in an incredibly segregated world."

But, The Guardian writer noted that "for all her cheerleading of Gen Z, Foster isn't above being irritated by them."

"They're really annoying, especially in the workplace," Foster said. "They're like, 'Nah, I'm not feeling it today, I'm gonna come in at 10:30 a.m.' Or, like, in emails, I'll tell them this is all grammatically incorrect, did you not check your spelling? And they're like, 'Why would I do that, isn't that kind of limiting?'"

Bella Ramsey and Jodie Foster at Elle's Women in Hollywood Celebration in December 2023
Robin L Marshall/WireImage via Getty Images

As reported by BuzzFeed, Foster's comments about younger people received a mixed response online with some agreeing with her and others saying that she was out of line. "Why is Jodie foster talking like she's the manager at a target? Gen Z Actors on set are calling out of work to Jodie's personal cell or….?" wrote one X (formerly Twitter) user.

Entertainment Tonight asked Foster about her complaints about Gen Z on the Golden Globes red carpet on Jan. 7. The actor, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for Nyad, clarified, "Was I talking about Gen Z? Yes, I love them. My sons are Gen Z—I think they are. I adore them. They have all this freedom, which is wonderful, but we didn't have. We didn't know we could say no, for example, and it's just created a miraculous, confident, different, authentic people." She added, trailing off, "But it also makes them, you know…"

Host Kevin Frazier added, "It makes them very different and difficult sometimes," before noting that his kids are part of the generation, too. Foster replied, "But you need them in order to make your phone work. What can I say?"

Foster has two sons, who are both in their 20s, with her ex Cydney Bernard.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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