Megan Fox Says She Didn't Handle Her "Public Crucifixion" Well in New Interview
The actor says she had an "internal psychological breakdown" after experiencing public scrutiny.
In the 2009 horror/comedy movie Jennifer's Body, Megan Fox plays a high school student who becomes possessed and murders male students. The movie wasn't very popular at the time but has since been reevaluated through a stronger feminist lens and celebrated as a cult classic. If you know Fox's personal story, it probably doesn't come as a surprise to learn that this is her favorite film she's ever been in.
The actor is one of the cover stars of the 2023 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and in an interview with the magazine, she spoke about how the plot of Jennifer's Body "aligned with [her] public crucifixion." She also admitted that she doesn't think she handled that time in her life "well" and that she had an "internal psychological breakdown" after experiencing major backlash. Fox opened up about feeling that she was a decade ahead of the #MeToo movement when she opened up about mistreatment in Hollywood, which is what prompted much of the hate and mockery she received. Read on to find out more about how the 37-year-old star looks back at that time in her life.
Fox says she went though a "public crucifixion."
Fox told Sports Illustrated why her role in the teen-focused horror movie resonated so deeply with her.
"I think Jennifer's Body is still my favorite project and probably always will be, because there's just something about the timing of that," Fox explained. "How it aligned with my public crucifixion that I was going through and my internal psychological breakdown. What the character went through was very much a metaphor for what I was going through in Hollywood and with media and with the world at large."
She was criticized for speaking out about Michael Bay.
In 2007, Fox starred in the first Transformers movie from director Michael Bay and reprised her character in the first sequel two years later. Around the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the actor made claims about Bay's behavior on set, including in an interview with Wonderland magazine (via Entertainment Weekly) that prompted a great deal of conversation. "He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is," Fox said. She also said that she got frustrated when he allegedly directed her to "be hot" or "be sexy" (via The Hollywood Reporter).
In a 2009 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Fox described working with Bay on 2003's Bad Boys II. She looked back him directing her character to dance under a waterfall in bikini and high heels when the actor was just 15 years old. Both the audience and Kimmel laughed at the story, and the host made jokes about it.
Crew members who had worked under Bay defended him and mocked Fox in a letter. They called the actor "dumb-as-a-rock" and unprofessional, and nicknamed her "Ms. Sourpants." Bay stated that he did not condone the letter.
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She was sexualized by the media.
Fox made a lot of headlines around 2009 and not just for her comments about Bay. She also faced backlash for other things she said in interviews, including during one at the 2009 Golden Globes that she herself has said she regrets. On the red carpet, Fox made scattered statements to Giuliana Rancic, and she later said that watching the interview back led to her quitting drinking.
All of this combined with the public perception of Fox as unintelligent and hyper-sexual led to the "crucifixion" she referenced in the Sports Illustrated interview.
"My biggest regret is that I've assisted the media in making me into a cartoon character," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2010 (via HuffPost). "I don't regret what has happened to me, but I regret the way I have dealt with it."
She said she's had "harrowing experiences" in Hollywood.
In 2020, when the Kimmel video resurfaced, Fox clarified her feelings about Bay on Instagram and shared that she had gone through other "genuinely harrowing experiences" in Hollywood. (Fox and Bay have since made up, and she acted in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, which he produced.)
"Please hear me when I thank you for your support but these specific instances were inconsequential in a long and arduous journey along which I have endured some genuinely harrowing experiences in a ruthlessly misogynistic industry," Fox wrote (via BBC). "When it comes to my direct experiences with Michael, I was never assaulted or preyed upon in what I felt was a sexual manner."
She thinks her experiences might have been received differently at a different time.
"I was ahead of the Me Too movement just in terms of timing, because I was coming out and talking about these things maybe a decade before," Fox told Sports Illustrated. "I think that at the time I didn't handle it well, because when you believe or know that you're on the right side of the universe and you know that what you're doing or what you're saying is true and genuine and correct and should be heard, but it's not heard— and beyond not being heard, you're ridiculed for it."
She added, "I'm fully OK now with people being upset and I don't [expletive] care, because if you're not upset then what happens is I'm broken, because you've taken every last bit of me and for what?"
The backlash pushed her into hiding.
In a 2022 interview with Glamour UK, Fox talked about the consequences of revealing misconduct before it was widely accepted.
"I was always speaking out against some of the abusive, misogynistic, patriarchal things that were going on in Hollywood back in 2008 and 2009, way before people were ready to embrace that or tolerate it," the actor said. "And I actually got ridiculed for doing it. I think people just have had time to review that, in retrospect."
She doesn't think she was fairly treated at the time, which led to her withdrawing from the world. "I wasn't allowed to be a human, because I was a topic of conversation and gossip and punch lines," she said. "I was essentially in hiding for several years of my life."