Jodie Foster slams media over K-Stew affair

Kristen Stewart accepts the Best Movie award from friend and ally Jodie Foster at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards shortly before the affair scandal surfaced.
Kristen Stewart accepts the Best Movie award from friend and ally Jodie Foster at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards shortly before the affair scandal surfaced.

She is regarded as one of the few successful Hollywood actresses who has kept her head above the muddy water of celebrity scandal.

Now, Jodie Foster has weighed in on the K-Stew affair with her own very personal take on the scandal, slamming the industry that bullies young actors on the harsh media stage.

The 49-year-old actress does not hold back, criticising the system, without naming names, that has made such a fevered spectacle of the private lives of Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Rupert Sanders and Liberty Ross - and others.

Detailing her carefully balanced relationship with "the cruelty of a life lived as a moving target," Foster berates an industry that pitches children into the limelight, "[lifting] up beautiful young people like gods and then pull[ing] them down to earth to gaze at their seams."

Writing for The Daily Beast, the Silence of the Lambs and Carnage star, who has acted since she was aged just 3, detailed becoming close friends with a young Stewart, now 22, when they worked together on the 2002 film, Panic Room. She has watched on as the world has entertained itself with the fall-out from Stewart's affair with Snow White and the Huntsman director, Sanders, who is married to actress and model, Ross. Stewart was at the time in a long-term relationship with her Twilight co-star, Pattinson.

It is a level of notoriety that Foster may sadly have predicted for the child she "grew to love". Speaking with Stewart's mother on Kristen’s 11th birthday, the actress's feeling towards the negative sides of the profession were unambiguous. She remembers asking Kristen's mother whether the youngster could be talked out of acting. "Oh, I’ve tried. She loves it. She just loves it", replied the actress' parent.

The open letter, written from the rare view of the other side of the celebrity lens, makes it clear that Stewart has had to develop a set of coping mechanisms, destroying vulnerability and emotional openness simply to handle the relentless public gaze.

"The point is to survive, intact or not, whatever the emotional cost. Actors who become celebrities are supposed to be grateful for the public interest. After all, they’re getting paid," writes Foster. "Just to set the record straight, a salary for a given on-screen performance does not include the right to invade anyone’s privacy, to destroy someone’s sense of self."

Foster predicts that the trauma of Stewart's public horrors will pass, but that there will linger a set of regrettable emotional changes.

"You trust less. You calculate your steps. You survive. Hopefully in the process you don’t lose your ability to throw your arms in the air again and spin in wild abandon. That is the ultimate F.U. and—finally—the most beautiful survival tool of all. Don’t let them take that away from you."

Unfortunately, she has seen the uglier consequences of a life scrutinised by media, or those who have lost their ability to "spin in wild abandon", referencing the destructive self-esteem issues that characterise LA life. From drugs to Botox, she suggests those in the limelight seek to hide.

"But would [another actress] have survived the paparazzi peering into her windows, the online harassment, the public humiliations, without overdosing in a hotel room or sticking her face with needles until she became unrecognizable even to herself?"

The picture is not a pretty one. Foster is unashamed to underline her beliefs that she would not recommend a career as an actor, full-stop.

"I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety."

For his part, Pattinson has spoken out about his own methods for surviving the system, making sure to remain tight-lipped about Stewart. "I've never been interested in trying to sell my personal life," he told Good Morning America on Tuesday. "You get into [this business] to do movies. That's the only way to do it."

Attention has its pros and its cons, suggested the British actor. "If you start getting used to [the attention], it means you're going crazy," the 26-year-old said. "It's nice. It's like being on the craziest theme park ride. It's exciting but eventually you have to have a break."

This story Jodie Foster slams media over K-Stew affair first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.