The actress tackled the fallout—and her subsequent growth—in her ELLE Women in Hollywood speech.
During her acceptance speech at ELLE’s 29th annual Women in Hollywood event on Tuesday, Armageddon Time actress Anne Hathaway gracefully addressed the infamous era known as Peak “Hathahate.” If you managed to evade that particular corner of online discourse a decade ago, a quick recap: The year was 2013, Hathaway had just won an Oscar for Les Misérables, and the vitriolic noise around the actress’s so-called “annoying” earnestness had grown so loud that both the New Yorker and the New York Times had hopped on the case.
She was too pretty. Too perfect. Too painted-on. Too happy. Too transparent in her try-hard efforts to be adored. As Sarah Nicole Prickett, a writer, told the Times nearly a decade ago, “It’s not really Anne Hathaway I ‘hate.’ It’s all the lesser, real-life Anne Hathaways I have known—princessy, theater-schooled girls who have no game and no sex appeal and eat raisins for dessert.”
In other words, Hathaway became a punching bag for a certain brand of internet sexism couched in the language of cool cynicism. In the nearly 10 years since #hathahaters trended on social media, Hathaway has seemed to make peace with the (almost entirely unfounded) attacks, telling Jezebel in 2017, “I am…not eager, but I am ready for the conversation to move to a place beyond it.”
For her Women in Hollywood cover interview with ELLE, Hathaway briefly touched on her self-love journey, saying, “I do my best to not be afraid of what others might say and just focus on enjoying my life.” But during the WIH event honoring this year’s nominees, Hathaway addressed the controversy head-on.
“Ten years ago, I was given an opportunity to look at the language of hatred from a new perspective,” she told an audience of her peers at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. “When your self-inflicted pain is suddenly somehow amplified back at you at, say, the full volume of the internet… It’s a thing.”
She later added, “When what happened, happened, I realized I had no desire to have anything to do with this line of energy. On any level. I would no longer create art from this place. I would no longer hold space for it, live in fear of it, nor speak its language for any reason. To anyone. Including myself… Hate seems to me to be the opposite of life; in soil that harsh, nothing can grow properly, if at all.”
Read the full transcript of Hathaway’s inspiring speech below, touching not only on the legacy of Hathahate but the future she hopes to build for her children.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers film, TV, books and fashion.
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