Michael Bay responds to criticism about how he treated Kate Beckinsale


On last weekend’s episode of the Graham Norton Show, Kate Beckinsale told a story about being cast in Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. She was already cast just months after she gave birth to her daughter, and Kate said that Michael Bay was so confused by her body and looks, because she wasn’t a blonde with huge knockers. She said Bay suggested she get a trainer ahead of filming, and then when they were promoting the film, Bay told reporters all around the world that he hired Beckinsale because “Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience.” When I wrote about this on Monday, I used Vanity Fair’s coverage because they fact-checked Beckinsale’s story and discovered that it was even worse than she described, and that Bay had often thrown shade on Beckinsale and her looks.

What followed after Beckinsale’s appearance was a lot of shrugging and “of course that happened, we’re talking about Michael Bay.” But Bay finally felt the need to comment on his blog. He posted a photo of the Pearl Harbor poster that hangs in his office (the poster is mostly of Beckinsale) with this comment:

Really? This poster has hung proudly over my desk for 15 years. Yesterday I read in the press that I don’t think Kate Beckinsale is “a stunning beauty,” huh? And they went on to suggest that Kate and I don’t like each other?

Well, totally untrue. Kate and I are friendly. She is a fantastic actress, very funny, witty lady, sassy, speaks her mind, and I truly respect her. That’s why she has come to so many of my Christmas parties and Birthday parties. This so called ‘problem of us not liking each other’ was reported by a tabloid-esque reporter after Kate appeared on an edgy English talk show, speaking about our meeting 16 years ago while casting Pearl Harbor. The reporter made her story into some scandalous confrontation, when it was nothing of the sort. Spoke to Kate today and she felt she told a funny story.

So I guess I was the “bad guy” 16 years ago for suggesting a trainer because she just had her new beautiful baby girl—and she was about to enter into an intensive action movie. Note to reporters: 95 % of leads in movies have trainers and drink green juice!

[From Michael Bay’s blog]

Do I think that Michael Bay and Kate Beckinsale probably have a decent/friendly relationship? Sure. Do I think he respects her, in as much as he can “respect” any woman? Sure. I bet they get along fine and I bet she does come to his parties. But I also think he said all of that sh-t on the record about how she’s not pretty enough to alienate women. I also think that he basically told her that she needed to lose weight to be in Pearl Harbor. And I also think that the man is always going to be a douchebag.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Getty.

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59 Responses to “Michael Bay responds to criticism about how he treated Kate Beckinsale”

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  1. Beckysuz says:


    • HH says:


      And we have to acknowledge the power relationship here. Of course she’s kept “friendly” with Bay over the years. Due to his influence, she’d have to be a VERY big star to completely rebuff him.

      • detritus says:

        Yeah, notice he said ‘friendly’ not ‘friends’
        He also said she comes to his parties not that they go for coffee once a year to catch up.

        I bet this guy has no female friends, and considers his gross opinions to be valuable because he thinks no one else will speak ‘the truth.’

      • Meh says:

        Yeah. She doesn’t come to your parties because you’re friends, buddy. She comes because it’s basically an industry conference she has to network at.

  2. Tiffany says:

    But dollars to donuts it was not said to Ben or Josh.

    • Saraya says:

      If they weren’t already in shape, I’m sure it was.

      Leo DiCaprio was told to get in shape before Inception, and he’s the biggest movie star on the planet. It goes with the job.

      • Original T.C. says:

        Leo DiCaprio Is an over bloated mess due to his indigent lifestyle when not filming or promoting. He always needs to go on a rapid diet and dermabrasion because he needs it. I doubt it even needs to be pointed out to him at this point.

        Kate was playing a Nurse at a time period were women were not size zero. Even post pregnancy she was very slime and beautiful. She didn’t just “let herself go”, she stayed healthy. Apples and oranges.

      • Saraya says:

        DiCaprio was certainly not an over-bloated mess in 2008-09. That’s hyperbole.

        Kate was playing one of the lead roles in a mega-budget summer blockbuster. Expecting her to be in “lead role” shape is not any more unreasonable than expecting it of the guys. If you’ve seen the movie, Affleck and Hartnett were both in “gym shape” for their roles.

      • FF says:


        DiCaprio still had hamhead syndrome all through Inception though – and it’s not because he had a baby.

        Fortunately for him his director and studio didn’t demand ridiculous thiness – and I’m sure he got paid three times as much as his nearest female costar.

      • Saraya says:


        I’m not sure a trainer can help shrink the size of somebody’s head. If there is, that is one talented trainer.

        As for his pay, you’re correct he got paid more than Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard. Jennifer Lawrence also damn sure got paid more than Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper on Joy. So what’s your point?

      • Original T.C. says:


        Point out an actress on the same level that gets out of shape as much as Leo does on his down time and still gets casts as the love interest, repeatedly?

        Jennifer Lawrence’s head and cheeks are 80% smaller than Leo’s but gets called fat. You are trying to win an argument that all evidence goes against.

      • Saraya says:

        Who calls Jennifer Lawrence fat? Certainly not the studios that are jumping at the chance to hire her. The fact that she refuses to get supermodel slim yet still gets $20 million per picture pretty much disproves your whole argument.

    • Ivy says:

      Well he keeps mentionning how Ben Affleck got a new smile (paid by Bruckheimer) on “Armageddon”… So I guess he’s just brutally honest? *but I like him and I’m not sorry*

      • Ivy says:

        @Bridget: hmmm no?

      • Ivy says:

        @K2: oh, he likes his mom so he’s a serial killer now? Because Norman Bates, a FICTIONAL character is one?? I guess Angelina Jolie being bisexual she’s a psychopath,because Sharon Stone’s character in “Basic Instinct” is one?
        I don’t mind Leo loving his mom, and he can have sex with every single blonde model in the world, as long as they’re consenting adults, that doesn’t make him a bad person or a mysoginist.
        I don’t mind Bradley Cooper loving his mom either. But I DO mind the long standing rumours he was abusive to, at least, one of his exes. He may support J.Law fight over equal pay, but basic decency would be not abusing women. I’ll take MB and his shitty interviews over Cooper, his nice speeches about pay equality and shitty actions toward women any day of the week.
        @ HH: Michael Bay talks nonsense in every single interview he gives (and not just about his female coworkers). Could he find a better way to talk about his actresses? Sure. But he’s also talking sh*t about his actors, he threw Spielberg under the bus during the whole Megan Fox debacle… His social skills in general seem pretty awful. And nobody seems to mind too much, which makes me think he’s just not a very eloquent (articulate?) person. Still doesn’t make him a bad person in my book. and I still think he doesn’t deserve half the names he’s being called.

    • HH says:

      Sure, Bay may have said something to Ben or Josh, but what we’re missing here is tone and/or context. Given Bay’s rep, I would believe that his words to Kate had an entirely different (sexist/douchey) tone than words spoken to Affleck or Hartnett.

      • Ivy says:

        I don’t know, everybody’s saying how evil he is. But at the end of the day, I never saw him high as a kite beating up his GF, he doesn’t have half a dozen ex-wives coming after him for unpaid alimony or children that he’s not taking care of. Even the actresses he has supposedly been awful to (Fox, Johansson & Beckinsale) are still friendly with him (or saying nice things about him). That misogynist monster seems pretty harmless to me?

      • Bridget says:

        @Ivy: do you consider utter and total misogyny harmless?

      • Cindy Lou says:

        Ivy! A man does not get CREDIT for not beating women or for supporting his children. Those things are base line.

        Good God, how low do we have to set the bar?

      • Ivy says:

        Cindy Lou: I’m not giving him credit for being a decent human being, I’m just saying that we’ve never heard anything horrible about him. Does he like big boobs? Probably. Does he said stupid things? Sure. But I haven’t heard any of “his” actresses complain about being under paid, I haven’t heard any of his exes complain about anything. He even seems to care about his mom. So far, IMO, he doesn’t qualify as an a**hole.

      • K2 says:

        If caring about your Mom made you a rock star feminist, then Bradley Cooper and Leo DiCaprio would be ranked alongside Emma Watson. Come to think of it, so would Norman Bates.

      • HH says:

        @Ivy – Being sexist and a decent human being aren’t mutually exclusive. What I mean by that is a lot of men do sexist things but not in an intentionally oppressive/rude way. Good people can do bad things and bad people can do good things.

      • detritus says:

        You haven’t heard them complain because when they do they are blacklisted.
        Example A – Megan Fox.

    • A says:

      Actually, Beckinsale said in a recent Yahoo interview that Ben was put on a diet too and that they commiserated with each other.

  3. Naya says:

    Hmmm, an apology that describes her as “sassy”. I find that term incredibly condescending, especially since it is exclusively reserved for women and gay men so Michael Bay can go sit on a hot stone.

    • Sisi says:

      yeah that word often feels like a backhanded compliment

    • HeidiM says:

      Its my cats name. No Wonder she always looks so p!ssed off when I call for her.

    • V4Real says:

      “She is a fantastic actress, very funny, witty lady, sassy, speaks her mind, and I truly respect her.”

      Note that he still didn’t say sexy or beautiful.

  4. Mia4s says:

    He is so deeply insecure it is almost sad. a thirteen year old boy attitude towards women is only permitted when your thirteen. After that it’s pathetic.

  5. Saraya says:

    If Kathryn Bigelow were directing Pearl Harbor, would she have also suggested a trainer for Kate? Probably.

    In this case, Bay isn’t wrong.

    • toni says:

      This is not reddit, you tool.

      • Saraya says:

        No, this isn’t Reddit, so your juvenile name-calling doesn’t really fit.

      • V4Real says:

        @Saraya is probably right. Female directors also want their actresses to look a certain way. There was no need for that personal insult.

    • mp says:

      Why would she need to train? Wasn’t this supposed to be the 40’s? I haven’t seen the film, but I think she was a nurse, right? I don’t think a nurse in the 40’s would have been very athletic.

      • Original T.C. says:

        Exactly, Kathryn Bigelow goes for realism in her characters. A nurse during Pearl Harbor would not have to get jacked nor was the CIA agent in Zero Dark Thirty who was mostly an analysis.

        Michael Bay on the other hand goes for pleasing teenage boys-fashion model size with big boobs for female roles. He does NOT care about historically realism. Kate was right about her character, she obviously did her research as any professional would.

      • Saraya says:

        Kate wasn’t jacked! Let’s not go overboard here.

      • V4Real says:

        “Exactly, Kathryn Bigelow goes for realism in her characters. A nurse during Pearl Harbor would not have to get jacked nor was the CIA agent in Zero Dark Thirty who was mostly an analysis.”

        Yet she used an actress ( Jessica Chastain) that has a great body, not some fat analysis. That analysis still looked good and fit. No one said Kate had to be jacked, nor was she jacked. She just had a nice body, as did Jessica. People are going overboard here, a little bit.

    • Name says:

      Probably not though. If she directed Pearl Harbor it wouldn’t have sucked so bad.

  6. grabbyhands says:

    Nope, still a sexist jerk.

  7. Green Is Good says:

    So, sorry not sorry.

  8. Jayna says:

    Meh, I never took it as intentional shade. There’s an accessible beauty, not so threatening in a part especially if not made up heavily and there’s an intimidating beauty. Angelina Jolie is intimidating in her beauty It still may not be the best thing to say, but I think I understood what he was trying to say I’ve seen actresses talk about their looks in that way He’s still a sexist pig for many reasons,

    In action movies, all actresses are thrown into training and so are males. The actress in Mission Impossible, the last one, was thrown into heavy training right off the bat. I don’t get where that is sexist if she was doing action scenes. I don’t know if she was or wasn’t. I don’t remember seeing this movie. I might have.

    • toni says:

      She played a nurse during the WWII. So you clearly don’t know what you are talking about. These days people are finding any excuse for Hollywood sexist douchbags.

      • Jayna says:

        Give me a break Did you read my comment? “I don’t get where that is sexist IF SHE WAS DOING ACTION SCENES. I don’t know if she was or wasn’t.”

        I put a qualifier in that it wasn’t sexist “if” she was doing action scenes, because I didn’t know what she did in the movie. If she didn’t do action scenes, then it was sexist

  9. HK9 says:

    My only thought on seeing Kate in the photo above is that she’s strikingly beautiful & very fit. Michael Bay is a massive jackass.

  10. Juliette says:

    Nope, he’s a douche. Ever since I read he made Megan Fox audition for him by washing his car, that solidified my opinion of him. I don’t enjoy his movies anyway so no big loss.

    • FF says:

      Between that and the jive-talking Transformers, I just have to see his name on a project to know to avoid it. So he can keep on opening his mouth and proving me right.

  11. Dani8 says:

    First off, Kate is a beautiful woman. Secondly, it is a slam on women to assume we would not like a woman because of said beauty. He is basically saying that we are all shallow. What a jerk.

  12. lucy2 says:

    No, he’s the “bad guy” for insulting her appearance (and Kate Winslet’s if I recall), assuming women can’t handle seeing a beautiful actress on screen or we’ll die of jealousy, and for making shitty, stupid, and sexist movies his entire career.

    And please, do we all think he said “make sure you work with a trainer so you have the endurance for the physicality of the role?” His only concern was how she’d look, and if she’d be satisfying to his idea of what a woman’s figure should look like.

  13. Crackkin says:

    Why does Michael bay feel he is some kind of authority on what I want to see on screen?
    Only nurses with >18 bmi are believeable to me as a female viewer. But she can’t be too beautiful. Thank god he’s here for me in that way. Thinking is hard.

    This is why all his movies suck.

  14. Crackkin says:

    He is my #1 choice to play Beaker in a live- action Muppets movie that all women want to see. (Or just me).

    • I Choose Me says:

      I wanted to take exception on behalf of poor Beaker but I’m giggling too hard.

  15. Anon says:

    God he is so gross through and through that he doesn’t even SEE how the things he says about women are offensive. Kate has always struck me as classy and well mannered, of course she comes to his holiday parties! But more importantly, not that they are HIS parties. Does he get invited to hers? #BaySICK

  16. Abigail Colby says:

    It’s also important to note that when this movie was created “the thinner the better” movement was still alive and well, and an awareness of scaling back and featuring ‘real women’ is a much more recent phenomenon. The late nineties and early 2000s were all about young women being thin, pretty and smiley with minimal opinions. Don’t get me wrong — I think it’s incredibly damaging for young girls to grow up thinking they must look a specific way, but society simply wasn’t at a place in 2001 where integrating more normal-looking people for lead roles was a priority. Is it now? Eh, no. But I think we’re making some progress.

    And, yeah, I think Bay is little bit of an ass hole who likes to do his own thing and think his own way and the people who surround him know and accept that, Kate included. Spoiler alert: many super successful people in powerful roles are this way. And, also, isn’t a possibly misconstrued and likely sexist confrontation that occurred 15 years ago kind of a moot point when an A-list actor is accused of beating his girlfriend, like, last week?

  17. Meh says:

    I’m a woman who is intimidated by Kate Beckinsale’s beauty. That isn’t why I won’t watch Michael Bay movies though…

  18. Donna Martin says:

    all this talk is making me want to watch this movie again