Alia Shawkat on ‘prom king’ Brad Pitt: ‘We’re not dating. We’re just friends’

Celebrities Support LGBTQ Education At Point Honors Gala New York

Alia Shawkat’s presence in the 2019 gossip cycle was one of the odder moments, actually. Out of nowhere, she kept going to events and concerts with Brad Pitt. The same Brad Pitt who had been officially single since the Neri Oxman debacle. The same Brad Pitt who was campaigning for an Oscar and using his first ex-wife for publicity. So it was curious that he kept showing up to places with Alia Shawkat, a (now) 31-year-old writer/actress who is 25 years his junior. We still don’t know what’s up with that, really, but Alia recently spoke to Vulture and she ended up chatting about all of the changes to her public profile in the past year. She’s promoting the third season of Search Party, that was the reason for this Vulture piece. But she spent the bulk of the piece trying to analyze what happened when she got close to the “Prom King” and she also talked about that video where she casually tosses out the n-word. Some highlights:

When she was trending on Twitter for going to a Thundercats concert with Brad Pitt: “I was like, I don’t believe this. All my friends were like ‘What’s going on?’ and sending me photos. I just felt overwhelmed. It’s that feeling of being naked in school, like, Oh my God, everyone’s looking at me.”

What’s really going on with Brad: “We’re not dating. We’re just friends,” says Shawkat. (Vulture notes: I believe her, if only because she is so honest about how horny she’s been during lockdown.) “I’ve gotten press, but not like that. Not so uncontrollable.”

Her reaction to the n-word video: It was painful, especially for a queer woman of color (Shawkat is half-Iraqi) who has long thought of herself as a progressive ally, speaking openly about Palestine, attending Black Lives Matter protests, and, recently, calling for the defunding of the police. “I didn’t remember saying it. I was like, ‘That’s impossible. What the f–k are they talking about?’”

Too much attention: “I was like, ‘Oh God, to the public I’m a racist who’s living with Brad Pitt.’ The last 48 hours have been me trying to reground myself spiritually. And being like, ‘What is this about? Who are you to yourself, to your people and your community?’”

She was introduced to Brad by Spike Jonze when she was really young: “We just became friends, and Brad introduced me to his group of friends, and it grew from there.”

Getting too close to the Prom King: “To them it’s like, ‘We don’t get it! This girl is weird! She’s so different! Why are they hanging out?’ You get too close to the prom king, and all of a sudden, everyone’s like, ‘Well, who is this bitch?’”

She’s tried to analyze her state of mind in the n-word video: “In my mind, I wasn’t like, What the f–k did I just say? Take that back, I’m sorry, never should have said that. Instead, I just carried it on like a joke and didn’t think about it afterward. That was more upsetting, in a way, than saying the word. Was I using this because the idea of Black culture seems cool? And I was just like, ‘Well, that’s just part of it!’ It’s not intellectually understanding that the words you use are really powerful. I think that’s a lot of what this reckoning is for all of us who are not Black.” She’s interrogating “what it means to be mixed race and what kinds of circles of privilege I’ve had access to because of that. I think I’ve learned more about it in these last two weeks than I have in my whole life.”

[From Vulture]

“You get too close to the prom king, and all of a sudden, everyone’s like, ‘Well, who is this bitch?’” She’s 100% accurate there. People absolutely could not fathom how Brad Pitt was “probably dating” some young actress who doesn’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model. That being said, I still don’t know if I buy that *nothing* has happened? Like, is Alia his only friend? Because they definitely seem to hang out a lot. Or is Brad the sad-sack divorced dad and Alia is his cool young friend who invites him places and tries to get him out of the house? I still don’t know. As for the n-word video… it is what it is, and I’m also disturbed by the fact that Alia has no memory of it.

Vulture Festival, Search Party Scavenger Hunt

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, WENN, Avalon Red.

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

45 Responses to “Alia Shawkat on ‘prom king’ Brad Pitt: ‘We’re not dating. We’re just friends’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Sierra says:

    Nah don’t believe her, I think they are dating.

    • Lua says:

      She says in the article she’s “a queer woman of color” so I’m not sure how much more transparent she can be to get people to believe they aren’t dating.

    • Rainy says:

      Brad since day 1 already said she is just a friend, a platonic one, and now Alia is saying the same. So I think we should give it a rest. I think Alia wanted more, she did all the moves in becoming closer to him, inviting him to art shows, concerts, museums, etc and even to attend protests, but was friendzoned by him. Not sure what Brad wants these days, its been 4 years since he was dumped by Angie, but no GF yet? maybe will see him with someone once Angie also goes out with someone publicly.

    • 360degrees says:

      I’m sorry, but I agree they’re totally dating. She wouldn’t care if it were out in the open but he wants a lowkey thing now, IMO. Probably open. And yes, she’s bi, not gay.

  2. lola says:

    Friends with benefits?

  3. Slowsnow says:

    I find that she was brutally honest here and even though I am really sick of people not getting it, I love it when people are challenged and own up to it. She did here. Also, it is quite brave in Hollywood (I know people will be upset with me for this but I’ll stand by it) to be the quirky weird looking girl who is not super skinny and conventionally pretty. So she rolls with the artists and hipsters (she’s friends with Raymond Pettibon for example) who have their own systems of privilege and out-of-touch whiteness that many people pointed out here. Her bubble was burst (the one that validated her as a quirky, different girl) and she is checking herself. Good for her.

    I’m a far more shocked with the couple with the guns in St. Louis. Guns are not words, although the latter can also create deep hurt. But there still is a difference.

    • Kebbie says:

      I’m impressed with what she said about the video because she could have easily just given some generic PR answer. To admit she didn’t even remember it and go into why that’s disturbing and an even bigger problem says to me she’s actually being introspective and looking at herself, not just looking to get past the bad publicity as quickly as possible.

  4. Suzieq359 says:

    I get so tired of people labeling themselves to say they can’t be racist against black people. “As a POC, I can’t” blah, blah, blah. I’ve experienced this so many times. It’s nauseating. One thing has nothing to do with the other. It’s very prevalent right now and frankly I start tuning out.

    • Belly says:

      Me too. There’s this dickhead I work with, total white supremacist. Keeps banging on about how ‘he came over with the first fleet’ (we’re in Australia) so he deserves to be here more than anyone else.

      Thinks he gets a pass because his wife is from a different ethnic background. He can’t be racist, look at his wife!

      Um, fucking no. It’s the old ‘some of my best friends are black/gay/whatever’ chestnut reheated.

  5. Observer says:

    Brad haters were shipping this so hard. Superficially, they think Alia is a huge step down from Angelina and the “best” Brad can do. But if anything an Alia type, despite the age difference, is a good match for Brad at this stage in his life. They share the same interests & have similar chill vibe, and she is way less famous. Either way I think if we ever get confirmation of who Brad’s girlfriend is she will purposely be the polar opposite of Angelina.

    • Thanks says:

      Or it’s his fans who are relieved they are not dating as they want a Margot Robbie type of girlfriend. So they are similar because she’s less famous? Like him? Observer dear, remember when Pitt also liked charity work like Jolie? Or tanning like Aniston? Same interests there.
      Lastly, of course his next lady will be different from Jolie just like Aniston, Paltrow, Lewis, Sinitta etc. All different.

      • OriginalCarol says:

        LOL, you nailed it @Thanks! Deadbeat doesn’t want folks to shade him for dating someone who is young enough to be his daughter! He’s slow rolling it until the public gets used to it.

    • Truth hurts says:

      Observer she actually stepped down and I hope she can do better. Lol

  6. DS9 says:

    This is how and why black people feel some type of way about how some use POC.


  7. Paula says:

    Since when means being half-Iraqi “mixed race” or PoC?

    • Queen Meghan's Hand says:

      Just because you are Caucasian and do not identify with American whiteness, does not mean you are a person of color.

    • Sunday says:

      Thank you! Iraqi is not a race, and just because someone has some non-white ancestry somewhere in their family tree does not make them a POC. People of color are treated differently by society based on how we present to the world. Based on the color of our skin or texture of our hair or other racially identified features. Period. I’m sure she was teased for freckles but like… that is not the same thing as being a person of color.

      She’s a just privileged hipster white girl who thought that her “exotic dna” brownie points made her “part of the club” – just, no.

    • Whitecat says:

      Wow. You do realize that white supermacists do not consider Arab white people? Otherwise, explain to me Europe’s alt right problem. I’m also half Arab half german, and trust me white Germans in Germany do not consider me white or even fully German. So nice of you to assume we, half arabs are not allowed to be considered mixed race or POC.

      • Paula says:

        There are 5 classified races and Iraqi isn’t one of them. I am not saying that I am for racial classifying, but when using terms like “mixed race”, one should know what “race” actually means. There is “Native American”, “Asian”, “Black and African American”, “Pacific Islander” and “White”. When it comes to race, Alia is most definitely white. This is not the same as cultural discrimination as not everyone right wings hate is of a different race (for example the Roma in Europe, who are white).

      • Sunday says:

        Hateful people will always find something to hate. Of course you can be ethnically mixed from the perspective of cultural heritage (though, Iraqi is still not a race). People like this are discriminated against ALL the time because racists are triggered by some other clue, like an ethnic name, association, extended family. I completely get that and am not erasing that.

        However, that’s completely different than someone who is judged because of the color of their skin, everywhere we go, every day of our lives. If you present as white, even if you are half Iraqi or half anything, then a racist walking down the street can’t target you because you are not visibly a person of color (they can still target you for other reasons, but not because they can plainly, clearly see a Black or Asian or biracial person walking towards them). It’s just not the same, and acknowledging that shouldn’t take away from your own experiences, because that wasn’t the intent at all.

      • Minal says:

        To Paula, I thought Roma were originally from India? Some Indians are very light skinned with light eyes. So does that mean they are white? On one hand I get what you are saying; on the other, the terms of the race discourse are inherently ridiculous, non-scientific and have no meaning beyond what we assign them.

      • Arpeggi says:

        Yeah, it’s offensive not to acknowledge that arabs and people that are part arab with arabic traits aren’t victims of islamophobia (regardless of their actual religion) and racism. Even if they pass as white, let’s not pretend that a CV with Shawkat as a last name is as likely to lead to a call for an interview as a Smith

      • Belig says:

        How absurd. Where does this system classify people from Morocco or Iraq? Are Moroccans considered “Black and African American” while Iraqis are considered to be “Asian”?
        I imagine there must be a number of existing classifications. This “5 race systems” isn’t it.

    • megs283 says:

      @Paula, the five classified races, who does the classifying? Is it the same the world over? Or is that the US’ POV?

      • Lady D says:

        You can google the info, megs283. The 1735 classification of Carl Linnaeus, inventor of zoological taxonomy.

      • TrixC says:

        @Lady D are you seriously arguing that a white Swedish man from the 1700s is the definitive authority on race? Sorry, it’s ridiculous.

  8. Queen Meghan's Hand says:

    What is her definition of “friend” though? Isn’t Brad Pitt friends with Melissa Etheridge? We’ve never them hang out. I still think he was trying slow-roll a new phantom relationship a la Neri Oxman. But Alia’s PR team didn’t pull their weight.
    As for the n-word, I am satisfied with the way she takes responsibility for it. True inclusivity will happen when non-black people acknowledge there is a black diasporic culture and black history that they cannot touch, access, plunder. No n-word. No blackface. Boundaries.

  9. Emily says:

    People expect Brad to be embarrassed of Alia, but I think it’s the other way around.

    • Sasha says:

      lol did you even read the article? There is no way she is embarrassed by Brad. Most of the article was about Brad and it’s obvious she feels very validated by her friendship with him.

    • ooshpick says:

      i read it the same way. he has no street cred. :)

  10. Chichi says:

    Judging from what I’ve seen on tabloids, I’d say his partners are all very different from one another- Juliette Lewis, Gwyneth Paltrow (pre-Goop), Jennifer Aniston, AJ … why not Alia?

  11. Thanks says:

    She’s surprised she got attention. Roflmao.

  12. Truth hurts says:

    First I think she is cool. I think all the women Pitt has date were cool. He is the bad apple. Alia is getting caught up in his mess like the others. Too bad for her. She simply has been told how to handle the whole thing.
    Yes she and Pitt are screwing. He won’t admit it because it goes against what image he is trying to portray right now.
    He will ride the wheels off the he and Jen thing like he did/does the evil Angie is alienating me from my kids. It’s whatever people think about him. Only Angie stands up too him and his team. Jen will forever be a old coat he throws on because of her insecurities and stupidity. I don’t think Alia will let him use her too much longer.
    As for the N word. She said it and thought nothing about it. That speaks volumes but whatever girl. I won’t affect anything because she knows the right people to make it go away now!

  13. lucy2 says:

    I can’t imagine not “realizing” or “remembering” that you said the n-word. That means you’ve said it before, otherwise it would feel horrible coming out of your mouth and you would absolutely remember.

    I also don’t really get her friendship with Pitt, but whatever.

    • Suzieq359 says:

      @Lucy2, thank you. It flowed too freely out her mouth in the video. And how she used it shows she did it often. She doesn’t remember because she does it often and thinks it’s cool. It wasn’t a slip. It is habitual. She is in her PR campaign promting her show so she does have to address it. I don’t care if she apologized. Clearly nothing has changed. The initial response was crafted by her PR and now she is speaking from the crisis media training they provided.

    • Alyse says:

      I’ve talked a lot in my life, I 100% could’ve been spinning a yarn that I don’t remember word for word but someone else does. In fact, people come up to me and remind of conversations we had years ago I don’t remember much of all the time (I’m an extrovert, I talk a lot, to a lot of people… details fade y’know?)

      So not remembering something you’ve said? Totally fair.

      However, if she doesn’t remember… she’s probably said it more than once (if it had been the only time, and esp an offensive word, it’d stay with you.. Eg the one time I said the C word – even then I couldn’t say the T at the and…)

  14. Sarah says:

    @Observer . Lol. You brads Just Jared fabs coming here saying Alia is the best has had and both have similar intrestes. As if his past relationships never had similar untrests with him. I had never heard any of his exes ever not encouraging his intrestes let alone to a long with him.
    I’m glad he now feels comfortable with a women 25 years younger to follow her interests in. Poor Just Jared fans are annoyed he got the N-Word girl.

  15. smee says:

    I like her sense of style.

    Their friendship probably helps him stay in touch with what the cool kids are into.

  16. Meg says:

    People were like that when keanu reeves went to events for years with his girlfriend and it only got press recently because they didn’t believe he was with her -a woman his own age

  17. Tmay says:

    Well at least Keanu Reeves is dating women his age unlike Brad Pitt who is dating a woman that’s 1-year year older than his niece.. the seeds like she’s enjoying the publicity that she’s getting and he enjoys sleeping with young girls again

  18. Hope says:

    No news about pax’instagram story?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Alia totally seems like his type. He may have wanted a girl who could make him laugh. She’s pretty funny. He is supposed to like the biker-ish wilder girls, so she fits. Although when you look at the girls he dated, they don’t all fit that wild biker gal persona.