Dakota Johnson: ‘Cancel culture is such a f—ing downer. I hate that term’


Dakota Johnson covers the latest issue of the Hollywood Reporter. She’s promoting her turn in The Lost Daughter, which is Maggie Gyllenhaal’s feature film directorial debut. There is, as always, a lot of Oscar chatter about this one. We’ll see if there’s still chatter in late December, but who knows. I’ll include the trailer at the end of the post – because the film also has Olivia Colman in the lead role, I suspect it will be pretty Oscar-baity. You can read the full THR piece here. Some highlights from Dakota:

The meaning behind her new “heaven” tattoo: “I was thinking, ‘What if this life is heaven, and this is as good as it gets? Then what?’ Because during COVID, I started to feel pretty dark. It felt inspiring to embrace [that existential question] in a different way. And to be more aware of what I can do in each little minute to make things feel better for me and the people around me. And that’s truly just a choice. It’s just a decision.”

Dakota fought for the role in The Lost Daughter: “I hadn’t ever read women written like that. Nina is struggling, she’s disappearing. To have this woman whose internal landscape is so different than what she’s projecting, that was really, really special. Because you see her, and no one is thinking about that girl’s mind. I am not a mother, but I know what it feels like to be scared or to be like, ‘Will I be a good mother?’ But for some reason, there’s this stigma around talking about that. And there’s a stigma around having just the thought of, ‘What if I walked out that f–king door? For a week or a minute for a cigarette.’ But you’re not supposed to say that out loud. Why? It’s so human and so relatable.”

She always wanted to be an actress: “Acting was always — truly always — what I wanted to do. Even when I was so little and I would be on set with my mom, it was a deep craving to do it. I wanted to look at everybody doing their jobs. I couldn’t get enough.”

Her parents told her she had to finish high school: “If it were up to me, I would’ve left school. But my parents wanted me to finish, which was ironic because the first half of my life was traveling and never going to school and being with a tutor. I didn’t go to a full year of school until I was 11, and that was in San Francisco because my dad was filming Nash Bridges.”

A childhood spent on sets & different schools. “Maybe it was destabilizing, but I never looked at it that way. I was raised by lots of people, my mom and my dad and then stepparents and nannies and tutors and friends and teachers and then friends’ parents and boyfriends’ parents. I wanted to learn from everybody. And I still am like that. I’m grateful to my parents and my crazy life because the only reason I am the way I am is because of how I grew up. And that came with seeing some gnarly things as a kid, having to deal with adult content at a young age and also having a public life at times. But then also on the lighter side of that, things that were really beautiful and privileged and educational and the travel and the art and the artists. It was both: It was dark, dark, dark, dark, and it was light, light, bright lights.”

On Me Too, and working with Johnny Depp, Shia LaBeouf & Armie Hammer: “I never experienced that firsthand from any of those people… I had an incredible time working with them; I feel sad for the loss of great artists. I feel sad for people needing help and perhaps not getting it in time. I feel sad for anyone who was harmed or hurt. It’s just really sad. I do believe that people can change. I want to believe in the power of a human being to change and evolve and get help and help other people. I think there’s definitely a major overcorrection happening. But I do believe that there’s a way for the pendulum to find the middle. The way that studios have been run up until now, and still now, is behind. It is such an antiquated mindset of what movies should be made, who should be in them, how much people should get paid, what equality and diversity look like. Sometimes the old school needs to be moved out for the new school to come in. But, yeah, cancel culture is such a f–king downer. I hate that term.”

[From THR]

WTF is she even talking about with the Me Too stuff? It’s not her responsibility to cape for those men or condemn them, but maybe acknowledge that their sh-t isn’t just “cancel culture run amok.” Johnny Depp physically, emotionally and financially abused his now ex-wife. Armie Hammer is accused of rape! Shia LaBeouf is accused of physical and emotional abuse. Dakota can say “it’s not my business” or “no comment” but her answer completely sucks.

Cover and IG courtesy of THR.

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

51 Responses to “Dakota Johnson: ‘Cancel culture is such a f—ing downer. I hate that term’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Laura-Lee MacDonald says:

    No duh those predatory douchés wouldn’t have treated HER that way. She’s got her parents and their legacy to protect her. God, I get so mad at people who say: Well, I NEVER saw that. Of course not! You’re aren’t the vulnerable, and therefore, attractive target. Argghghggghjnvfdvjfdccvbnn

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      Exactly! She’s not a vulnerable person. So it’s easy for her to say people can change. Let’s see her say that after she gets abused by a partner. Insufferable.

      Like Gwennie, her parents were legacies. No, Weinstein didn’t do to her what he did to others or if he did she went along with it because look at her career.

      • Carol says:

        I actually do believe people can change- I’ve seen it firsthand. And I don’t think Dakota escaped the wrath of Depp and Shia because she is the daughter of celebs. Other actresses who didn’t come from privilege have also expressed the same thing.
        And I agree that the cancel culture has gone to far. We have to allow people to change. She also acknowledged that the industry does need to change starting from the top executives. I don’t know. I didn’t see anything wrong with het answers.

      • remarks says:

        For less extreme behaviour, I think some people can change. But I’m not entirely convinced some of these Hollywood men like Armie Hammer in their insulated bubbles can. Maybe it depends on how extreme the crime is — Armie Hammer’s behaviour sounds off-the-charts cray-cray. I’d move to the other side of the street if I saw him.

        I’m not sure of all what Shia Laboeuf has done but a few headlines screamed extreme weirdness to me. I was probably too disturbed to keep reading the rest of the articles.

        In the context of other examples, her answer might not have seemed as odd. But for the particular acts these men have done, her answer seemed off. I half-wondered if she had actually read some of what they’re accused of.

        That said, I don’t think she should have to answer this type of question at all. She’s not responsible for their behaviour. She simply worked with them.

      • Maria says:

        @ Carol – anyone who is “cancelled” is that way because they don’t want to change.
        That’s what this is about.
        And abuse isn’t consistent. That is why it’s dangerous to talk about “oh, nobody had issues before!”

      • ExpectationvsReality says:

        @Carol Who is cancelled? Certainly not Johnny Depp or Roman Polanski or Woody Allen or Chris Brown. There is no such thing in Cancel Culture because -no one has been actually cancelled. I guess maybe Armie Hammer but the man is an allegedly a rapist and there were rumors he wanted to eat people’s bodies. Kinda hard to come back from that, but he’s rich and white so he’s not arrested and he sitting pretty somewhere.

        Dealing with consequences is not getting cancelled, and honestly, most of the time no one has to even deal with those consequences.

    • Beth says:

      This a million times!

      Abusers don’t abuse everyone and can we stop with the pity party about losing artists who turn out to be rapists? There are many, many other artists that maybe wouldn’t do the same thing, but would do something equally brilliant.

      I agree that people should be allowed to change and evolve. That is not what me too or “cancel culture” is about. People became angry when they saw people repeatedly doing the same thing and/or not showing remorse, even publically attacking their victims. Growth takes time, genuine acknowledgement of what was wrong, and a lot of work. The people who get “cancelled” don’t do that.

      Also the term cancel culture has been co-opted by the right and implies that there’s some secret vote where we decide who we’ll continue to support. It’s actually just many people who individually choose to no longer support that person because of their behaviour. If that makes them no longer a good financial investment for studios, that’s on them.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        “People became angry when they saw people repeatedly doing the same thing and/or not showing remorse, even publically attacking their victims.”

        AND when they found out that the studios KNEW most of it and still hired/cast these jerks.

      • HelloDolly! says:

        Yes, let’s just cancel culture what it is: accountability. Accountability for those who abuse power and who are enabled by others to continue to abuse their power. Honestly, I am so sick of the term cancel culture being used to discredit actual outrage and condemnation of gross inequality and power dynamics.

      • HeatherC says:

        I think you can feel a loss at cancel culture. Take Bill Cosby, I’m an 80s kid. I grew up with the Cosby Show, Pudding Pops commercials, my parents introduced me to his comedy albums. I loved them. I loved him Or who he presented himself to be.

        Now I feel sad, because all those years I admired him and laughed at his comedy and watched every episode….he was a garbage person. A rapist. An abuser of women and trust. I’m still angry that he hid in plain sight beneath a veneer of humor and “respectability”

        The memory is still there, nostalgic, how much I enjoyed his work. How I laughed. And I’m sad I lost that, sad for myself because he’s a raping dumpster fire of a person. The illusion has been shattered and yes, in a small way, I lost something.

    • olliesmom says:

      Yep. She walked in with power already – her parents.

    • Isabella says:

      Carol: Dakota got lucky. She is not better than other women. She is not better than the victims of Shia, Johnny and Armie. Please don’t be an enabler–or engage in gaslighting other women.

      You know who has talent? Amber Heard. FKA Twigs. Their stories are sad. Please listen.

  2. remarks says:

    The last answer was very inarticulate. She was all over the place. Whatever “over correction” means threw me off — she went off on a tangent or something.

  3. Amy Bee says:

    Ugh, what a terrible response.

    • A says:

      I wish interviewers would ask ‘so, you don’t believe their accusers?’ as a follow up question when people give such terrible answers

  4. Woke says:

    I quite like her and at the same time not really surprised by her comments. She grew up in the industry so some part of her will always feel the need to both side the issue. You can not in the same breath say you feel for the abusers then say you feel for the victims as well. I don’t get why she brings up cancel culture only one of these people truly lost his career. The rest are still working. I hope she can in the future look back at her comments and see how problematic it was.

  5. minx says:

    Oh, brother.

  6. grabbyhands says:

    You know what else is a bummer?

    People who act like actual abusers and rapists are somehow being judged harshly.

    PS Plenty of these assholes still have thriving careers, including Johnny Depp. Ask Mel Gibson if he’s hurting for work or accolades despite being a violent, abusive, anti-Semitic monster.

    I am so tired of people trying so hard to walk the redemption road for these men – so far as I have heard, all of them are unrepentant and have only offered half apologies that mostly involved whining about cancel culture and being “misunderstood”. Sometimes people are bad and they do what they do because they like it and they know they can get away with it. Like, Arnie Hammer has been quiet, but trust that not far down the line someone is going to give him an Oscar bait job and people will fall all over themselves to hear “his side” of the story.

  7. milliemollie says:

    Yay, we found a new best friend for Scarjo!

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      Haha! I needed a laugh thanks. That’s the perfect answer.

    • Christina says:

      BWAH Hahahahahaha!! You win, MillieMollie!

      So true. She and ScarJo should make a movie called, “The Karens Care”.

      She needs some real diversity in her life, but privileged people don’t need to incorporate complexity. Their exposure to the truly vulnerable is limited, “artsy”, removed. We are paintings and articles to someone like her. Dakota managed to dehumanize every one of those men’s victims in a few sentences.

      I now see an air head when I see her face. Until she starts sounding smart, I can’t unsee the ignorance. Once that has happened, I cannot suspend seeing the actor instead of the character they play. No more Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Dennis Miller, ScarJo…. The list goes on.

      Welcome to the club, Dakota! Not that you care, because you don’t have to.

      • Suzybontime says:

        I always thought she was an airhead. She reminds me of her Mother who reminds of one too!!!

      • remarks says:

        I’ve always thought of Dakota as a bit soft-spoken.

        Maybe this is the first time I’ve seen her have to answer a “hard” or critical thinking question. When the real thought process comes out, it’s like uh-oh.

        I never really thought of her mom as smart. So, yeah, I guess it makes sense Dakota wouldn’t be either.

  8. Case says:

    I generally really like Dakota but oof, that Me Too answer is just messy and all over the place. Unfortunately she’s worked with three men who have caused very real harm and abuse, not just like, tweeted something offensive.

    That said, it shouldn’t be on her to answer for their major issues. That’s a difficult thing to ask of someone. They’re her former coworkers, and I’m tired of the press asking women to comment on their colleagues’ problems that they probably know little about and shouldn’t speak on to begin with.

  9. VeryVery says:

    She’s pointless AND bland – what a nepotism win

  10. Mia4s says:

    D’awwww the rich white nepotism baby is sad everyone! Quick get out your tiniest violin to play. 🙄

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Right! I used to like her, now I will skip by anything she has to say or do. She grew up with Hollywood royalty!! Look at her grandmother! She is HW Royalty and she speaks like an idiot. Maybe she needs to go back to school.

  11. tealily says:

    “I feel sad for people needing help and perhaps not getting it in time.” Because no one ever tried to help Johnny Depp or Shia LaBeouf? A certain level of personal responsibility is required here too.

  12. Monica says:

    Here she is with a lukewarm take, and totally insulated from the realities of life out here. Usually I hate that cliché “Shut up and [dance/sing/act],” but maybe it’s warranted in some cases.

  13. remarks says:

    Kind of wondered if maybe she’s been exposed to a lot of strange things from a young age through her parents, and perhaps this behaviour doesn’t seem strange to her…

  14. Robyn says:

    Rich white woman says what?

  15. canichangemyname says:

    She really shouldn’t have been asked in the first place. I’d hate to have to answer for a former coworker’s crimes if it was a coworker I liked and didn’t have a problem with personally – it’s not her responsibility to be accountable for them, and I wish people stop putting women in that position. That being said, her answer was BAD. Cancel culture is “such a bummer?” Come on! OH no, we lost talented artists? Most of them are still getting work and for every problematic talented artist we “lose” to “cancel culture,” there are no doubt tons of non-rapists, non-abusers who are also talented.

    She grew up in a bubble and she’s clearly still in that bubble, and I honestly find her incredibly overrated as an actor.

  16. Malificent says:

    I like Dakota, but I get super PO’d when I hear people who have the opportunity and money to get an education talk about it like it’s unnecessary. You don’t need higher formal education to be an actress, but you need to not run your mouth off like high school is non-essential.

    My mother didn’t have the opportunity to finish high school. My father’s mother was made to quit school in the 4th grade to help care for her eight younger siblings. Every time my son complains about classwork, he gets that lecture. Education is a privilege, even in the developed world in this day and age.

    • Granger says:

      I love this comment, Malificent, and totally agree. I get so angry when wealthy, privileged white kids who will never, in their entire lives, have to worry about money or their “status” in the world start blabbing on about how education is useless, why go to college (or finish highschool) if it’s not what you want to do, etc. Tell that to the young women in Afghanistan who can’t go back to school since the Taliban took over, and who face so much uncertainty and fear about their futures. I bet they’re all thinking, yeah, education is useless anyway. I’ll just go and become an actor instead.

      I know this is just Dakota spouting her own “truth” but it’s tone deaf and ignorant to the extreme.

  17. Léna says:

    Damn. I don’t know why, even knowing she benefits from nepotism and i don’t find her talented, I was starting to like her. Well now it’s all gone. What a mess

    • remarks says:

      I’ve found her likable on shows like Ellen. But….now I think maybe she should have taken a couple of more courses past high school.

  18. Rare0217 says:

    I don’t take life advice or accept cancel commentary from anyone raised in a family that thought the film Roar was a good idea. Pepperidge Farm remembers…

  19. D says:

    Not only does her privilege make her see things this way but also the fact that her parents’ relationship was creepy at its origin and her dad really did groom her mom. Melanie was a teenager when they started living together. Her mom also had serious drug and alcohol issues and so Dakota grew up with a skewed idea of what “normal” is and what is permissible and accepted. I’m not at all defending her, I think she has it all wrong, but I can see where she gets those ideas.

  20. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Then say boycott.

  21. bisynaptic says:

    did she think alfred hitchcock got cancelled too much by her grandmother, tippi hedren?

  22. Onomo says:

    She’s not angry enough about these issues for me.

    Her vibe is that she seems like that disaffected cool girl, which was also how I would have described Gwyneth Paltrow, until her dad died and she had babies, and it sounds like Chris Martin just bounced from her emotions, and GP had to hide how unhappy she was.

    Anyway the whole point is that being the cool girl sucks, and having actual anger at unfair situations and abuse is ok, and I hope she takes a stand eventually, as opposed to her tepid stance that “female empowerment is female investment” she has made elsewhere.

  23. remarks says:

    I’m surprised a publicist doesn’t better prepare an answer for her.

    I’m always puzzled by the notion of being sad about losing great artists. Wouldn’t some normal sane person who is capable of producing good art replace Armie Hammer, Shia LaBoeuf or Johnny Depp in a movie? Hollywood isn’t short on people looking for roles — you can easily find another person capable of producing an award-winning performance. The world isn’t going to fall apart if they never see another Armie Hammer performance.

  24. phlyfiremama says:

    Wow, let me see if I got this right: the utterly unspecial and VERY ordinary, over privileged queen of nepotism actresses is complaining about what we the ordinary people choose to spend our energy, time and money on because…boo hoo hoo, or whatever. #HitThemWhereItHurts #EmbargoAndCancelAway #NoClicksNoLikesNoArticlesNoValidation

  25. Gigi LaMoore says:

    Like Jennifer Aniston, another very bland, very boring one. She thinks she is deep and saying important things. She’s not.

  26. Chingalos says:

    She shouldn’t fear being “cancelled.” To be “cancelled” you have to at least ping on someone’s radar. Considering that she has as much personality as a dry sponge, I’d say she’s safe from cancellation.

  27. Chingalos says:

    I know it gets them clicks and all, but journalists should really stop asking these kinds of questions to people like Dakota “not the brightest crayon in the box” Johnson.

    For every Hedy Lamar there’s a million actors collectively working with a single braincell and we should treat them accordingly and ask them questions that are on their level like “nice day outside, isn’t it?”

  28. A. Key says:

    Nah, men who hit and rape women don’t get a second chance, sorry. I don’t care how sorry they are or how much they’ve “changed”. You hit a woman or rape someone, you get cancelled for life and if it were up to me I’d lock you up and throw away the key.

  29. Isabella says:

    I begin to think that Dakota isn’t very smart. I have read Elena Ferrante’s wonderful work, all of it, and this is NOT what “The Lost Daughter” is about. What a dumb word salad. What the hell?

    “Nina is struggling, she’s disappearing. To have this woman whose internal landscape is so different than what she’s projecting, that was really, really special. Because you see her, and no one is thinking about that girl’s mind. I am not a mother, but I know what it feels like to be scared or to be like, ‘Will I be a good mother?’ But for some reason, there’s this stigma around talking about that. And there’s a stigma around having just the thought of, ‘What if I walked out that f–king door? For a week or a minute for a cigarette.’ But you’re not supposed to say that out loud. Why? It’s so human and so relatable.”

    BTW, the film is now on Netflix so we can all judge for ourselves.