Rachel Zegler Speaks on the Ansel Elgort Allegations: “There's Been a Lot of Awakening”

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As the West Side Story press tour nears its end, Rachel Zegler is addressing concerning allegations previously made against her costar Ansel Elgort. The actor, who plays Tony, was accused of sexual assault nearly a year after filming wrapped on the remake, and Zegler, who plays Maria, hadn’t directly spoken on the matter until a recent Hollywood Reporter interview. “We made a movie two and a half years ago, and a lot has gone on in the world since then,” Zegler says in the cover story.

In June 2020, a woman came forward on Twitter accusing Elgort of sexually assaulting her in 2014, when she was 17 and he was 20. “I just want to heal and I want to tell other girls who have been through the same sh*t as me, you’re not alone,” she said at the time. Elgort denied the allegations in a now-deleted statement, categorising his relationship with the woman as “brief, legal, and entirely consensual.” (The age of consent in New York, where the incident took place, is 17.)

“There’s been a lot of awakening.”

Elgort wasn’t edited out of West Side Story, but he was noticeably sidelined in the ensuing press tour. And although the cast and crew didn’t comment on the controversy, Zegler seemed to allude to the allegations in a tweet shared the same day they surfaced. “I am feeling a little lost tonight and i am feeling a little disappointed. i know some of you are, too,” she said, “that’s the world right now- but it’s necessary.” In The Hollywood Reporter, Zegler now says, “A lot has changed very publicly, and privately as well. There’s been a lot of awakening. You just hope that the people involved are OK, that they are asked in a respectful manner and that they are given the opportunity to answer for themselves.”

Ariana DeBose and Rita Moreno also shared their perspectives in the cover story. DeBose says, “Nobody really knows what’s going on in anyone’s head. Only the people who were involved in that situation know what actually went down.” Moreno adds, “I think it would have been absolutely horrendous and wrong for anyone to take sides in that matter. It’s not for me to make those judgments.”

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