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8 Times Celebs Said Something Controversial Then Claimed They Were Taken Out Of Context

The words from celebrities are quite often misquoted or taken out of context. With the insane amount of interviews and social media posts they make, the press loves to make a couple of changes here and there to gain more attention. For years, big artists like Halsey have been calling out the press for bastardizing their quotes.

However, some famous people just said something really controversial and then claimed it was “taken out of context” as a way to escape the massive backlash. So let’s look back at these times and see how these stars manage to pull it off and successfully defend themselves.

1. Madonna

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At the 2017 Women’s March, Madonna said, “Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House. But I know that this won’t change anything. We cannot fall into despair.”

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Her quote was deemed as a way of promoting violence and she was facing a massive wave of backlash. The Queen of Pop later wrote on her Instagram, explaining that she wasn’t a violent person and that she didn’t promote it. She claimed that she was speaking in metaphor and shared her two ways of looking at things. One was to be hopeful, and one was to feel anger and outrage, which she had personally felt.

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“It’s important people hear and understand my speech in its entirety rather than one phrase taken wildly out of context. My speech began with ‘I want to start a revolution of love,’” she added.

2. Sydney Sweeney

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In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Sydney Sweeney said “If I wanted to take a six-month break, I don’t have the income to cover that.” Her comment went viral and she received many criticisms saying she was being out of touch since most people couldn’t afford to take six months off work either.

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However, the actress later told Elle that her answer was taken out of context. She was asked if she wanted to have a family, and after she said yes, they continued to ask why she didn’t have one yet. Sweeney then answered that she didn’t have time to take a six-month break and she certainly wouldn’t have the time to start a good family.

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“It was kind of skewed with the public and taken out of context, which was insane to watch and kind of disappointing, too, because I think that being a mother, and a working mother, is really important,” she said.

3. Kim Kardashian

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Kim Kardashian told Variety, “I have the best advice for women in business. Get your fucking ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.” This statement pissed off a lot of people. They felt like she didn’t acknowledge the privilege and wealth she was born into.

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In her interview with Good Morning America, Kim said that statement sounded bitey because they didn’t include the question before that. She claimed that before she answered that way, the other person told her: “After 20 years of being in the business you’re famous for being famous.” This was why she answered back with such a bitey tone, and she was really sorry if it came out sounding entitled.

4. Scarlett Johansson

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Scarlett Johansson received a huge boycott after she played an Asian character in Ghost in the Shell. The actress told AS IF, “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.”

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After that statement, many people were calling her out for taking roles that weren’t hers to play, thus robbing the chances for minority actors. It also inspired a lot of memes joking about anyone or anything could be played by Scarlett Johansson.

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The actress claimed her quote was edited for clickbait and is widely taken out of context. She was answering about the confrontation between political correctness and art. Johansson’s statement was to make her point that in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody, and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness.

She also apologized if her comments came out offensive to many people. The actress would always support diversity in every industry.

5. Meryl Streep

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At the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, an Egyptian journalist asked Meryl Streep if she thought she could understand African and Middle Eastern films. The actress replied, “I don’t know very much, honestly, about the Middle East. And yet I’ve played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures, and the thing that I notice is that we’re all — there is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture. And after all, we’re all from Africa, originally. You know, we’re all Berliners, we’re all Africans, really.”

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Needless to say, her “we’re all Africans” remark was heavily criticized alongside the then-ongoing #OscarsSoWhite debate about the lack of diversity in movies. The actress explained herself in an essay for HuffPost, saying no one at that press conference addressed a question to her about the racial makeup of the jury.

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She claimed that she didn’t ‘defend’ the ‘all-white jury,’ and she wasn’t minimizing difference either. Streep was emphasizing the invisible connection empathy enables and what art can do instead.

6. Ben Affleck

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On The Howard Stern Show, Ben Affleck claimed that he’d “probably still be drinking” if he was still married to Jennifer Garner. He continued, “It’s part of why I started drinking…because I was trapped. … I was like ‘I can’t leave ’cause of my kids, but I’m not happy, what do I do?’ What I did was drink a bottle of scotch and fall asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution.”

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A lot of people criticized Affleck after his statements. They said he was blaming his ex-wife for his alcoholism, and they started to defend Jennifer, who supported him in his recovery during and after their marriage. The actor later shared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, “I looked at [the article], and they had literally taken the conversation that I had had for two hours and made it seem as if I was saying the exact opposite of what I had said.”

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He claimed that the previous post made him sound like the most insensitive, stupid, and awful guy. He had never said a bad word about Jennifer, and he never would.

7. Lana Del Rey

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Lana Del Rey told BBC Radio 1 that she thought the madness of Trump needed to happen and we really needed a reflection of our world’s greatest problem, which according to her wasn’t climate change, but sociopathy and narcissism. She said: “It’s going to kill the world. … We finally have to address this big issue in the world, of what we do with people who don’t know they’re hurting other people — like Trump. He doesn’t know that he’s inciting a riot, and I believe that. He’s got delusions of grandeur. I think he’s unwell.”

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The singer was accused of defending then-president Donald Trump and his supporters who stormed the Capitol. She later explained herself on Twitter, claiming she mentioned Trump only as an example of how sociopathy and narcissism could ruin the whole society in America.

8. Vanessa Hudgens

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During the worst wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanessa Hudgens streamed on Instagram to complain about events being canceled. She said, “But like, it’s a virus. I get it, I respect it. But at the same time, like, even if everyone gets it, like yeah, people are gonna die, which is terrible, but like, inevitable?”

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Needless to say, she faced massive backlash for how ignorant she was about the dangerous pandemic. She returned to Instagram the next day and post her apology, explaining that she realized her words were insensitive and not at all appropriate for the situation they were in back then. “This has been a huge wake-up call about the significance my words have, now more than ever,” she said.

These stars might claim their quotes are out of context but do you really believe them? Speaking about controversy, there are some really controversial TV episodes that were instantly banned due to their shocking nature. Do you know any of them?