In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dakota Johnson was asked about working with several now-disgraced stars including Johnny Depp and Shia LaBeouf. The actress has joined a chorus of celebrities that have slammed “cancel culture” in the past, noting that “people can change”.
“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,” Johnson said. “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.
“Cancel culture is such a f–king downer. I hate that term,” she added.
The 50 Shades of Grey actress starred alongside Depp on the 2015 thriller Black Mass. The actor is accused of physical and verbal abuse against ex-wife Amber Heard. Johnson appeared opposite Shia LaBeouf in the comedy-drama The Peanut Butter Falcon in 2019 – LaBeouf was later accused of domestic violence by FKA Twigs – and acted with Armie Hammer in the 2019 Horror film, Wounds. Hammer was accused of sexual assault and cannibalism in early 2020.
“I never experienced that firsthand from any of those people,” she said of her past co-stars. “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.”
The 32-year-old did note that in some ways, the concerning behaviour in Hollywood is a reflection of past culture and that change is needed.
“The way that studios have been run up until now, and still now, is behind,” she told the publication. “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.”
Last month Reese Witherspoon echoed these comments: “What about people who are genuinely contrite, or who have committed forgivable offences?”
Other celebrities to discuss the phenomenon include Olivia Jade who was at the centre of the 2019 College Admissions Scandal and Yara Shahidi who discussed the culture with Barack Obama.