“Spit-Gate” and Controversy Surrounding “Don’t Worry Darling”

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh in Dont Worry Darling.

Warner Bros

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh in ‘Don’t Worry Darling.’

Olivia Liegl, Staff Writer

From wage gap discrepancies to off-screen feuds, the lead-up to the release of the highly anticipated “Don’t Worry Darling” film has in many ways drawn in more spectacle than the film itself. 

Many question the reality of the controversies that are currently surrounding this film, whether or not they are legitimate or if they are fabricated to get people to do exactly what is happening and talk about the film. The upcoming movie stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles living as a couple in a utopian community (that in many ways is too good to be true). Let’s have a rundown on the timeline of events leading up to the release of the movie on September 23, 2022. 

On September 11, 2020, actor and alleged abuser, Shia LaBeouf, who was set to be a leading actor in the film alongside actress Florence Pugh, was removed from the movie. At the time, Variety claimed that LaBeouf was “dropped” from the film, in many ways implying he was fired. Olivia Wilde also claims, during her Variety interview, that she has a “no asshole policy”, which many believe was directed towards LaBeouf. Singer and actor Harry Styles was then set to replace LaBeouf’s role shortly thereafter. 

In January 2021, Styles and Wilde are spotted together “holding hands” outside of the film set, and speculation begins to stir regarding a romantic relationship between the two of them. 

Throughout the lead-up to the movie’s release, Wilde constantly praised Pugh’s performance in the film. On Jul 21, 2022, Wilde uploaded a post to Instagram dedicated to the praise of Pugh’s work, with the caption “Watching this woman work was such a f****** thrill! Cannot wait to show you more. @florencepugh @dontworrydarling.”

However, many people take notice of the fact that Pugh is noticeably silent regarding the promo for this film, failing to react to Wilde’s Instagram posts and words of praise leading up to the film.

Accusations in August began to emerge that Pugh was paid three times less than co-star Styles for the film, to which Wilde responded by saying it was “clickbait.”

Things began to heat up once again on September 5th, when the movie premiered at the Venice Film Festival, as Harry Styles was allegedly recorded to have “spit” on co-star Chris Pine. Many people on social media believe this incident is indicative of a behind-the-scenes feud and have coined it “spit-gate”.

Along with various accusations of Pugh and Wilde having disagreements regarding the movie’s promo, most of the alleged controversy behind the film is purely hearsay. However, regardless of if the feuds have truth behind them or not, the entire situation sheds a broader light on the prevalence of PR stunts in Hollywood. Though the truth behind “spit-gate” may never be revealed, there’s no denying that audiences are eager to watch this movie; although this may be attributed to reasons outside the film itself.