It’s not every day that a famous actor slides into a journalist’s DMs—and in most cases, probably, we’d love it. But for Lena Wilson, a writer and film critic for the New York Times, it made for a whole lot of unnecessary drama. After Wilson’s review of Bodies Bodies Bodies published on August 4, she received a message from Amandla Stenberg, one of the film’s stars, and let’s just say… things got a little heated.
The once-private exchange, which Wilson posted on Twitter, shows an Instagram message from Stenberg that reads, “ur review was great, maybe if you had gotten ur eyes off my tits you could’ve watched the movie!” The comment’s in reference to a particularly snarky line in Wilson’s review: “The only thing that really sets Bodies Bodies Bodies apart is its place in the A24 hype machine, where it doubles as a 95-minute advertisement for cleavage and Charli XCX’s latest single.” Stenberg apparently took this line to be about her, since the actor has said her chest size always seems to be a topic of conversation.
Wilson, clearly offended by Stenberg’s message, wrote back on Instagram, “hey, amanda! generally a big fan of your work, but this sure is something. really wishing you well in your career and life. have a nice night,” before blocking her. She then aired out the rest of her grievances of Twitter, sharing a screenshot of Stenberg’s DM and then writing, “always weird when the homophobia is coming from inside the house but this is something.” Wilson must have read Stenberg’s “eyes off my tits” message as a dig at her sexuality.
Even though Wilson claimed that she didn’t “want anything more to come of this,” she then went on TikTok to rehash the same damn exchange instead of just letting it go. After sharing the screenshot again, which she believes “speaks for itself,” Wilson said, “I don’t want this person who has more social power than me to think that it’s fucking okay to do something like this.” In the caption, she wrote, “Unfathomably weird to get ‘i don’t want you in the locker room while i’m changing’ bullying from a whole other lesbian.’”
But while Wilson was busy pumping out more content, Stenberg tried to set the record straight. Through a fit of giggles, she explained in an Instagram story that she thought the “cleavage” line was hilarious and wanted the joke to be a bonding moment. “I thought because Lena is gay, I am also gay, [that] as gay people we would both find this comment funny. I was curious what Lena would say to such a statement,” she explained. Obviously, the inside joke did not land as such!
Stenberg also explained that people have always been quick to point out her big boobs: “I do get tired of people talking about my chest. There seems to be a lot of unwarranted conversation around my chest.” But, she acknowledged, “I think Lena was trying to make a comment about A24 sexualizing me, sexualizing my body, exploiting young women in order to sensationalize them, to make their media more popular, which I understand.”
The actor made clear that she isn’t holding any grudges, closing out by saying, “Anyways Lena, I thought your review was hilarious, I thought my DM was funny, I didn’t mean to harass you, I do not wish you any harm. You are allowed to have your criticisms of my work, and I am allowed to have my criticisms of your work. And that is A-okay with me. And I wish you the best.”
Afterward, Stenberg posted a screenshot of another one of Wilson’s tweets, this one reading: “me: (spends one line of a 500-word review facetiously commenting on how A24 objectifies young women to sell content). random men on twitter dot com and also, apparently, amandla stenberg: Local Dyke Cannot Stop Talking About Boobies.” Above the screenshot, she tagged Wilson and joked, “I will change my bio to Local Dyke Who Cannot Stop Talking About Boobies if you will?”
We haven’t heard anything from Wilson since Stenberg spoke out, and after posting about the whole debacle, the critic made her Twitter account private. But we’ll be sure to keep an eye on their profiles in case they both put boobies in their bios to let us all know they’ve called a truce.