Sydney Sweeney Says People Posted Nude Photos of Her and Tagged Her Family
“You have a character that goes through the scrutiny of being a sexualized person at school and then an audience that does the same thing," Sweeney told GQ.Celebrities
Sydney Sweeney’s expressive facial reactions on Euphoria have sparked many a meme across the internet, but over the summer, she went viral for another reason: Sweeney posted photos of herself at her mom’s MAGA-themed birthday party, posing next to family members in Blue Lives Matter shirts and pro-Trump paraphernalia. Social media users took issue with the photos, which, fair enough, but in a new interview with GQ UK, Sweeney revealed she’s been facing vicious, often highly sexualized online attacks—namely posts of her nude scenes on Euphoria to harass her family members.
“It got to the point where they were tagging my family. My cousins don’t need that. It’s completely disgusting and unfair,” she told the magazine. “You have a character that goes through the scrutiny of being a sexualized person at school and then an audience that does the same thing.”
Sweeney also discussed the hyper-sexualization of her body and the curious dynamics of being an adult actor who plays a high school student with pretty extensive amounts of sex scenes and nudity. But she talked about her body—an object of pretty extensive internet ogling—as neither innately empowering nor a source of victimization. She’s just playing a character, Sweeney told the magazine. The reaction to her nude scenes “makes me want to play characters that piss people off more,” she said.
“I find it interesting that in our long and winding conversation Sweeney never conflates her own self-confidence and body image with a wider feminist movement,” GQ’s Olivia Pym wrote about her conversation with Sweeney. “Perhaps she knows people are tired of everything being empowering, or perhaps she’s aware that people don’t think feminism is for a girl that looks like her.”
The White Lotus star also commented further on the online backlash to her mother’s birthday party, but was understandably unwilling to say much: “Honestly I feel like nothing I say can help the conversation,” Sweeney said. “It’s been turning into a wildfire and nothing I can say will take it back to the correct track.”
It goes without saying that white people in America are going to have conservative family members. Sweeney’s family comes from the MAGA-stronghold of Spokane County. It seems unfair to hold her responsible for that, but understandably, some fans are going to question what the actor’s politics might entail in the absence of any political statements from Sweeney beyond her birthday post for her mom.
One thing Sweeney has made statements about is the prevalence of industry nepo-babies, as someone who grew up without connections in a poor family. She expanded on her thoughts in GQ. “I might have had to work longer to get through the same door they were able to walk through,” Sweeney said. “But there’s nothing I can do. I never knew that existed until I got to this place and then I was like, ‘What the fuck was I doing for 10 years?!’” I have to wonder what it’s like being co-stars with someone with the last name Apatow!
Despite the backlash to her family MAGA party and ongoing harassment of her over nude scenes in Euphoria, Sweeney is booking project after project lately, and is currently filming the Sony Spider-verse movie Madame Web alongside Dakota Johnson.