Vanity Fair has said it is standing by their recent Angelina Jolie interview, following the actress’s claim that her words had been misreported.
The actress was at the centre of a backlash when the US magazine ran quotes from her detailing how Cambodian children had been cast in her new film, ‘First They Killed My Father’.
In it, Angelina spoke of how directors had set up an improvised situation where they were giving money to poor children from orphanages, slum schools and circuses before taking it away to see how they would react.
After some claimed she had exploited vulnerable young people, Angelina claimed her comments had been taken out of context.
She insisted the process was pretend and the money that was used during the exercise was not real, emphasising that “every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort and well-being of the children”.
Vanity Fair have now revealed they were contacted by Angelina’s lawyers, who claimed contributing editor Evgenia Peretz had “mistakenly” reported the audition process.
In a statement, they said they were refusing to take the article down from their online edition and would not be issuing an apology in their next edition, as requested by Angelina’s legal team.
It then published a section of the interview’s transcript, which further detailed the “game” the children and the directors played.
The magazine alleges Angelina said:
“I think, I mean they didn’t know. We just went in and—you just go in and do some auditions with the kids. And it’s not really an audition with children.
“We had this game where it would be—and I wasn’t there and they didn’t know what they were really doing. They kind of said, ‘Oh, a camera’s coming up and we want to play a game with you.’ And the game for that character was ‘We’re going to put some money on the table. Think of something that you need that money for.’ Sometimes it was money, sometimes it was a cookie. [Laughter] ‘And then take it.’ And then we would catch them. ‘We’re going to catch you, and we’d like you to try to lie that you didn’t have it.’”
Read the full transcript here.
HuffPost UK has contacted a representative for Angelina Jolie for comment on the transcripts, and is awaiting a response.
The original story’s publication was met with a wave of negative responses, with Angelina and the directors accused of exploitation, othering and emotional manipulation.
Following the controversy, the film’s producer, Rithy Panh, also issued a statement, claiming the Vanity Fair interview “grossly mischaracterised how child actors were selected for the film”.
“Angelina and I took the greatest care to ensure their welfare was protected,” he said.
“The children were not tricked or entrapped, as some have suggested. They understood very well that this was acting, and make believe.”
He continued: “Great care was taken with the children not only during auditions, but throughout the entirety of the film’s making... The children’s well-being was monitored by a special team each day, including at home, and contact continues to the present.”
‘First They Killed My Father’ tells the story of the Khmer Rouge genocide, which occurred from 1975 until 1979, and killed two million Cambodians.
It is based upon the memoirs of author Loung Ung, who will be played in the film by Srey Moch, following her successful audition during Angelina’s casting process.