The Sad Reason Why Megan Fox Kept Quiet About Her #MeToo Stories

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Launched to fame via the first Transformers movie, Megan Fox was once one of Hollywood’s most in-demand young actresses. But that all changed when she spoke out about the questionable on-set behavior of its director Michael Bay. Indeed, instead of receiving support from the industry, she was made to feel like a pariah.

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Thankfully, times have changed since then. And with the rise of the #MeToo movement, more and more female figures have bravely stepped forward with their own stories of behind-the-scenes emotional, physical and sexual abuse. However, despite this shift in the culture, Fox has largely kept quiet about the issue.

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Not that you can blame Fox for doing so. Indeed, having previously been savaged for putting her head above the parapet, it’s entirely understandable that she’d be reticent to do it again. Here’s a look at the star’s harrowing experiences and the impact it’s had on both her mindset and career.

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Born in the Tennessee city of Oak Ridge in 1986, Megan Fox grew up in a strict Pentecostal family, eventually taking up drama, dance and modeling. Her first official acting appearance came in 2001, playing a bratty heiress in straight-to-DVD teen movie Holiday in the Sun. Three years later, she ventured on to the big screen as Lindsay Lohan’s rival in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.

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Fox then replaced Nicole Paggi as Sydney in the second season of sitcom Hope and Faith, before landing the role that would change her life. Indeed, in 2007 she was cast alongside Shia LaBeouf as the lead in Michael Bay’s Transformers. Fox picked up MTV Movie Award and Teen Choice Award nominations for her performance as Mikaela Barnes and quickly became one of Hollywood’s hottest pin-ups.

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But her breakthrough came at a cost. Apparently, she clashed with Michael Bay, with the director allegedly instructing the actress to put on ten pounds for the 2009 sequel Revenge of the Fallen. Their working relationship went from bad to worse when Fox compared Bay to one of history’s most evil tyrants.

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Indeed, while speaking to Wonderland magazine in 2009, Fox said, “[Bay] wants to create this insane, infamous mad-man reputation. He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he’s a nightmare to work for but when you get him away from set – and he’s not in director mode – I kind of really enjoy his personality because he’s so awkward, so hopelessly awkward.”

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Fox then expanded on how the blockbuster filmmaker is a completely different person when he’s not sitting in the director’s chair. She continued, “He has no social skills at all. It’s endearing to watch him. He’s so vulnerable and fragile in real life and then on set, he’s a tyrant.”

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Fox’s claims appeared to be backed up by Shia LaBeouf. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, her co-star in the first two Transformers films noted, “Mike films women in a way that appeals to a 16-year-old sexuality. It’s summer. It’s Michael’s style. And I think [Fox] never got comfortable with it.”

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LaBeouf continued, “This is a girl who was taken from complete obscurity and placed in a sex-driven role in front of the whole world and told she was the sexiest woman in America. And she had a hard time accepting it. When Mike would ask her to do specific things, there was no time for fluffy talk. We’re on the run. And the one thing Mike lacks is tact.”

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Of course, Transformers wasn’t the first time that Fox had experienced Bay’s apparently questionable way of making movies. In 2003 she was cast as a bikini-clad extra in his bombastic sequel, Bad Boys II, despite the fact she was only 15 at the time. “They were shooting this club scene and they brought me in,” Fox told Jimmy Kimmel in 2009. “I was wearing a stars-and-stripes bikini and a red cowboy hat and, like, six-inch heels.”

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Fox continued, “[Bay] approved it, and they said, you know, Michael, she’s 15 so you can’t sit her at the bar and she can’t have a drink in her hand. So his solution to that problem was to then have me dancing underneath a waterfall getting soaking wet. At 15, I was in 10th grade. So that’s sort of a microcosm of how Bay’s mind works.”

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Four years later, Fox was apparently invited to an unusual audition for Transformers at the director’s house. Indeed, the actress was allegedly asked to clean Bay’s beloved Ferrari as he captured her on camera. At a Revenge of the Fallen press conference, Fox also revealed that Bay would invite several of her male co-stars to ogle her while she was being fitted up by wardrobe.

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“[Bay] was auditioning Ramon [Rodriguez] and some of the other characters, and there was just a room full of men upstairs in his office,” Fox told the press. “It was Shia, Ramon, two other actors and [Bay], and I had to, like, come up and down [the stairs] and knock on the door and try on all my wardrobe, and I had, like, 18 different outfits. It was white-jean shorts, a pink belly-shirt, motorcycle boots, and we went through a whole thing.”

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Fox was also supposedly made to feel like little more than window dressing when she appeared on camera, too. The actress would ask questions about her character and movements while filming scenes for the Transformers films. But Bay would allegedly often offer replies along the lines of “just be sexy” and “be hot.”

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Fox appeared to recognize her experiences within the context of the entertainment sector as a whole. “All of us who are working right now, we all do the same s***. It’s just part of how you sell yourself,” she told Wonderland. “Because you’re a product. All of us are. Shia’s a product, a totally different kind. Rob Pattinson is a f***ing product. It’s what the industry’s always been.”

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Unsurprisingly, Fox’s comments didn’t go down too well with Bay. She was subsequently dropped from the third Transformers movie, Dark of the Moon. The director claimed that this decision had actually been made by the film’s executive producer Steven Spielberg. But the legendary filmmaker reportedly later denied that this was the case.

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Bay also retaliated further by allegedly encouraging the Transformers crew to pen an open letter shaming Fox. It read, “When facing the press, Megan is the queen of talking trailer trash and posing like a porn star. And yes we’ve had the unbearable time of watching her try to act on set, and, yes, it’s very cringe-able. So maybe, being a porn star in the future might be a good career option.”

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The scathing letter continued, “So this is the Megan Fox you don’t get to see. Maybe she will learn, but we figure if she can sling insults, then she can take them too. Megan really is a thankless, classless, graceless and shall we say unfriendly b****. It’s sad how fame can twist people and even sadder that young girls look up to her. If only they knew who they’re really looking up to.”

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To add insult to injury, Bay also personally responded to Fox’s accusations with the utmost sarcasm. He said, “Megan loves to get a response. And she does it in kind of the wrong way. I’m sorry, Megan. I’m sorry I made you work 12 hours. I’m sorry that I’m making you show up on time. Movies are not always warm and fuzzy.”

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Perhaps inevitably, it was Fox’s career that suffered a downturn rather than Bay’s. Her first post-Transformers movie, Jennifer’s Body, failed to set the box office alight, while Jonah Hex completely bombed with both critics and audiences alike. Passion Play, a drama in which she co-starred alongside Mickey Rourke, bypassed cinemas altogether.

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Following this string of disappointments, Fox reflected on the public perception which sat at odds with her real personality. She told Harper’s Bazaar, “My biggest regret is that I’ve assisted the media in making me into a cartoon character. I don’t regret what has happened to me, but I regret the way I have dealt with it.”

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Fox also revealed that her portrayal as a sexpot couldn’t be further from the truth. “I’ve only been with two men my entire life,” she said. “My childhood sweetheart and Brian. I can never have sex with someone that I don’t love, ever. The idea makes me sick. I’ve never even come close to having a one-night stand.” Fox was, of course, referring to her actor husband Brian Austin Green, who she wed in 2010.

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In a 2014 interview with Cosmopolitan, Fox further discussed the disparity between her public and private persona. She said, “I consider myself a ‘girl’s girl’ in that I’m not competitive, jealous or catty. But I don’t have a ton of female friends – I have one. Her name is Mindy and she’s a facialist.”

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Fox also went on to add that she doesn’t have many male friends either – but that she isn’t particularly concerned about being something of a lone wolf. She admitted, “I’ve never been a social butterfly. I don’t feel lonely or isolated. I have one really great friend and that’s all I need.”

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To many people’s surprise, Fox appeared to bury the hatchet with Fox in 2013, when she signed up to play April O’Neil in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. The star also assumed the character once again three years later for sequel Out of the Shadows. Of course, this was around the time that the #MeToo movement began to pick up momentum.

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The #MeToo movement sought to speak out against workplace sexual assault and harassment, going viral in 2017 thanks to a social media hashtag. Countless allegations involving Harvey Weinstein appeared to open the floodgates as a whole host of actresses recounted their harrowing experiences in the industry. High-profile names affected included Jennifer Lawrence, Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman.

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There were also two stars whose careers were completely derailed by a smear campaign reportedly orchestrated by Harvey Weinstein. Indeed, after allegedly being assaulted by the movie mogul, both Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino were ruthlessly cast aside by much of Hollywood. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson was apparently then told by Weinstein that the pair were “a nightmare to work with and [should be avoided] at all costs.”

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Following the allegations made against Weinstein, Jackson told Stuff, “At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us. But in hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing. I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women – and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list.”

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Of course, one major name that had been notably absent from all the discussion was Megan Fox. Indeed, despite being very vocal about her troubling on-set experiences nearly a decade earlier, the actress decided to keep a low profile during the height of the #MeToo movement. But in a 2018 interview with the New York Times, the star explained her reasoning.

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Referring to her comments about Michael Bay in the late ’00s, Fox said, “I was ahead of my time and so people weren’t able to understand. Instead, I was rejected because of qualities that are now being praised in other women coming forward.” And it was this rejection that stopped her from joining the #MeToo conversation.

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Indeed, Fox had understandably been badly burned by the vicious response to her Transformers remarks. And she told the newspaper, “I just didn’t think based on how I’d been received by people – and by feminists – that I would be a sympathetic victim. I thought if ever there were a time where the world would agree that it’s appropriate to victim-shame someone, it would be when I come forward with my story.”

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But if you thought that Fox had revealed all that occurred throughout the course of her career, think again. The star admitted that she still has several other stories that she hasn’t yet come forward with. Of course, whether she will ever feel comfortable enough to share them remains to be seen.

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Although Fox was demonized by the press for her claims, many now believe she’s long overdue an apology and reappraisal. NBC’s Sady Doyle, for instance, has written, “When Megan Fox says she was ahead of her time, she’s not wrong. She challenged both feminine ideals and powerful men in a way that her era did not really know how to process.”

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“When we impose likability as the gold standard for female existence, a woman cannot push us or question us or teach us,” Doyle continued. “She can only fail to make us feel comfortable with our own behavior. It’s even sadder that the behavior that made Fox a figure of derision is now so widely validated by the culture. She came just a few years too early and missed her shot.”

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Writer Princess Weekes also defended the star in a piece published on The Mary Sue. She argued, “Megan Fox was never deserving of the petty blacklist she was put through, nor the dismissive comments people made about her. While she has never painted herself as the victim, it was still a s*** show and deeply unfair.”

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Weekes continued, “I hope that whatever projects Fox gets now will allow her to be the funny badass she has always been. Not only is the potential there, but she has long paid her dues for the opportunity. It’s time to recognize how everyone, prompted by how she was portrayed on-screen, painted Megan Fox as a mindless sex object.”

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Vanity Fair asked Fox whether she agrees that she’s due an apology from Hollywood. “I mean, that’s a lovely sentiment, and I appreciate that,” she responded. “My words were taken and used against me in a way that was – at that time in my life, at that age and dealing with that level of fame – really painful.”

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Fox might not be ready to readdress the comments that unfairly caused her career so much damage. But after taking a short break from the movie industry, she now seems ready to embrace the glare of the spotlight once more. In fact, she is set to appear in quite a number of upcoming releases.

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Indeed, Fox is set to star as Juliana in the forthcoming supernatural tale Above the Shadows, and she will appear alongside Josh Duhamel in family comedy Think Like A Dog. She was directed by James Franco in his impending movie Zeroville, and she will also be seen portraying Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins in Korean war movie The Battle of Jangsari. Fox’s comeback is set to continue with the 2020 drama Big Gold Brick.

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