Yikes. That’s the only thing we can really say about the comment Ali Michael recently made about Finn Wolfhard in her Instagram stories. The 27-year-old model uploaded a picture of 14-year-old Wolfhard, tagging him and telling him to “hit her up in 4 years.” And understandably, the internet is not pleased.
Yes, Michael most likely did this as a joke. Her fans have been coming to her defense, stating that the photo and caption were just meant for a laugh. But because Wolfhard is still very much a child, Twitter users are calling Michael out for her problematic comment.
The sexualization of children in Hollywood has been prevalent since Hollywood’s founding years. Although most criticize how the media portrays young girls in Hollywood, young boys are often just as targeted as their female counterparts. We see young actors, actresses, and popstars being sexualized in fashion ads, in films, on television, and in music videos.
As we’ve seen most recently with Anthony Rapp coming forward about his experience with Kevin Spacey as a 14-year-old, children can unfortunately be targets of sexual harassment and assault.
Comments like Michael’s regarding Wolfhard’s appearance (as a 14-year-old), although meant as a joke, aren’t funny and only exacerbate the existing problem of the sexualization of children in Hollywood.
Michael posted an apology to her Instagram stories after seeing the backlash from her previous post. But still, people are questioning her thought process.
After witnessing so many people come forward about their experiences with sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct perpetrated by powerful men Hollywood, we should all be hyperaware of the fact that this type of thing is not something to joke about. Wolfhard himself fired his own agent after rumors of sexual assault surfaced.
Women can be perpetrators of sexual harassment as well, and it’s time to realize that these kinds of jokes are no longer acceptable.