In 2013, Anne Hathaway was at the top of her game. After becoming a household name by starring in films like The Princess Diaries, Brokeback Mountain, and The Devil Wears Prada, and being nominated for an Academy Award for playing a recovering drug addict in 2008’s Rachel Getting Married, Hathaway finally received her Oscar for her portrayal of Fantine, a prostitute dying of tuberculosis, no less, in the film adaptation of Les Misérables.
It was at the height of her professional success, though, that Hathaway experienced an extreme public backlash, fueled by comments online. The infamous “Hathahate” phenomenon was marked by the typically misogynistic sentiment of finding Hathaway generally “annoying” without pinning down exactly why, and it continued for years.
Hathaway has addressed the hate before, saying in 2021 that it “shocked” and “embarrassed” her, though it ultimately led her to learn to love herself from a more authentic place. Now, the actress has spoken about it again, saying during her acceptance speech at Elle’s 29th annual Women in Hollywood event: “Ten years ago, I was given an opportunity to look at the language of hatred from a new perspective, For context — this was a language I had employed with myself since I was seven. And when your self-inflicted pain is suddenly somehow amplified back at you at, say, the full volume of the internet…It’s a thing.
When it happened to me, I realized that this wasn’t it. This wasn’t the spot. When what happened, happened, I realized I had no desire to have anything to do with this line of energy, on any level. I would no longer create art from this place. I would no longer hold space for it, live in fear of it, nor speak its language for any reason, to anyone, including myself.”
She continued: “We don’t have enough time to discuss all the myriad causes of the violent language of hatred, and the imperative need to end it. Because there is a difference between existence and behavior. You can judge behavior. You can forgive behavior or not. But you do not have the right to judge — and especially not hate — someone for existing. And if you do, you’re not where it’s at.”
Finally, she concluded, “Hate seems to me to be the opposite of life; in soil that harsh, nothing can grow properly, if at all. I want to say: Be happy for women. Period. Especially be happy for high-achieving women. Like, it’s not that hard.”
Hathaway is currently starring in director James Gray’s Armageddon Time opposite Jeremy Strong. Hathaway recently defended her costar when he was receiving his own internet blowback over a profile describing his intense acting methods.