Anne Hathaway Learned to Not ‘Live in Fear’ of Hatred After Internet Backlash

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Anne Hathaway is reflecting on the difficult time in her career when she was bombarded with hateful comments after winning an Academy Award for her role as Fantine in “Les Miserables.”

During the 2013 award season, Hathaway received praise for her portrayal as a poor single-mother in the movie musical. However, her success came two years after critics panned her 2011 Oscars hosting gig with James Franco. Following her 2013 Oscar win, social media users continued their constant criticism and flooded platforms with hateful messages about the actor.

On Oct. 17, “The Devil Wears Prada” star, 39, spoke about overcoming that bumpy era in her life during an acceptance speech at Elle’s 29th annual Women in Hollywood event.

Honoree Anne Hathaway speaks onstage during Elle’s 29th Annual Women in Hollywood celebration. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for ELLE

“Be happy for women,” she told the crowd. “Period. Especially be happy for high-achieving women. Like, it’s not that hard.”

She encouraged the audience to not feed self-hatred and shared how she learned to not be so critical of herself.

“Ten years ago, I was given an opportunity to look at the language of hatred from a new perspective,” she said. “For context — this was a language I had employed with myself since I was 7. 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.”

Hathaway realized that she would not tolerate hateful language being hurled at herself or other people. 

She said, “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.”

The “Armageddon Time” actor then explained the difference between judging someone based on their behavior and ridiculing a stranger for their existence. 

“You can judge behavior,” she said. “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.”

She continued, “Hate seems to me to be the opposite of life; in soil that harsh, nothing can grow properly, if at all.” 

To counter hate, Hathaway hopes that future generations choose a different path and instead prioritize love. 

Referencing the other Elle honorees such as Issa Rae, Olivia Wilde, Zoë Kravitz, Michelle Yeoh and Mindy Kaling, Hathaway said there are leaders in the industry who are actively working to create “a better culture.”

“Even if you don’t go into Hollywood, we need people who have learned to reject the hate prevalent in all facets of our society by contributing to a culture of love, starting with themselves,” she said. 

The Oscar winner previously opened up about growing from the backlash she received years ago in 2014. 

“What are we supposed to do — pretend like it didn’t happen?” she said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar at the time. “People treated me a certain way. But I’ve grown from it. This whole thing has made me a way more compassionate and loving person. And I don’t feel sorry for myself.”

She revealed that she used to fear what people would think and say about her, but she chooses to focus on being happy.

Now, Hathaway frequently trends on social media platforms as her fans praise her and comment about her upcoming roles or her fashionable outfits.

Last month, Twitter users pointed out that Hathaway sported a chic look similar to an outfit her character Andy Sachs wears in “The Devil Wears Prada.” 

One fan wrote, “andrea sachs is THAT YOU?”

Another tweeted, “She’s so iconic for this.” 



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