Sticking it to the man. Throughout her time in the spotlight, Megan Fox has never been afraid to call out the influence of Sєxism and misogyny on her career.
In 2009, the Transformers actress, 34, raised eyebrows with fiery comments about her experience working with director Michael Bay on the first two installments of the action films. “‘Be H๏τ.’ I’ve had that note on set before,” she told Wonderland magazine at the time. “I’ll say, ‘Who am I talking to? Where am I supposed to be looking at?’ And he responds, ‘Just be Sєxy.’ I get mad when people talk to me like that.”
More than a decade later, footage of Fox detailing a particularly uncomfortable audition for Bay resurfaced on social media. During a 2009 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the actress remembered being asked to put on a ʙικιɴι and high heels to dance under a waterfall in 2003’s Bad Boys II. “At 15, I was in 10th grade,” she said at the time. “That’s sort of a microcosm of how Bay’s mind works.”
Shortly after the old interview went viral, Fox took to Instagram to address the conversations that had “erupted online” about her “experiences in Hollywood and the subsequent mishandling of this information” at the time. The New Girl actress was fired from Bay’s films after taking aim at his directing style.
“While I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support, I do feel I need to clarify some of the details as they have been lost in the retelling of the events and cast a sinister shadow that doesn’t really, in my opinion, belong,” she wrote in a lengthy Instagram statement on Monday, June 22, before going into detail about her time working with Bay and her previous claims. “When it comes to my direct experiences with Michael, and Steven [Spielberg] for that matter, I was never ᴀssaulted or preyed upon in what I felt was a Sєxual manner.”
Two years earlier, Fox opened up about why she decided to stay silent as some of the most powerful men in Hollywood finally faced consequences for their inappropriate histories amid the #MeToo movement.
“One could ᴀssume that I probably have quite a few stories, and I do — I didn’t speak out for many reasons,” she explained to the New York Times. “I just didn’t think based on how I’d been received by people, and by feminists, that I would be a sympathetic victim.”
Scroll down to relive more of Fox’s most critical comments about the way Hollywood treats its female stars.
Since getting her big break as a teenager, Fox has embraced her Sєxuality without fear — and has spoken out about the dangers of double standards in Hollywood. “I would never issue an apology for my life and for who I am,” she told GQ in 2008 as young actresses like Vanessa Hudgens and Miley Cyrus made headlines during a mᴀssive ɴuᴅᴇ pH๏τo leak. “It’s like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry I took a naked, private picture that someone is an ᴀsshole and sold for money. I’m sorry if someone else is a dick.’ No. You shouldn’t have to apologize. Someone betrayed Vanessa, but no one’s angry at that person. She had to apologize. I hate Disney for making her do that.”
Acting Is ‘Kind of Gross’
After claiming that actors “are the worst ᴀssholes to have to hang out with,” the Jennifer’s Body star went in on the voyeuristic qualities of filmmaking. “Acting is a very weird thing. We get paid to feign attraction and love. When you think about it, we’re kind of prosтιтutes,” she told GQ in July 2009. “Other people are paying to watch us kissing someone, touching someone, doing things people in a normal monogamous relationship would never do with anyone who’s not their partner. It’s really kind of gross.”
Don’t Call Her a ‘Sex Symbol’
“It pisses me off when people f–king say that,” she told the U.K.’s SciFiNow in 2009 after being asked if her “beauty is something that goes against” her. “That’s bulls–t. You wouldn’t be working if you weren’t attractive. Hollywood is the most superficial thing you could possibly be a part of and if I weren’t attractive I wouldn’t be working at all.”
Battling the ‘Tyrant’
Fox has a long history of criticizing Transformers director Michael Bay, whom she publicly dragged for his overbearing and misogynist behavior on set. “He’s like Napoleon and he 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,” she said in a 2009 interview with Wonderland magazine. “He’s vulnerable and fragile in real life and then on set he’s a tyrant. Shia and I almost die when we make a Transformers movie. He has you do some really insane things that insurance would never let you do.”
Fox fell victim to a culture of Sєxism and misogyny in the earliest days of her career, and was able to recognize the ways in which her roles were impacted by the image she was forced into. “If I had been a typical starlet and said all the right things, I wouldn’t have escalated to this level. I sit down and do an interview and I talk like a person and that, for some reason, is shocking,” she explained to the New York Times in November 2009. “All women in Hollywood are known as Sєx symbols. You’re sold, and it’s based on Sєx. That’s OK, if you know how to use it.”
Taking Her Power Back
Though Fox claimed she often felt “completely, hysterically insecure,” she’s never been interested in being someone’s trophy wife. “It’s fun when someone intends to put you in his back pocket, but instead, he walks away wounded,” she told Cosmopolitan in January 2010. “I make it a mind game so they don’t know if I’m hitting on them or mocking them. Male actors drop lines about their private jets, trying to seem powerful, but I don’t give a sнιт. I don’t need someone else’s power. I’m obtaining my own.”
“I don’t ever see myself the way other people see me,” Fox told Sports Illustrated in May 2023. “There is never a point in my life where I loved my body, never, ever. … The journey of, like, loving myself is gonna be never-ending, I think.”