Harriet Walker: No, Kristen Stewart's not snow white, but neither is Rupert Sanders


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The Independent Online

All is fair in love and war, but not in Hollywood it seems. Shamed actress Kristen Stewart has reportedly been booted out of the sequel to her recent success, Snow White and the Huntsman, in the aftermath of having been caught kissing its married director. But that same married director is apparently still in the running to take charge of the production.

The outrage among Twilight fans and celeb stalkers alike after photos emerged of the actor in a clinch with father-of-two Rupert Sanders has been immense. Hearts have been broken by her split from vampiric co-star Robert Pattinson – and not just those of the players involved in this unfortunate liaison.

But with the sound of tweenage teeth-gnashing comes the threat of a box-office slump, an absolute disaster in Hollywood terms. So Stewart is cast out – although the studio denies these reports – while her ex does the interview circuits and promotes his latest release, and her partner in crime, Sanders, issues an apology to his wife and continues to direct big-budget numbers. What an age-old scenario: blame the harlot, ditch her and carry on as you were.

I don't argue that Stewart did nothing wrong, but so did Rupert Sanders – perhaps even more wrong, given that he was married and she was not – and the reaction to what is essentially a private matter has apparently brought some rather tired double standards into the public forum.

The issue here is not fidelity so much as sexuality. Stewart made her name playing Twilight's ingénue, Bella Swan; her virtue has been, to some extent, her calling card. Hers was no "Is she, isn't she?" Britney Spears' virginity speculation scenario – Stewart is about as grumpily normal as Hollywood heartthrobs come – but her behaviour has clearly scandalised the establishment.

It comes on the heels of a similar fall from grace of the once-ubiquitous Disney star Miley Cyrus, who captured the hearts of millions of children as Hannah Montana. When Cyrus grew up, got a boyfriend, wore some ripped tights and last week cut her hair off, she was lambasted. It remains to be seen how many more roles she'll now be offered.

But when 17-year-old Harry Styles of One Direction mouthed a graphic sexual comment on live TV, when he was linked to an older woman, he was cheered. Young women in the public eye are not accorded their rites of passage, their mistakes and errors of judgement: their sexuality is toxic. And everyone else carries on as they were.

Why promote one's failure?

Another year, some more A-levels. I remember when I got mine and they were the most important thing in the world. I called everyone I knew, then I got drunk and told anyone else I could find.

These days, thanks to Twitter, you can tell even more people. But forgive me if I don't get up and celebrate with you. After the fortieth tweet from those who got three Ds or from those announcing they will be trying again next year, bloodied but unbowed, I have to ask: what else is this but a display of your own mediocrity? What do you want, a retweet?

To those who achieved their A*s, well done. But to the others I say, turn your computer off and get swotting.