West Side Story: Rachel Zegler and co-stars addresses Ansel Elgort sexual assault allegation

‘There’s been a lot of awakening,’ Zegler said

Ellie Harrison
Thursday 27 January 2022 08:33
West Side Story trailer

The female cast members of West Side Story have addressed the sexual assault allegations made against their co-star Ansel Elgort.

In June 2020, Elgort was accused of sexual assault by a woman who identified herself only as Gabby. In a Twitter post, she alleged the actor assaulted her when she was 17 and he was 20. The allegations, which Elgort denied, came to light after West Side Story – which is in cinemas now – wrapped filming.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Rachel Zegler – who played Maria opposite Elgort’s Tony – said that “a lot has gone on in the world” since Steven Spielberg’s film was shot “two-and-a-half years ago”.

“A lot has changed very publicly, and privately as well,” Zegler said. “There’s been a lot of awakening. You just hope that the people involved are okay, that they are asked in a respectful manner, and that they are given the opportunity to answer for themselves.”

West Side Story actors Rita Moreno and Ariana DeBose also offered their thoughts in the same interview.

“I think it would have been absolutely horrendous and wrong for anyone to take sides in that matter. It’s not for me to make those judgments,” said Moreno.

DeBose added: “Nobody really knows what’s going on in anyone’s head. Only the people who were involved in that situation know what actually went down.”

Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler in ‘West Side Story’

In her post, Gabby claimed she had messaged Elgort as a fan, after which he sent her his private Snapchat account and they met up.

“Instead of asking me if I wanted to stop having sex knowing it was my first time and I was sobbing in pain and I didn’t want to do it,” she wrote, “the only words that came out of his mouth were, ‘We need to break you in.’”

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Gabby alleged that she suffers from PTSD and panic attacks because of the alleged incident. “I WASN’T there in that moment mentally,” she wrote. “I disassociated myself and just felt like my mind was gone I was in shock.”

In an Instagram post, Elgort wrote: “I cannot claim to understand Gabby’s feelings but her description of events is simply not what happened.”

He claimed he and Gabby “had a brief, legal and entirely consensual relationship” and apologised for the way he broke up with her – which was by not responding to her messages. “As I look back at my attitude,” he wrote, “I am disgusted and deeply ashamed of the way I acted. I am truly sorry.”

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organisation for specialist, independent and confidential support. For more information, visit their website here.

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