entertainment

Olivia Newton-John hits back at claims Grease is sexist, racist and homophobic

"I think it’s kind of silly"

2021-02-04

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Paramount Pictures

Olivia Newton-John has hit back at claims the classic film Grease in which she stars is sexist, racist and homophobic.

The actress famously plays Sandy in the 1978 film, which also starred John Travolta as her high school love interest Danny.

A universal favourite for decades, the film has attracted increased criticism in recent years - culminating in a social media backlash after a BBC screening on Boxing Day 2020.

"I think it's kind of silly"

Speaking on the A Life of Greatness podcast this week, 72-year-old Olivia said: "In this particular instance I think it’s kind of silly. The movie was made in the 70s about the 50s. It was a stage play, it’s a musical, it’s fun, a fun movie musical, not to be taken so seriously.”

The star continued: “I think everyone is taking everything so seriously, we need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are.

“I didn’t see it like that at all. I think it’s just a fun movie that entertains people, that’s all.”

In one Grease scene set at the high school dance, the host tells a student (after flirting with her) that same-sex couples are not allowed on the dancefloor.

"All couples must be boy/girl? Well Grease, shove your homophobia," reacted one viewer on Twitter after the Boxing Day screening.

“Grease peak of homophobia," said another.

Of the cast, one viewer tweeted: “Watched Grease on the BBC, surprised they let it go, full of white people.”

Another said: "Hey, there's one non-white couple at the dance! One! #Grease."

Said another viewer online: "Ahhh man. Just watching #Grease one of my favourite films and it’s so of its time. Misogynistic, sexist and a bit rapey."

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