The three female leads of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story—that is, Ariana DeBose (Anita), Rachel Zegler (Maria), and legendary EGOT winner Rita Moreno—have addressed the sexual assault allegations against the film’s star, Ansel Elgort, in a recent THR interview. In doing so, they became the first people from the film’s production—besides Elgort himself, who staunchly denies them—to address in any serious way the accusation that the Baby Driver actor had sexually assaulted a woman in 2014, when Elgort was 20, and the woman in question was 17.
The accusations against Elgort—who described his encounter with his accuser as “brief, legal, and entirely consensual”—have colored reception of Spielberg’s film, in which the actor plays half of the movie’s duo of star-crossed lovers. Moreno, DeBose, and Zegler addressed the allegations as part of a longer interview about their roles in the film and the friendship that’s grown between them, and while all were apparently game to respond, they also all gave statements that amounted to, essentially, “Who really knows?”
Moreno: “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.” DeBose: “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.” And, finally, Zegler:
We made a movie two and a half years ago, and a lot has gone on in the world since then. A lot has changed very publicly, and privately as well. There’s been a lot of awakening. You just hope that the people involved are OK, that they are asked in a respectful manner and that they are given the opportunity to answer for themselves.
Spielberg reportedly declined to comment for the THR piece. West Side Story arrived in theaters back in December of 2021, where it was greeted with critical praise, but a lackluster box office return.