With an essay she posted to Twitter on Thursday, actress Olivia Munn has sounded a declaration of war. Her target? An independent fashion blog with one-eighth of her following.
Munn wrote that the blog Go Fug Yourself is “at the forefront” of “the perpetual minimization of women” and that it “shouldn’t get away with spewing vitriol” anymore. “Blogs like theirs have been around for awhile, with their snarkiness and hypocrisy on full display,” Munn wrote. “And we’ve accepted it because as women we’ve been conditioned to believe that being publicly chastised for our weight, our looks, or our choice in clothing is an acceptable part of our existence.” Munn goes on to draw a comparison between the blog and the boys at a Maryland high school who circulated a list that ranked their female classmates by their looks.
For anyone who’s ever read Go Fug Yourself, Munn’s choice to focus on the fun, light-hearted, good-spirited blog is a bit of a head-scratcher. The site, despite its somewhat off-color title (fug is short for “fugly,” or “fucking ugly”), is actually one of the nicest blogs in the fashion and celebrity online ecosystem, and one that has for years made a point of keeping its critiques to the clothes famous people are wearing rather than their looks or their size. For a site that came up in an earlier and meaner internet era when Perez Hilton reigned over the blogosphere, this is an admirable, and rare, stance. Munn accuses the blog of body-shaming, but its writers take pains not to do so in their posts and to root out such behavior in their community. Munn also calls out the Fug girls for perpetuating the idea that women are only as good as their looks, but the site covers—and critiques—both genders.
What’s more, Go Fug Yourself is hardly a powerful corporate behemoth that profits hand over fist for taking down everything Olivia Munn wears—it’s essentially a small business, run by its two founders, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. It’s influential and well-known on its corner of the internet, but with about 100,000 followers on Twitter, its reach pales in comparison to the 800,000 followers Munn commands. Munn is a movie star, and Cocks and Morgan are a couple of freelance writers trying to make a living. Munn wrote in the essay she posted that “it feels like a losing game to go up against anyone who will inevitably spend a large portion of their time retaliating & further smearing your name across social media,” but it is Cocks and Morgan, not Munn, who stand to face social media harassment or worse after Munn directed her much larger fan base toward them. Munn may get aggressive comments too—that’s social media for you—but she has resources to protect herself that Cocks and Morgan lack.
On top of all this, I really must emphasize that the site is not attacking celebrities personally.
At all. Let’s take a look at some of what Cocks and Morgan have written about Munn in recent months:
Olivia’s hotpants suit looks absurd. For a minute I honestly thought it was a romper; the purse-size pockets don’t look any better now that I know it’s a coat.
Notice that this does not say Olivia looks ugly or fat in this outfit, just that it’s “absurd.”
[This outfit] makes [Olivia] look like like [she’s] peeing a wedding veil.
Nothing about her looks or body, just an objective description. Seriously, how else is one supposed to describe the random piece of tulle hanging down from between her legs? The bathroom language may fool readers into thinking this is rude, and it certainly is cheeky, but it’s fundamentally a comment about what Munn is wearing, not her.
[A]s a Dowager Countess, I ASSURE YOU that I just looked at this outfit through a lorgnette, made an incredibly disapproving HMMMMMPH sound, and then tutted off into the garden to do something more useful.
“An incredibly disapproving HMMMMMPH” is an exceedingly polite way of saying that an outfit doesn’t work.
I wish this road up a little higher on her body, and her hair looks like she realized she put in too much product and she just gave up – I’ve been there! – but overall, this is pretty fun.
Wow, I’d love to see the rest of Olivia Munn’s bathing suit! (I will note that I love that bomber jacket, although Bra Top and Jacket is a perplexing style choice from a body temperature perspective.)
Olivia Munn showed up at the event fully dressed for A Moment. She’s clad in fresh Prabal Gurung, a fall-color neon version of this springy green frock from the 2019 runway, styled from top to toe. I quite like the sweater, but the skirt isn’t coming together for me — nor, it seems, for her right leg. This all might be in danger of overshadowing her, but I appreciate that she did it up to the nines. She came for the trend pieces.
Well, the best thing I can say about this is that Olivia’s hair is very shiny. Whatever her deep conditioner is, it’s worth every dollar. The dress, though, is just another one of those stretchy skintight Show Us Your Slip contraptions that cease to have any personality after, oh, the first ten of them. And the longer I look at it, the more I see two little paws shooting up from her waistband to fondle her boobs.
This is fashion criticism, not body-shaming. It’s not “bad for women” to treat actresses’ clothes and self-presentation as worthy of notice and criticism. Munn herself, for all her protests that she doesn’t want anyone to talk about her clothes, has posted those clothes and their credits on her Instagram account, which shows that she too finds fashion fun and interesting and worth paying attention to—but only if you praise her, apparently. (Unfortunately, Munn joins a wave of celebrities who have confused criticism with harassment in recent weeks. As Alan Zilberman quipped on Twitter, “Between Ariana Grande, Michael Che, Colin Jost, Lizzo, and now Olivia Munn, I’m glad these pampered rich people are displaying genuine courage by punching down at the smallest slight.”)
Celebrities’ public and red-carpet appearances are just as much a part of their jobs as their acting roles. When celebrities pose at premieres, promote their movies, and appear on late-night shows, they’re creating personas and brands, and it’s worth noting that some of them are better at that than others, that some stylists are more skilled than others, that some publicists excel at crafting stars’ media personalities. This also, frankly, helps puncture the belief that what stars do is effortless—behind each one stands a team of people propping them up. A good publicist, for example, might have advised Munn that writing a two-page essay about a breezy, not-very-powerful blog was a bad idea.