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West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler Addresses Ansel Elgort Sexual Assault Allegations: There’s Been an ‘Awakening’

West Side Story's Rachel Zegler Addresses Sexual Assault Allegations Against Costar Ansel Elgort
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Speaking out. Nearly two years after Ansel Elgort was accused of sexual assault, his West Side Story costars — including leading lady Rachel Zegler — are opening up about the allegations.

Related: Everything to Know About Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Remake

“We made a movie two and a half years ago, and a lot has gone on in the world since then,” Zegler, 20, told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Wednesday, January 26. “A lot has changed very publicly, and privately as well. There’s been a lot of awakening.”

West Side Story's Rachel Zegler Addresses Sexual Assault Allegations Against Costar Ansel Elgort
Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler in ‘West Side Story.’ Twentieth Century Fox

The Shazam! Fury of the Gods star continued: “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.”

Related: Hollywood's Sexual Misconduct Scandals

In addition to Zegler, who played Maria to the 27-year-old Fault in Our Stars star’s Tony, other West Side Story actresses similarly addressed the scandal during their joint interview.

“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,” Ariana DeBose, who played Anita in the 2021 film, told the magazine.

Rita Moreno, for her part, noted: “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.”

In June 2020, Elgort was accused of assaulting a woman when she was 17. The alleged victim shared a lengthy Twitter note, detailing the allegations at the time, in which she claimed that when she met up with the Ansolo musician in 2014, “instead of asking me if I wanted to stop having sex knowing it was my first time,” he forced himself on her and “made me think this is how sex was supposed to be.”

The Baby Driver actor publicly denied the allegations via social media weeks later, claiming that he was “distressed” by the things he saw “circulating” online about his past.

Related: Still Going Strong! Ansel Elgort, Violetta Komyshan's Relationship Timeline

Elgort continued: “I cannot claim to understand Gabby’s feelings but her description of events is simply not what happened. I have never and would never assault anyone.”

The New York native, who is currently dating Violetta Komyshan, went on to claim that he and his accuser had a “brief, legal and entirely consensual relationship” in 2014.

“Unfortunately, I did not handle the breakup well. I stopped responding to her, which is an immature and cruel thing to do to someone. I know this belated apology does not absolve me of my unacceptable behavior when I disappeared,” Elgort continued in his June 2020 post. “As I look back at my attitude, I am disgusted and deeply ashamed of the way I acted. I am truly sorry. I know I must continue to reflect, learn, and work to grow in empathy.”

Elgort and Zegler began filming West Side Story in July 2019, but the film’s release was delayed until December 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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