People are calling Angelina Jolie’s latest film exploitative and disgusting for its casting process

Angelina Jolie is in hot water.

An interview with Vanity Fair was published this week, which included Jolie discussing her Netflix film First They Killed My Father, based on the life of her long-time friend Loung Ung.In the piece, Jolie discusses working in Cambodia with her son and divorce from Brad Pittbut there’s one paragraph about the film that has heads turning and questioning the actress and goodwill ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency.

According to one paragraph in the article from VF, the casting director of Jolie’s film employed emotionally manipulative games to find their lead child actors. This was accomplished by bribing the children, who are from “orphanages, circuses, and slum schools” with money and later forcing them to return it.

The article reads as follows:

“To cast the children in the film, Jolie looked at orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship. In order to find their lead, to play young Loung Ung, the casting directors set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism: they put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie. Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time, Jolie says. When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back. Jolie then tears up. When she was asked later what the money was for, she said her grandfather had died, and they didnt have enough money for a nice funeral.

The casting process revealed is a far cry from the humanitarian image Jolie has embodied over the years, particularly with her work with refugees as a goodwill ambassador. It’s this stark difference between the exploitative anecdote and Jolie we have come to know today, and that has people reacting on Twitter in defense of the children who experienced the “game.”

Jolie has yet to publicly acknowledge the backlash.

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