'It's a Compliment': Val Kilmer's Tweetstorm About Cate Blanchett Is Exactly What's Wrong With How Men Talk About Women

| Opinion
Val-Kilmer JB-Lacroix:Contributor
(Photo: Getty / JB Lacroix / Contributor)

On Saturday, Val Kilmer authored a series of (some now-deleted) tweets about his love for Cate Blanchett — or, more accurately, his love for her looks. In a stream-of-consciousness style that can only be described as bizarre, Kilmer repeatedly reduced Blanchett (who holds two Academy Awards, three Screen Actor’s Guild awards, and three Golden Globe awards, among others) to her appearance. In spite of Kilmer’s recent defense of the tweets as a harmless ode to an actress he admires, we have to say, his tweets are tone-deaf at best, and outright misogynistic at worst.

"Once I flew all the way to Australia just to talk to Cate Blanchett," Kilmer begins, innocuously enough. "Her husband met me first. Or, instead, I guess, to be accurate."

If you’re wondering why Blanchett’s husband might have wanted to intercept Kilmer in lieu of the actress herself, don’t worry, Kilmer quickly illustrates why: "...Recently I've had 2 dreams with #CateBlanchett in them. Her husband wasn't in either of them,” he remarked, making a not-so-veiled reference to a recurring sex dream involving Blanchett. Not only is this tweet a bit on the TMI side, it is downright inconsiderate to the actress who Kilmer professes to admire.

Consider it this way: A past coworker (that’s essentially what Kilmer is, as the two were on set together for 2003’s The Missing) tweeting out their sex dreams about you to the world isn’t exactly flattering — it’s embarrassing. Add to that the subtle digs at Blanchett’s husband, and you have someone who clearly has little regard or respect for the supposed object of his affection.

The tweets only worsen from there. Kilmer then began tweeting images of Blanchett, one with the caption, "I mean even if she couldnt act you know what I mean?" All that’s missing from that sentiment (besides an apostrophe and a couple commas) is the leer — something that, mercifully, is harder to communicate via Twitter.

But while some make excuses for Kilmer’s ill-advised behavior, there’s something more disturbing than a bad Twitter rant happening here. For Kilmer to supposedly praise Blanchett while simultaneously discounting her immense talent as an accomplished actress (“even if she couldn’t act”, wink wink), it is downright insulting. Blanchett has made her career portraying strong, independent women (she received not one but two Academy Award nominations for her various portrayals of Queen Elizabeth I), only to be treated as little more than a pretty face by a man who feels entitled to make these comments on a public stage.

Her accomplishments are presented as secondary to her physical attributes — maybe not even important at all. This is a shallow, denigratory view of women, regardless of their status in the public eye.

At a time when women are fighting harder than ever to gain respect from professional colleagues and male acquaintances alike, Kilmer’s remarks are especially offensive. One begins to wonder exactly how many Golden Globe awards Blanchett would need to win to begin to be judged on her professional performance, rather than her physical attributes.

Finally, Kilmer decided to combat the (very warranted) backlash to his outburst in the most oblivious way possible, stating that he gets along “just fine” with Blanchett’s husband — as if an endorsement from her spouse means his actions are justifiable, again removing agency from Blanchett herself.

Kilmer then doubled down on the remarks on Twitter: “Nothing in the least creepy about loving someone,” he offered, objecting to the idea that any reader would take offense to his tweets. His defense amounts to little more than the backtalk of catcallers on the street — “hey, it’s a compliment”, as he leers at an actress who is just trying to do her job (excelling, at that) and asking to be judged on her merits. Merits that exceed far beyond her looks.

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