In true Hollywood fashion, they remained as politically correct as possible.
Content Warning: this article contains descriptions of sexual assault.
Last week, legions of die hard Sex And The City fans — who’ve championed the show’s continued relevance and helped cement its plots, outfits and love affairs as iconic — rejoiced as the limited series reboot arrived on HBO Max. There was a lot to dissect. Charlotte has become about as noxiously annoying as a hyper privileged white woman can become. Miranda is a low key Karen now, despite her best efforts, and a luddite, which goes completely contrary to her character in the original show. And Carrie is still pretty much Carrie, but she doesn’t like talking graphically about sex, and she’s jumped ship from the failing journalism industry to try and stay afloat as a podcaster. But boy did fans not know the ride they were truly in for from this long awaited revival.
And Just Like That: Mr. Big fucking dies. The sensational plot point closing out the first episode stirred an absolute frenzy on social media and television, as everyone tried to process how the man, the myth, the legend could just croak after a Peloton ride trying to get in the shower. Peloton released an official statement on how their now ubiquitous at-home exercise bike is safe, and also released a cheeky ad in which Mr. Big is “still alive.” But a week later, it’s becoming evident that killing his character was the best thing that And Just Like That could have done, as he’s now been accused by multiple women of sexual assault. It took a few days, but the remaining lead characters of the franchise, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis, have released a joint statement on the matter.
The statement, which they posted to their respective Instagram and Twitter pages, read: “We are deeply saddened to hear the allegations against Chris Noth. We support the women who have come forward and shared their painful experiences. We know it must be a very difficult thing to do and we commend them for it.” Their sentiment is graceful, straightforward and bolsters the women coming forward — as opposed to pulling a Lena Dunham, and trying to defend Noth, or suggest he’s innocent until proven guilty...which of course some people would prefer apparently.
Considering backlash like the above, it is important and inherently feminist that the stars openly commended the women coming forward for their bravery. But their statement is also incredibly careful. The whole ethos of the Me Too movement is to shift society’s knee-jerk reaction from defending men, to being more inclined to naturally believe women. Sexual assault is often difficult or impossible to corroborate. Predatory men do exactly what predators in the wild do. They stalk their prey and get their target alone. And because we live in a patriarchal shithole, then they gaslight and lie, and people potty trained by our toxic culture love nothing more than to simp an abuser and blame a victim. The accounts accusing Noth describe that exact kind of violent and isolating behavior, and more flagrant inappropriateness out in the open — all of which he is adamantly denying, saying that some of the accounts were consensual, and that in others he has never even met the accuser.
Our SATC chic heroines still did the right thing. But their word choice speaks volumes. By saying that they “support” the women coming forward, rather than “believe” the women coming forward, it’s a clear distancing from the kind of Me Too bluster that other celebrities like Rose McGowan have become impossible to be separated from. It’s an understandable move — they have a new hit show that had the most-watched premier in HBO’s history. But it is odd that with more women coming forward over the last few days, that Parker, Davis and Nixon were more willing to give the ongoing feud with original co-star Kim Cattrall comment and explanation than they are willing to speak about this.
While they are two very different kinds of incidents, the tight-lipped nature of this new statement on Noth speaks volumes on how everyone involved thinks it’s more important to protect the franchise than it is to actually help these women in any quantifiable way. Saying, “We know it must be a very difficult thing to do and we commend them for it,” kind of feels like an empty “sending thoughts and prayers” kind of sentiment from a cast that has proven over multiple decades how tight-knit they are. To be clear though, it’s in no way Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon or Kristin Davis’ responsibility to be an authority or moral barometer on this situation; it just would have been nice if they could have even remotely suggested that women should be believed, and that this pattern of behavior emerging through multiple stories is alarming.