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Sydney Sweeney Responds After Producer Says She's 'Not Pretty' And 'Can't Act'

The actor released a statement to 'Variety' through a representative, calling out Hollywood producer Carol Baum for her 'shameful' attack.

Sydney Sweeney; Carol Baum
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images, George Pimentel/WireImage/GettyImages

Actor Sydney Sweeney responded to a major Hollywood producer who publicly undermined her acting abilities and physical appearance at an event last week.

Carol Baum is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, most known for her work in Dolly Parton's entertainment production company, Sandollar Productions, and for producing films like Father of the Bride and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

During a discussion with New York Times film critic Janet Maslin, Baum said:

"There’s an actress who everybody loves now: Sydney Sweeney. I don’t get Sydney Sweeney."

Sweeney is a two-time Emmy nominee for her work in Max's Euphoria and the first season of White Lotus who rose to prominence with TV appearances like Everything Sucks! and The Handmaid's Tale, and in the limited series Sharp Objects.

According to the Daily Mail, Baum recalled seeing Sweeney's 2023 rom-com Anyone But You, which is loosely based on Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare.

She wasn't a fan.

“I was watching on the plane Sydney Sweeney’s movie [Anyone but You] because I wanted to watch it."
"I wanted to know who she is and why everybody’s talking about her."
"I watched this unwatchable movie—sorry to people who love this…romantic comedy where they hate each other.”

Baum, who teaches producing at the USC School of Cinematic Arts as of 2024, recalled telling her students about Sweeney.

“Explain this girl to me," she told the class and continued:

"She’s not pretty, she can’t act. Why is she so hot?’ Nobody had an answer."
"But then the question was asked, ‘Well, if you could get your movie made because she was in it, would you do it?’… That’s a very hard question to answer because we all want to get the movie made, and who walks away from a greenlight?"
"Nobody I know. Your job is to get the movie made.”

When Sweeney caught wind of Baum's scathing critique of her, she issued a statement through her representative that was shared with Variety.

"How sad that a woman in the position to share her expertise and experience chooses instead to attack another woman,” said the rep.

The statement continued:

“If that’s what she’s learned in her decades in the industry and feels is appropriate to teach to her students, that’s shameful."
"To unjustly disparage a fellow female producer speaks volumes about Ms. Baum’s character.”

Fans disagreed with and frowned upon Baum's unhelpful comments.

After Baum's negative assessment of the 26-year-old actor got pushback in the form of hate mail, TMZ reported that the producer was “already expressing regret over the whole thing” and “wishes she never would’ve made her original comments.”

Sweeney immediately received support from colleagues, including Teddy Schwarzman, a co-producer of her psychological horror film, Immaculate.

TMZ also reported that her former acting coach, Scott Sedita, defended her as well.

While Sedita agreed that Sweeney didn't necessarily have the looks of a "supermodel," he detailed why she was a luminary.

He said:

“Sydney is beautiful because she has inner depth, intellect, compassion, style, and facial features—eyes, smile, cheekbones—that the camera angles pick up on."
"The camera loves her ‘look’ as well as the audience. Audiences love her because she’s relatable and approachable."
“She’s been through the ups and downs of this business. So you have to be pretty much a serious actress if you’re gonna go through all that."

Sweeney previously opened up about her struggle with body shaming and being scrutinized for her suggestive scenes in Euphoria.

She felt that her acting talents were being diminished by those who were more fixated on her physical features, attributes which she hilariously targeted in an SNL sketch playing a clumsy Hooters waitress.

But Sedita maintained that his former student's natural talent and instincts were undeniably on point.

"When taking feedback or critique, she processes it, uses her acting technique, and makes the adjustment," he said.