'West Side Story' Cast Respond to Questions About Ansel Elgort Sexual Assault Allegation

The leading female cast of Steven Spielberg’s 'West Side Story' addressed the sexual assault allegation made against their co-star Ansel Elgort.

Mike Faist, Ansel Elgort, David Alvarez, Ariana DeBose, Rachel Zegler and Rita Moreno attend SiriusXM's Town Hall

Image via Getty/Vivien Killilea

Mike Faist, Ansel Elgort, David Alvarez, Ariana DeBose, Rachel Zegler and Rita Moreno attend SiriusXM's Town Hall

In a new interview with the leading female cast of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, and Rita Moreno addressed the sexual assault allegation leveled against their co-star Ansel Elgort.

The three actresses are featured in the latest cover story from The Hollywood Reporter, and they each provided vague, diplomatic answers when the topic was brought up. In 2020, a woman alleged that Elgort sexually assaulted her in 2014 when she was 17 and he was 20. She also claimed that Elgort requested nude photos from her. Elgort, in a since-deleted post on Instagram, denied the allegations.

“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,” said DeBose, who recently hosted Saturday Night Live. Moreno gave a similar answer, suggesting that she didn’t want to make any statements on the matter one way or another. “I think it would have been absolutely horrendous and wrong for anyone to take sides in that matter,” said Moreno. “It’s not for me to make those judgments.” 

For the most part, Elgort has been absent from the West Side Story press tour. “We made a movie two and a half years ago, and a lot has gone on in the world since then,” said Zegler, who plays the love interest of Elgort’s character in the film. “A lot has changed very publicly, and privately as well. There’s been a lot of awakening. 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.” The film had already wrapped production by the time the allegations surfaced.

In his statement addressing the allegations in 2020, Elgort denied engaging in a sexual relationship with an underage girl. “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,” he wrote. “What is true is that in New York in 2014, when I was 20, Gabby and I had a brief, legal and entirely consensual relationship. 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.”

Despite a mostly positive critical response, West Side Story has failed to make a splash at the box office. On a $100 million budget, the film has so far grossed just $60 million worldwide.

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