Lynsey Addario is one of the world’s great photojournalists, having covered many of the globe’s war zones, from Libya to Palestine.
Addario is known for her bravery, and her work has taken her to dangerous places. She was sexually assaulted by pro-Libyan government forces, and forced to remove her clothes and subjected to physical search by the Israeli military.
It’s not surprising that Warner Bros. is currently producing a film based on her memoir, “It’s What I Do.” Ridley Scott, of “Alien” fame, is tapped to direct, and Scarlett Johansson will star.
But in a Facebook Live interview with the New York Times’s Nicholas Kristof on Tuesday, Addario revealed an ironic detail. The initial set of funders interested in financing the film included none other than Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is suspected of ordering the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
But Addario revealed that Johansson vetoed the crown prince, pointing to his role in the war in Yemen.
“Scarlett Johansson said absolutely not. She said, ‘This guy is perpetuating the war in Yemen. He has women in prison,'” Addario told Kristof.
“This was before the killing of Khashoggi,” she added.
“This was basically, as far as you can tell, a public relations effort by the Saudi crown prince to associate himself with journalism at its finest, a female, empowered journalist, at the same time that he is preparing to, it looks like, torture and murder one of Saudi Arabia’s own leading journalists,” Kristof summarized.
“I didn’t meet with him personally. But my sense is that he probably — my movie got folded into this huge charm campaign. And that fact that he wanted to show the West that he was into Hollywood, he was into all the great things of the West,” she replied. “Do I want him associated with this movie? Obviously not. And thank God he’s not.”