When news of Kristen Stewart's affair with her older, married director broke on July 25, fans of the actress divided into two camps -- those who took to social media platforms, personal blogs and YouTube to voice their support, and those who used the same platforms to vow never to forgive her. Some members of the latter group tweeted death threats and advised Stewart to commit suicide.
Stewart won Favorite Actress at the People's Choice Awards in 2011, but scandal has since rocked her fan base.
The outpouring of rage led Sugarscape to conclude that Stewart may be the "Most Hated Woman In Hollywood, and Fox has dubbed the actress the "second most famous home-wrecker" in Tinseltown -- after Angelina Jolie.
The 22-year old, who dated her "Twilight" co-star Robert Pattinson for three years, was snapped in a romantic embrace with Rupert Sanders. Sanders directed Stewart in "Snow White and the Huntsman" and is married with two young children. While casual Twihards have eaten up the real-life soap opera, it's been a PR disaster for Stewart and her handlers.
On Tuesday, Hollywood Life president Bonnie Fuller published an open letter to the star: "Kristen Stewart: You Shattered Young Women's Dreams." In it, Fuller says what a lot of fans (or former fans) are probably thinking. While most starlets sport pricey attire and take great pains to project an image of perfection, Stewart has always seemed entirely disinterested in how the public perceives her -- and until now, they have admired her for that. Her awkward interviews and red carpet appearances have revealed a discomfort with fame that has granted her a relatable edge.
"Women were thrilled that you didn't go all Hollywood," writes Fuller. "No one ever saw you shopping for $6,000 Hermes purses, getting manis or pedis, and you never spouted off about some crazy diet you were on.
"No, instead, like any 'normal' 22-year-old, your life revolved around your work, your boyfriend and your family."
Fuller writes about the actress in the past tense -- as if the Kristen Stewart who awkwardly rose to fame in 2008 has now vanished and a craven harlot has taken her place.
It's difficult to deny that Stewart's image and career have been tarnished. But we might not have the full picture of just how bad the damage is until next month, at the launch of the massive "Twilight: Breaking Dawn: Part 2" media tour. Not only are Stewart and Pattinson scheduled to be co-presenters at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 6, they're also set for interviews, press conferences and red carpet premieres. It's safe to say that separating Stewart's personal drama from the film's promotional events is going to be impossible.
But that might not be such a bad thing -- for the movie.
In "The Kristen Stewart Adultery Scandal: Why It Hurts Her Image, And Helps It," Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman insists that the "Twilight" franchise will be affected by Stewart's affair -- but not in an entirely negative way.
"[T]he excitement will only be heightened," writes Gleiberman. "This fall, as the publicity campaign for 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2' goes into hyper-manic globe-nuking overdrive, there will be interviews (an orgy of them) with Stewart and Pattinson, and what everyone will want to know is: 'Are you two together?'"
While the timing of the scandal could indeed benefit the "Twilight" box office take, it comes at a time when Stewart will need to reinvent herself as a more mature -- and presumably, more serious -- actress.
Prior to her affair, Stewart was on the cusp of graduating from her tween persona. Her role as the emotionally wounded young bride, Marylou, in "On the Road," won her rave reviews. The film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and will hit theaters later this year, is evidence of Stewart's talent and versatility. However, her performance could be overshadowed by the barrage of gossip now associated with her name.
With K-Stew Internet slander at an all-time high, her fan base has presumably dwindled. While some Robsten fans are imploring Pattinson to forgive her for her "momentary indiscretion," others are adamant that she deserves to suffer for what she did, going so far as to refer to her as an "emotionless c--t" on twitter and a "bitch" who should "die."
Madeleine Davies of Jezebel believes that the fervent adoration Twihards have for Pattinson is a major reason for the outrage expressed via social media.
"In this case, the tweens have chosen Rob," writes Davies. "He was the one who was cheated on and, besides, it's 'Team Edward' that's printed across the asses of their underwear and not 'Team Bella'. They are angry, they are dismayed, they are betrayed and, as is their tween way, they have taken to Twitter to say some seriously stupid s--t."
While Stewart was once eager to detach herself from the squeaky clean Bella Swan, she may be fighting to separate herself from disgrace for years to come.
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