Cara Delevingne has modelled for the world’s biggest and most luxurious brands, acted in Hollywood blockbusters and even written her own songs. During her ‘prime time’, she won ‘Model of the Year’ at the British Fashion Awards both in 2012 and 2014. Some even say she single-handedly brought back the bushy eyebrows trend—which, though not as voluminous, first peaked during wartime in the 1940s, then reappeared in the 1980s only to make a monumental comeback around 2015 after Delevingne (whose brows are very much on the bushier side) became the ‘it girl’ of the time.
And fair enough, given the young age at which she achieved all of this—she’s only 29 now—her influence is something to be reckoned with, no matter how you look at it. But what was first praised as typical Delevingne quirky girl attitude in the midst of her glory days has since turned into the perceived cringe-worthy and often problematic behaviour of an affluent, privileged white woman from old money roots who somehow was never taught manners.
While it may be disappointing for some of the many Delevingne haters out there, this article won’t focus on the model’s acting career (or lack of acting skills I should say). Instead, we’ll be looking at some of the countless moments that most definitely impacted her popularity as well as how gen Zers overtaking millennials online has also played a part in her downfall. Move over Cara, sticking your tongue out while wearing a neon beanie is cheugy now…
Most of you probably already know this, but Delevingne, just like her eyebrow twin Brooke Shields “has some pretty high society ties throughout her family heritage—one that is made up of publishing executives, models, socialites and even some politicians,” as Monica Athnasious previously wrote in SCREENSHOT.
Although we recommend reading the full article linked above, just to give you a taste of the privilege Delevingne was born into, you should know that the model and actress’ grandfather ran both The Evening Standard and the Daily Express—a fact that many netizens have since linked to her initial rise in fame after her pictures kept appearing in newspapers and tabloids even before she became popular. Not to mention her godfather being “Condé Nast’s chairman for thirty years before stepping down in 2017…”
Both her parents come from wealthy, well-connected families—making the Delevingnes adjacent to royalty in the UK, literally. In other words, and without taking away from the fact that she was fit for the modelling industry, it’s not through pure luck that Delevingne found a way to make a name for herself. She’s had one since birth.
In May 2013, while at the top of her modelling career, Delevingne was photographed outside of her London flat dropping what was, at the time, described as a bag of “mysterious white powder.” For those of you who aren’t well-versed on illicit drugs and aren’t sure what this unidentified substance could have been, it was speculated to most likely be cocaine.
Now, hear me out on this—I actually don’t really care whether Delevingne is a massive cokehead or not. Kate Moss and many, many other celebrities have been there, done that. What’s irritating in this case however is that, where Moss was vilified and her career put in jeopardy—H&M formerly fired spokeswoman Moss for being busted with cocaine in 2005—Delevingne saw little to no repercussions.
To avoid said consequences, the young model used social media and the incredible following she already had on those platforms at the time to distract the media. Her little snafu occurred the day before the Met Gala, which meant that both the press and public were already ‘distracted’ with bigger fish to fry.
But Delevingne took things a step further to ensure that no one was paying attention to that little bag of white powder. She posted an Instagram photo of herself locking lips with British actress (and friend) Sienna Miller.
As you can imagine, the ‘shockingly sexy’ image went viral and dominated headlines from the event. By the next day, absolutely no one cared about the white powder incident.
The model has openly identified as genderfluid since May 2018. She uses she/her pronouns. In June 2019, she confirmed that she was in a relationship with actress and model Ashley Benson. In April 2020, the couple split after two years of dating. “I always will remain, I think, pansexual,” she told Variety in a 2020 interview, meaning that she’s attracted to all people regardless of biological sex, gender, or gender identity.
“However one defines themselves, whether it’s ‘they’ or ‘he’ or ‘she’, I fall in love with the person—and that’s that. I’m attracted to the person,” Delevingne continued. Obviously—and it goes without saying—there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of that. The real problem lies in the weaponisation of her identity as a white queer person to infringe upon the bodies of black and brown fems as a way to assert and perform her own sexual agency.
In 2021, while at Leah McSweeney’s Halloween party, Azealia Banks performed her iconic song ‘212’. During that performance, Delevingne got on stage and grabbed the mic from the singer, speaking incoherently to the crowd before the visibly confused musician was able to take the microphone back.
Caught on camera, the model-turned-actress then kneeled on the floor and began to grab and lick Banks’ legs, with someone sharing the video and writing: “Can we ban Cara Delevingne from Hollywood?”
This behaviour has since resurfaced publicly again this year, most notably during the Billboard Music Awards 2022, which Delevingne attended despite the fact that she isn’t best known for being a musician, let alone a nominee. And yet, she managed to completely steal the show from nominees Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion—and not in a good way.
Her antics began on the red carpet before the show, when she was spotted peering around a corner to watch Megan as she posed for the waiting photographers. “With her eyes transfixed on Megan, Cara was shouting inaudibly and sticking her tongue out before she eventually ran onto the carpet and grabbed the train of Megan’s custom Mugler dress to give the photos some added movement,” wrote BuzzFeed News.
Delevingne repeatedly tossed the train in the air for the cameras, and although Megan laughed politely at first, people have argued that some signs of irritation appeared to cross her face as the model crashed her red carpet moment.
Things only got worse during the actual show. Delevingne was seated next to Megan and just behind Doja. At one point, the two artists were having a conversation when Delevingne interrupted by popping up between them and telling Doja, “Babe, I fucking love you so much.”
Then, when Megan Thee Stallion won the award for Rap Female Artist, Delevingne could not hide her excitement as she leaned into the rapper and stuck her tongue out while pulling a face. Weird. As Megan made her way onto the stage, Delevingne once again grabbed at the train of her dress, but instead of throwing it like she did on the red carpet, she simply ran her hand down the fabric. Again, weird. She then leapt out of her seat and dramatically applauded the win.
Last but not least, she was seen writhing on the floor as she took a photo of Doja Cat posing with Fat Joe and DJ Khaled.
All this ridiculous, performative effort for this…
Ever since she first appeared on everyone’s radar, Delevingne has adeptly jumped from one famous bestie to another. The model started on the ‘lower end of celebrity’ with Rita Ora. Then, one Riri replaced another when Delevingne started hanging out with the queen herself, Rihanna. Then came Taylor Swift, America’s sweetheart.
Countless celebrities can be added to this long list but Selena Gomez seems to be Delevingne’s latest victim. The model, who’s playing Gomez’s love interest in the second season of Hulu’s Only Murders In the Building, even has a matching tattoo with the singer.
While on ABC’s Live With Kelly and Ryan in January 2022, Gomez explained the meaning behind their identical rose tattoos: “She calls me ‘Rosebud’. So, it’s a nickname. I’ve always wanted a rose and now I got one and I love it.”
All this to say:
Depending on which generation you were born into, you might know the American actor and musician Jared Leto for a wide array of reasons. I personally remember him from Requiem for a Dream and the absolute trauma that movie caused my 15-year-old self. Some may also associate Leto with Fight Club’s Angel Face character while for others his face brings forth unwanted flashbacks from the car crash that was his performance as Suicide Squad’s Joker. Heck, if you’re not much of a movie buff but know a thing or two about fashion, then Leto can only represent one thing to you: Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele’s most favoured muse, placed even before Harry Styles and Lana Del Rey on the pedestal.
But Leto should be known for more than his surprisingly long-lasting acting career or the name he’s made for himself in the music industry with his band Thirty Seconds To Mars—fronted by the man himself along with his brother Shannon Leto on drums. It’s time for Leto to be dragged for more than his embarrassingly meme-worthy acting attempt in House of Gucci—it’s about time we addressed the problematic behaviour he’s been displaying for years without ever facing the repercussions. From accusations of paedophilia and rape to his bizarre cult island, we’ve gathered all the receipts.
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When the Leto brothers formed their rock band in 1998, they probably never imagined the fan base it would accumulate over the years. Thirty Seconds To Mars (also known as 30STM) went on to consistently enjoy sold-out tours and even headline numerous festivals. Known for its energetic live performances, fused elements from a wide variety of genres, its use of philosophical and spiritual lyrics, concept albums, and experimental music, the band took a strange turn when it started holding cult-like “summer camps” for its audience in 2015.
What seemed to have started as an ironic comment—in 2013, Leto told The New York Times Magazine that it was “a joke, a response to journalists saying, ‘You have such a cult following.’”—quickly turned into a golden opportunity to fleece their audience. In August 2019, while on yet another island retreat they’d held in Croatia for hundreds of fans, Thirty Seconds To Mars tweeted, “Yes, it’s a cult,” sending the internet into an understandable frenzy.
As reported by KQED in September 2019, the band’s fans “collectively refer to themselves as ‘the Echelon’, and are a group that seems overwhelmingly immersed not [just] in music nerd-dom, but rather a more general sort of love for the community surrounding the band.” I mean, just watch 10 seconds of the fan-made video below and you’ll get an idea of the megachurch vibes 30STM is giving off:
Oh, and in case you’re still not convinced, keep in mind that the Echelon also seems more than happy to don all-white uniforms and worship Leto’s feet. No biggie.
KQED further noted, “Like many cults, the Echelon espouses an us vs. them mentality via the hashtag #YouWouldntUnderstand, a refrain Leto repeats often. That idea has pushed supporters to ever more fervent degrees of devotion any time the band receives any degree of criticism.”
Looking into the band’s eyebrow-raising trips, the publication revealed that its Camp Mars event, which was held between 7 and 9 September 2019, charged $999 for two nights of outdoor camping, where you had to bring your own tent and supplies, Fyre Festival-style. The getaway also included daytime outdoor activities like rock-climbing and archery, plus two Thirty Seconds To Mars concerts, which the band called ‘Church of Mars’. More expensive dorm options were also offered, but the only way to sleep in a space that wasn’t shared with strangers was to pay $6,499 for a “VIP experience.” Neat.
But that’s all fine, because Leto declared the band “anti-greed” back in 2013. Whether the whole cult aspect surrounding 30STM started as a joke or not, what certainly seems to be serious is how aware Leto is of his fans’ dedication to him. This thirst for devotion has most definitely played a part in the worrying accusations the celebrity has faced both before and after.
In May 2018, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, Dylan Sprouse—yep, that’s the twin brother of Cole Sprouse who is best known for his role as Zack Martin on the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and its spin-off, The Suite Life on Deck—posted a tweet accusing Leto of sending DMs to every model aged 18 to 25.
It quickly escalated when Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn tweeted the following as an answer to Sprouse’s initial tweet, “He starts at 18 on the internet?” Though the tweet has since been deleted, many netizens managed to grab a screenshot beforehand:
This was not the first time Gunn tried speaking up about Leto’s predatory behaviour either. In June of 2015, the director reportedly did a live stream on the video app Periscope in which he made similar remarks about the actor’s habits of sleeping with underage girls. SCREENSHOT did not manage to locate a copy of the video in question.
In that same year, the New York Post reported that the 30STM frontman had been pursuing teen models. “He’s been approaching all the girls and inviting them to his shows,” an anonymous source told the paper. “He’s a serial texter. He is constantly texting these 16- and 17-year-old girls. It’s really kind of creepy.”
For a man who openly held a competition in which the prize was a night sleeping in his bed and who fronts a band that is known to specifically request their fans get tattoos in their honour, to be accused of such things should have been enough to eventually lead the actor to face at least some kind of consequence. And yet, not much happened to the cult leader in 2018, even after a worrying number of allegations, some from years before then, started appearing online.
Though the article has since been wiped clean from the internet, in July 2015, pop culture writer for the now-vanished media criticism site Contemptor, Evangeline Van Houten, made some waves for her piece titled Another Cosby? A Reminder That Several Women Have Accused Jared Leto Of Sexual Assault. In it, the journalist collected several confronting allegations of sexual misconduct from fans of 30STM.
A number of victims, as young as 15, described having sex with Leto and some of the allegations suggested the singer acted despite a lack of consent or continued even when asked to stop. One account stated, “He was very pushy into coercing me to do sexual acts with him and he was quite rough and forceful. Once he was unnecessarily rough and when I told him it hurt he didn’t stop—he never did anything slowly or for my pleasure… And no, he never asked me if I was ever ok or comfortable with anything he wanted to do, simply because he is not the person to care.”
The 50-year-old actor never tried to respond to such accusations, and let’s be honest, it never seemed like he really had to, especially since barely anyone even made the effort to shed light on his alleged predatory behaviour. A Reddit thread based on the article mentioned above includes many more shocking accounts, in case you’re wondering exactly how many victims we’re looking at here.
In 2014, a Star Magazine print issue featured an interview with former adult film star Vicki Marie Taylor claiming that, back when Leto dated Cameron Diaz, she and three other strip dancers had been invited to a post-concert get-together one night in April 2002.
“The other girls and I stripped down to bikinis and hung out with Jared and the band backstage,” Taylor told Star. “After a while, Jared invited me onto his tour bus. His brother, Shannon, the band’s drummer, was already on it and the three of us were the only people there. I gave Jared a lap dance for just a minute, but then he asked me to do the same for his brother, who was sitting on a couch. As I started to dance for Shannon, Jared suddenly grabbed me around the throat from behind and said to me, ‘I can reach pure sexual enjoyment in 30 seconds just by looking into your eyes’. Obviously, it was kind of a weird situation.”
She went on to say that Leto then sat back down and watched Taylor lap dance his brother for ten minutes until a roadie announced it was time for them to leave for their next gig.
The internet is home to many (many, many) more accounts of Leto allegedly sexually assaulting (sometimes underage) victims. However, some internet users have suggested that such online accusations are not to be taken seriously due to the fact that they never actually evolved into sexual assault and rape police cases—a very stupid and uneducated way of looking at the situation.
How many times do we have to say it? The fear of not being believed makes it even harder for victims to come forward, so imagine how frightening it must be for anyone facing Leto and his somewhat invincible yet invisible team of lawyers. Almost 90 per cent of sexual assault survivors will never go to the police.
And it’s not only that victims are worried people won’t believe them, they also worry they will face horrific repercussions for coming forward with their story—whether personally, professionally or from the perpetrator themselves—especially if they go on to report the assault to concerned authorities. Seeing how much of an expert Leto is at emptying his fans’ pockets, it’s not hard to think of the many options he has under his belt when trying to silence his victims.