At a London press conference for the movie The Avengers, a reporter asked Robert Downey Jr. a drawn-out, thoughtful question about his character Tony Stark’s growth over 3 movies, then followed up with a question to Scarlett Johansson about what she ate to get into shape for her role as the Black Widow. Not missing a beat, Downey Jr. said, “If I’ve learned anything, it’s that people are much more interested in your second question to Scarlett than any answer I can give.”
He then turned to Scarlett and let her take the floor. Her response: “I was just going to say that very thing, it’s so funny. How come you get, like, the really interesting existential question and I get the, like, rabbit food question.” Most who reported on this stopped there, but Johansson’s answer continued. “I don’t know. Yes, surely. When you’re training and doing all that stunt work, you eat a lot of green things.” She then pushed the microphone forward and sat back, looking well peeved.
Johansson’s reaction got lauded by various reporters, but true to form, several other news outlets used well-timed selective hearing to make it sound as though she had revealed a remarkable diet secret.
Metro UK reported that she “joked” about eating rabbit food, without getting into who the joke was on or why it was a joke. Zeenews‘s headline reads that Johansson “credits rabbit food for ‘sexy body.'” And the Sydney Morning Herald called it her “catsuit diet,” quoting part of her response, but leaving out the bit where Johansson called out the journalist for asking Downey Jr. a better question.
Thankfully, this is the Internet, so by now, most people know what a poor reporting job these other news outlets did.
There’s also an unsung hero in this story, and it’s Downey Jr. Not only did he ridicule the journalist, he punished her by refusing to answer her question. She would have little to report, and that’s exactly what she deserved.