Chris Pine Finally Addresses #Spitgate Incident With Harry Styles

Chris Pine is finally clearing up the drama surrounding Harry Styles and their alleged viral spitting incident at the 2022 Venice Film Festival. In an interview with Esquire for their March 2023 issue, the 42-year-old actor was asked point-blank if Styles really spit on him.

"Harry did not spit on me. Harry's a very, very kind guy," Pine replied. The actor admitted that he initially wasn't aware of all the speculation surrounding the reported incident until his publicist showed him the video on a plane. "It does look indeed like Harry's spitting on me. He didn't spit on me," Pine explained. "I think what he said is he leaned down and I think he said, 'It's just words, isn't it?' Cause we had this little joke because we're all jet-lagged, we're all trying to answer these questions, and sometimes when you're doing these press things, your brain goes befuddled and you start speaking gibberish."

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In September 2022, the movie's cast reunited in Italy at the annual movie event to promote their new thriller, which premiered on Sept. 23. Shortly after, a video went viral online in which some say it looked like Styles spit on his costar at a film screening. One Twitter user fueled the speculation with a slo-mo GIF from the video in a tweet that reads, "He 100% spit on Chris Pine." Others chimed in with their own interpretations of what they think took place — including a tweet that noted Pine might've just been looking for his sunglasses after a round of applause — but Wilde denies that anything repugnant took place.

On Sept. 21 2022, director Olivia Wilde stopped by "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" to address the controversy surrounding her film. "Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine? Why or why not? Support your answer," the late-night talk-show host jokingly asked Wilde. To which she said, "He did not, but I think it's a perfect example of like, people will look for drama anywhere they can. Harry did not spit on Chris, in fact." With a laugh, Colbert replied, "We shall see."

A rep for Pine previously confirmed nothing scandalous occurred between Pine and Styles. In a statement to People addressing the alleged incident, the rep said, "This is a ridiculous story — a complete fabrication and the result of an odd online illusion that is clearly deceiving and allows for foolish speculation. Just to be clear, Harry Styles did not spit on Chris Pine. There is nothing but respect between these two men and any suggestion otherwise is a blatant attempt to create drama that simply does not exist."

"I'm the puppeteer and so I was like, 'Hey, Harry, you know what would be a great idea? When you walk into the premiere, spit on Chris Pine.'"

After speculation around the incident, now dubbed #Spitgate, grew, Styles made light of the rumors during his Sept. 7, 2022 show of his Love On Tour in New York City. "This is our 10th show at Madison Square Garden. It's wonderful, wonderful, wonderful to be back in New York. I just popped very quickly to Venice to spit on Chris Pine," he said jokingly. "But fret not, we're back!"

Nick Kroll added to the joke fest during his Sept. 26, 2022 appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," where he jokingly said he's the real "mastermind" that orchestrated Styles and Pine's spitting drama. "I decided, 'Let's create a lot of buzz around the film, but not about the film itself,'" said Kroll. Sarcastically, he added: "I'm the puppeteer and so I was like, 'Hey, Harry, you know what would be a great idea? When you walk into the premiere, spit on Chris Pine.' And he was like, 'Got it.'"

Kroll also said that Styles didn't believe the actor's "plan" would work, so he jokingly suggested, "'You know what, maybe you should just give me a kiss.'" Kroll added: "And then I asked him to spit in my mouth. [But] he wouldn't do it. The guy's got boundaries. Anyway, [the plan] ended up working."

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In the months leading up to "Don't Worry Darling"'s premiere, the film was embroiled in controversy with rumors about everything from an alleged pay disparity to behind-the-scenes drama over the casting of Styles's character, Jack. The role was originally given to Shia LaBeouf, but Variety reported that Wilde fired him, with Warner Bros. citing a "scheduling conflict." The actor later came forward to deny the claim and claimed to the outlet, via email, that he "quit the film due to lack of rehearsal time." Wilde has also repeatedly addressed her decision to fire LaBeouf, both in Vanity Fair's October issue and again during her appearance on "The Late Show."

Beyond casting disputes, Wilde was also tangled in a rumored beef with Florence Pugh, her film's leading lady, but has denied such claims. During the Venice Film Festival, Wilde was asked to "clear the air" about Pugh, a question she responded to by saying, "Florence is a force, and we are so grateful that she's able to make it tonight despite being in production on 'Dune.' I know, as a director, how disruptive it is to lose an actor even for a day, so I'm very grateful to her, to Denis Villeneuve for helping us. And we're really thrilled we'll get to celebrate her work tonight. I can't say enough how honored I am to have her as our lead. She's amazing in the film," as per People.