Viola Davis defends controversial ‘Woman King’ amid boycott

Viola Davis won’t hear any slander about her new movie Woman King.

The star and producer of the female war epic has responded to critics and recent ones #BoycottWomanKing movement.

Social media users were support financially Fans not to buy a ticket for the film.

They believe the film is historically inaccurate and glorifies the role played by the African kingdom — the Dahomey — in the 19th-century slave trade.

The Oscar winner, 57, and her husband (and producing partner) Julius Tennon defended the flick in a recent interview with Variety.

“I agree with [director] Gina Prince-Bythewood’s adage is you won’t win an argument on Twitter,” Davis said. “We entered history at a crossroads, when the kingdom was in flux.”

THE WOMAN KING Special Screening at the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Viola Davis and her husband Julius Tennon.
Getty Images for Sony Pictures E

The historical drama follows Davis as a military general in Africa training new recruits for the king’s all-female guard, the Agojie.

Trouble ensues when a group of European traders wash up on the kingdom’s shores and strike a deal with a neighboring kingdom, the Oyo, to buy slaves.

The How to Get Away with Murder star continued, “They were looking for a way to keep their civilization and kingdom alive. They were only decimated at the end of the 19th century. Most of the story is fictionalized. It must be.”

Tennon chimed in, saying the film was just “to entertain people” — if not, then “it would be a documentary.”

He also noted that if the film didn’t captivate viewers, “people wouldn’t be in theaters doing the same thing we saw this weekend.” Tennon continued, “We didn’t want to shy away from the truth. The story is extensive and there are truths about it that are there. If people want to learn more, they can research more.”

Film Review - The Woman King
Viola Davis in 2022’s The Woman King.

Also starring in Woman King are John Boyega, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Lashana Lynch.

Davis also discussed the boycott during the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9. “Then don’t come and see it,” she rebuked. “You are sending a message that black women cannot lead the global box office and that you support this narrative.”

The historical drama has been a box office success since its release on September 16 and has grossed $19 million to date.

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