Malala Yousafzai held her peace at the 2023 Oscars despite an impromptu line of questioning by host Jimmy Kimmel. While waiting for the stage to be reset at one point during the award show, the host approached various attendees with questions sent in by viewers. Kimmel started with Yousafzai, acknowledging her many accomplishments before going in an entirely different direction. “Your work on human rights and education for women is an inspiration,” Kimmel said. “As the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history, do you think Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine?”
Evidently startled by the jarring change in subject matter, Yousafzai politely responded, “I only talk about peace,” eliciting applause from the crowd. “You know what? That’s why you’re Malala and nobody else is,” Kimmel said. “That’s a great answer, Malala. The winner is Malala-land, everybody.”
Yousafzai later retweeted the segment, adding, “Treat people with kindness,” followed by a peace-sign emoji. Those watching the interaction at home had mixed reactions, with some defending the playful conversation and others calling it downright disrespectful.
Yousafzai gained international recognition after standing up to the Taliban in Mingora, Pakistan. The activist started fighting for access to education once it was made illegal for girls to attend school and later survived being shot in the head by a masked gunman on a school bus in 2012. She published a book about her experience, “I Am Malala,” in 2013. Yousafzai was also the subject of the 2015 documentary “He Named Me Malala,” which was on the Oscars shortlist for best documentary.
Because of everything she’s overcome, a quip about the “Don’t Worry Darling” cast might not have been the most appropriate in everyone’s eyes. But if it’s any indication of where Yousafzai herself stands, the 25-year-old Nobel Prize winner recently retweeted a Jezebel article advocating for her right to comment on pop culture — spitgate included, presumably.