Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence issued an apology on Facebook today over a story she shared about using “sacred rocks” in Hawaii for “butt itching.”
Social and national media were abuzz with criticism and debate after Lawrence, during an interview with irreverent BBC talk-show host Graham Norton, recently shared that she had scratched herself with “sacred rocks” she was not supposed to sit on while shooting a scene for the second “Hunger Games” movie in the isles in 2013.
“They were sacred and you’re not supposed to sit on them because you’re not supposed to expose your genitalia to them,” she told Norton during her appearance. “I, however, was in a wet-suit for this whole shoot, so, oh my God, they were so good for butt itching!”
The 26-year-old actress then shared that one rock came loose as a result and rolled down the mountain, nearly hitting a sound technician. That led local workers on the set to speculate it was because of a curse, but she said she knew she had caused it.
In a Facebook post today, Lawrence wrote: “I meant absolutely no disrespect to the Hawaiian people. I really thought that I was being self-deprecating about the fact that I was ‘the curse,’ but I understand the way it was perceived was not funny and I apologize if I offended anyone.”
She had shared a similar account in 2013 on “Live with Kelly and Michael.”
Hawaii film commissioner Donne Dawson said Lawrence was filming in Oahu’s Waimea Valley, which is managed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
“I would say her comments were unfortunate and I’m really pleased that she’s issued an apology,” Dawson said today. “I think the Native Hawaiian community is probably grateful for that apology as well.”
Most film productions in Hawaii hire cultural consultants, Dawson added, to advise cast and crew on local sensitivities. The state also issues guidelines for filming in Hawaii, including what filmmakers need to be aware of environmentally and culturally with regard to Native Hawaiian culture and the community at large.
A cultural protocol guidebook is in the works, she said, which the state hopes to make available in both print and digital formats.