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Alanis Morissette is Speaking Out Against New HBO Doc Jagged: This Was Not the Story I Agreed to Tell.

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

The singerwho chose not to attend the Jagged premiereaccused producers of having a salacious agenda, and said the documentary implies things that are simply not true.

Sven Hoppe/Getty

Alanis Morissette has revealed why shes chosen not to attend the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of a new HBO documentary about her career.

ishonest No.141 - Humectant

No.141 - Humectant

Morissette gives an energetic and candid interview in the film, which addresses the artist and her career with a mixture of awe and veneration. Evidently, however, Morissette feels betrayed by the portrayal.

Neither Morissette nor Jagged director Alison Klayman provided an explanation for the apparent tension to The Washington Post when it first reported on the singers plan to snub the premiere. (Klayman provided a statement: Of course I wish Alanis could be [at the premiere]. It was a privilege to make this film and Im really proud of it. Hopefully there will be other opportunities in the future for her to come to film events.)

But the Post article did include a confessional quote from Jaggeda disclosure of sexual abuse that the singer said shed previously stayed mostly quiet about to protect her family.

It took me years in therapy to even admit there had been any kind of victimization on my part, Morissette says during her documentary interview. I would always say I was consenting, and then Id be reminded like Hey, you were 15, youre not consenting at 15. Now Im like, Oh yeah, theyre all pedophiles. Its all statutory rapeI did tell a few people and it kind of fell on deaf ears a little bit. It would usually be a stand-up, walk-out-of-the-room moment.

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Morissette provided a statement to Rolling Stone Tuesday afternoon, in which she said the documentary includes implications and facts that are simply not true.

I agreed to participate in a piece about the celebration of Jagged Little Pills 25th anniversary and was interviewed during a very vulnerable time (while in the midst of my third postpartum depression during lockdown), Morissette writes. I was lulled into a false sense of security and their salacious agenda became apparent immediately upon my seeing the first cut of the film. This is when I knew our visions were in fact painfully diverged.

This was not the story I agreed to tell, the statement continues. I sit here now experiencing the full impact of having trusted someone who did not warrant being trusted.

Morissettes frustration that Klaymans vision diverged from her own speaks to the increasingly active role celebrities now play in shaping their narratives even through so-called documentaries. Beyonc gets to interview herself in Vogue while Taylor Swift champions her[cough] I mean Netflixscarefully curated Miss Americana. As my colleague Kevin Fallon pointed out upon that films release in 2020, theres something paradoxical about celebrities rallying around their own documentaries. The questions people actually want answered and the level of vulnerability A-listers are willing to provide almost never align.

ishonest No.231 - Pigmentation & Blemishes

No.231 - Pigmentation & Blemishes

At the same time, Morissettes statement exudes a sense of violation; it implies that the scope of the project shed signed up for was less personal, less confessional, less up-close than the cut she saw. Without more context, its impossible to understand the exact disconnect. But given how vulnerable the disclosures Jagged contains areand the fact that Morissette says shed previously avoided speaking about the sexual misconduct allegations due to safety concernsher objection also raises broader questions about how and when the ethical rules should shift to accommodate trauma.

While there is beauty and some elements of accuracy in this/my story to be sure I ultimately wont be supporting someone elses reductive take on a story much too nuanced for them to ever grasp or tell, she writes.

The artists statement made me think of an early moment in Jagged. The film opens on archival footage of Morissette performing, as a disembodied voice reverently explains that the singers brutal honesty created space for women to experience their own emotions. Its like, Ive got a voice. Im 19 years old and Im gonna fucking well tell you how I feel about that, the voice gushes.

Cut to Morissette herself, seated for an interview in the present. A lot of people would say, Wow, youre so brave, youre so empowered, youre so strong, she says. You know, Im like, Sometimes. I cant write all these songs without obviously having been disempowered. I mean, half of these songs are about attempting to become empowered.

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