For years, most of us dug the smell of what Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been cooking, but one alleged aromatic morsel that irked millennials has remained on one piping-hot skillet.
On Saturday, the former wrestler turned actor accused UK tabloid Daily Star of fabricating a dig he made at millenials now being dubbed the "snowflake smackdown." After getting a fair share of pushback on social media, the story has been yanked offline. The paper has not given a reason for deleting the piece.
According to Fox News on Friday, the story covered what were apparently Johnson's thoughts on "snowflakes," a pejorative term used for a young and left-leaning culture that tends to be offended easily by current events and comments made public. Daily Star claimed Johnson believed that the subculture isn't exactly contributing to the values that people in military service fight for these days.
“So many good people fought for freedom and equality - but this generation are looking for a reason to be offended," he reportedly said. “If you are not agreeing with them then they are offended - and that is not what so many great men and women fought for.”
But on an Instagram post on Saturday, Johnson said there was never an interview and admitted to being baffled when he saw the piece that morning. "If I ever had an issue with someone, a group, community or a generatio," he added, "I’d seek them out, create dialogue and do my best to understand them. Criticizing ain’t my style."
To most of his fans, including the nearly seven million who saw the post, Johnson's a pretty big deal in Hollywood these days, having pursued a far more lucrative career in acting than what he was paid in the WWE turnbuckle circuit. He's been in two films that each raked in more than a billion dollars worldwide at the box office (Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious), as well as nearly 20 other flicks that cracked the $100 million milestone. He's also done Soundtracks, a documentary series for CNN and is currently helming the NBC series The Titan Games, an athletic competition based on workouts that have made an impact on his life.
But while cultivating a reputation for being one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, Johnson's had a few run-ins, including one with former wrestler John Cena. Johnson garnered headlines in April with a public feud against Furious franchise star Vin Diesel after calling him a "candyass." In October, Johnson took some heat from fans for picking himself to play African-American folk hero John Henry in a Netflix movie.
Optics over the Daily Star article disappearing without an explanation from the publication and Johnson claiming that the interview was pure fiction seems to tip the scales in the actor's favor. If so, kudos for calling it out as an example of fake news, a running nuance that a certain leader of the current federal administration loves toinclude as part of his soapboxing antics.
Coincidentally, Johnson's been toying with the idea of running for public office and this incident may have doubled as a way to court favour with millennials, who, as of last November's midterm elections, now outnumber the boomer generation. For a guy who used to get his hands dirty in the ring grappling with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Triple H, he's probably well aware that whatever The Rock cooks up down the road might be a meal that customers will want fries with.