Canadian singer Alanis Morissette has slammed Jagged, the HBO documentary about her life and career currently playing at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, calling it “salacious” and “simply not true.”
The Ottawa-born musician, 47, released a statement Tuesday, outlining her thoughts on the movie and stating the network lulled her into believing the final product would be something else, rather than a look at her iconic 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill, and how it launched her career.
“I agreed to participate in a piece about the celebration of Jagged Little Pill‘s 25th anniversary, and was interviewed during a very vulnerable time (while in the midst of my third postpartum depression during lockdown),” wrote Morissette in the statement.
“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.”
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(Morissette and her husband, Mario “Souleye” Treadway, have three children: sons Ever Imre, 10, and Winter Mercy, 21 months, and daughter Onyx Solace, 4.)
Morissette participated in the film, directed by Alison Klayman (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry), sitting for lengthy interviews. The singer said she would not be participating in any promotion for the doc.
“I sit here now experiencing the full impact of having trusted someone who did not warrant being trusted,” she said. “I have chosen not to attend any event around this movie for two reasons: one is that I am on tour right now. The other is that, not unlike many ‘stories’ and unauthorized biographies out there over the years, this one includes implications and facts that are simply not true.”
Morissette didn’t specify her issues with Jagged, which is set to premiere Nov. 19 on HBO. Its most sensitive material includes Morissette discussing sexual encounters when she was 15 that she calls statutory rape. The Washington Post earlier reported on that section of the film.
“It took me years in therapy to even admit there had been any kind of victimization on my part,” Morissette says in the film. “I would always say I was consenting, and then I’d be reminded like `Hey, you were 15, you’re not consenting at 15.’ Now I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re all pedophiles. It’s all statutory rape.”
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Canada’s age of consent has been 16 years old since 2008. A person under the age of 18 cannot consent if the sexual activity is with a person with authority over them. Youths 14 or 15 years old can consent to nonexploitive sexual activity when the age difference is no more than five years. Before 2008, the age of consent was 14. Morissette doesn’t go into any detail on who the encounters were with.
Representatives for Klayman didn’t immediately return requests for comment Tuesday.
“It’s a really hard thing, I think, to see a movie made about yourself,” Klayman said at TIFF. “I think she’s incredibly brave and the reaction when she saw it was that it was a really — she could feel all the work, all the nuance that went into it. And again, she gave so much of her time and so much of her effort into making this and I think that the movie really speaks for itself.”
Morissette is currently on tour and is to perform in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday.
“While there is beauty and some elements of accuracy in this/my story to be sure — I ultimately won’t be supporting someone else’s reductive take on a story much too nuanced for them to ever grasp or tell,” Morissette said.
If you think someone is being abused, here is some information on supporting them and additional information on safety planning. If you think someone is abusive to their partner, here is a list of resources to help. Are you experiencing abuse? Here’s how to get help.
— With files from The Associated Press
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