Listen, even if she’s only talking about peace, Malala Yousafzai doesn’t mind talking about celebrity gossip.
The 25-year-old female education activist made her debut at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday, but was later embroiled in a Twitter debate after Oscar viewers criticized host Jimmy Kimmel for referring to her as “Malala Land” after involving her in a dirty moment during the live broadcast of the ceremony. Kimmel was accused of “harassing” the young Nobel laureate when he pushed through the audience for an interactive question-and-answer session, posing questions from fans to the stars inside the Dolby Theater.
“It’s great to have you here and congratulations on your movie,” Kimmel said as he reached Yousafzai’s aisle seat. The Pakistani activist was nominated in the short documentary category as executive producer of “Stranger at the Gate.” (“The Elephant Whisperers” ultimately won the Oscar.)
“This question is from Joanne Nicolaides from Brooklyn, NY,” Kimmel said. “She asks: ‘His work of hers on human rights and education for women and children is inspiring. As the youngest Nobel Prize winner ever, I was wondering, do you think Harry Styles spat on Chris Pine?
Confused, Yousafzai said: “I only talk about peace.”
“You know what, that’s why you’re Malala and no one else is. That’s a great answer, Malala. The winner is ‘Malala Land’, everyone,” she continued.
But the seemingly planned part wasn’t quite over: The Taliban shootout survivor was subjected to a background scrum with a costumed “cocaine bear” that Kimmel had to fend off.
Meanwhile, users revealed the bit on Twitter, where some deemed the comedian’s “La La Land” riff on her name as “child racism.”
But all seemed well with Yousafzai, despite Twitter users going after Kimmel for the weird part.
“Treat people with kindness,” he tweeted, posting a clip of his fake interview during the ceremony.
On Monday, Yousafzai further co-signed Kimmel’s audience haul by retweeting a missive from Jezebel which read, “Let Malala gossip about pop culture!” The tweet directed users to a story on the site titled “It’s Perfectly OK Jimmy Kimmel Asked Malala to Gossip at the Oscars”
In an earlier tweet about her sparkly Ralph Lauren dress, she wrote“what a dream night”.
The “He Named Me Malala” star and co-writer became an international human rights icon in 2012 after she was shot in the head by Taliban militants aboard a school bus in Pakistan. The schoolgirl traveled to Birmingham, England, for medical treatment and returned to school as soon as she could, according to the Associated Press. Since then, she has continued to campaign for the right to education for other girls.
Yousafzai was selected for the cover of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2013 and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. She graduated from Oxford University in June 2020 with a BA in Philosophy, Politics and economy.