Jesse Eisenberg has addressed the backlash to an interview in which he was accused of being a “jerk” to journalist Romina Puga.
The Social Network star was promoting his 2013 film Now You See Me when he spoke with Puga, who asked him, among other things, to perform a magic card trick and to say her name into the camera, as she does with all her guests.
During their conversation, Eisenberg appears to make a number of digs at Puga’s interview style, jokingly accusing her of having basic questions written on her hand, and of her being on “his time” when she tells him to hurry up.
The clip of the interview went viral, with Eisenberg labelled “rude” and “obnoxious”. Puga later wrote her own account of what had happened, saying she was “humiliated” by the actor.
However, speaking to NME in a new interview, Eisenberg has given his own perspective, revealing he was somewhat baffled by the uproar that followed.
“I remember she was laughing,” Eisenberg says. “Even after she left, I said to the people in the room, ‘what a relief’. Like, that was the most funny, interesting interview I’d had all day.”
He said he received a call from his publicist, who said a number of news networks wanted a statement from him about an interview.
“And I said, ‘what interview?!’” Eisenberg recalled. “I watched the thing and she had written an editorial [saying] I had made her upset.
“It was, like, the exact opposite of what my experience was, and I didn’t know the appropriate way to handle something that’s completely mischaracterised.
He concluded: “Everyone that’s seen it tells me they thought it was a funny thing. Listen, I would never wanna upset somebody, and if I did upset her, obviously I would have acknowledged that.”
Eisenberg claimed he had attempted to contact Puga to apologise after learning she had been upset, but was unable to reach her.
His new film Vivarium, is out now on digital download.