I, Tonya, a film that depicts the Tonya Harding scandal of 1994, wherein Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly assaulted Nancy Kerrigan, caused a lot of controversy in the wake of its Golden Globe nominations and win. Allison Janney, who portrays Harding’s mother LaVona, thanked Tonya Harding while accepting the award for best supporting actress at the 2018 Golden Globe awards. The crowd was notably confused, some stifling nervous laughter and awkward applause.
Many have speculated that the praise currently being directed at Harding is ironic, since the ultimate victim of the assault was Nancy Kerrigan. While the film points to the politics of classism and poverty as potential aggravator for the attack, and Harding’s vilification in the media as a symptom of elitism in figure skating, the film paints Harding as the casualty of the attack on Kerrigan.
In a recent interview with the Boston Globe, Kerrigan stated:
“I’ve been busy. I was at the national [figure skating] championships this week so I didn’t watch the Golden Globes. I haven’t seen the movie. I’m just busy living my life. I was the victim. Like, that’s my role in this whole thing. That’s it.”
Aptly put by Boston Globe writer Dan Shaugnessy: “Kerrigan, after all, was a victim of Harding’s dysfunctional life”. While both parties’ accounts seem likely, this controversy is once again being stirred up in the public consciousness. It’s resurgence poses questions of victimhood, politics of classism and elitism.
What do you think about this controversy? Let us know in the comments below!
Be sure to check out our video of the Tonya Harding Scandal: Top 5 Facts You Should Know:
Check out Kerrigan’s full interview here.