Grease had become a victim of ‘cancel culture’ as it’s star Olivia Newton-John battled cancer – but she repeatedly defended the film before her death.
Students in years between 7 to 10 at Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC) and Scotch College in Perth decided not to participate in the play after girls believed it was offensive and anti-feminist.
It was set to be performed at the start of the year, just months before the tragic death of Olivia Newton-John, who starred in the 1978 classic alongside John Travolta.
The Australian singer died on Monday morning surrounded by family at her home in southern California after a long battle with breast cancer.
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in the iconic 1978 movie Grease that catapulted her career. He was among the first to pay tribute to her on Monday
Students in years 7 to 10 at Presbyterian Ladies’ College and Scotch College in Perth decided to not to participate in the play after girls believed it was offensive and anti-feminist
In November last year, PLC principal Cate Begbie and Scotch College acting headmaster Peter Burt released a joint statement about their decision to cancel the musical.
‘A number of PLC students raised concerns whether the musical was appropriate in modern times,’ it read.
‘Scotch College listened respectfully to the girls’ concerns, and both schools agreed a different musical would be better suited for their joint production in 2022.’
Olivia Newton-John is most known for her famous role as Sandy in the 1978 movie Grease (pictured, Newton-Joh with Grease co-star John Travolta)
Fans left flowers and photos on Newton-John’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (above) after she died Monday morning
Sunrise reported the girls at PLC told teachers they felt Grease was ‘offensive, sexist and anti-feminist’ and refused to take part.
‘They can’t put on Mary Poppins because she disciplines the children. Sound of Music, you know, does it does it portray a blended family accurately?’ co-host Edwina Bartholomew asked on the program last year.
‘What are they deciding on?’ David Koch replied.
‘I don’t know, The Book of Mormon?’ Bartholomew joked.
Newton-John repeatedly defended the film in her recent interviews, saying people shouldn’t be taking it ‘too seriously’.
‘I think it’s kind of silly. I mean, this movie was made in the 1970s about the 1950s,’ she said.
‘It was a stage play, it’s a musical, it’s fun. It’s a fun movie musical, not to be taken so seriously.
‘We need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are. I didn’t see it like that at all, I think it’s a fun movie that entertains people.’
Just days before her death, Olivia Newton-John posted a heartwarming throwback photo to Instagram alongside her husband John Easterling
Grease co-star John Travolta was among the first to pay tribute to Newton-John writing: ‘your Danny, your John’ under a photo (above) of the star
Grease was also aired on free-to-air TV in the UK earlier this year, with the showing garnering similarly angry responses from viewers.
Many said the film didn’t age well, accusing it of being ‘misogynistic’, ‘rapey’ and believed it encouraged ‘slut-shaming’.
Newton-John said during a 2020 interview she believed it actually conveyed a strong female character that was relevant in today’s society.
‘It’s a movie. It’s a story from the ’50s where things were different,’ she said of its criticism.
‘Everyone forgets that, at the end, he changes for her too. There’s nothing deep in there about the #MeToo movement.’
The Australian icon lost her battle with breast cancer on Monday morning, surrounded by her husband John Easterling and other close friends and family.
Easterling revealed the actress’ final request was for donations to be made to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, ‘in lieu of flowers’.
The foundation funds research into plant-based medicine and holistic treatments for cancer.
Newton-John’s husband John Easterling (right) broke the news of her death on Monday by sharing a post to her Facebook page
Newton-John’s battle with breast cancer first began in 1992 when she was just 44 years old.
She was very open about her diagnosis and treatment, which famously included the use of medical marijuana. Her cancer returned in 2013 and again in 2017.
Newton-John and Easterling met while on a ayahuasca retreat in Peru.
One of the star’s first high-profile friends to pay tribute was her Grease co-star John Travolta.
‘My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again,’ he captioned an Instagram post alongside a photo of Newton-John.
‘Yours from the first moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!’