“I got told… I was pretentious”: Dakota Johnson was Thrashed by a TV Creator for Simply Being Polite to People

Dakota Johnson was called out for being 'polite'.

"I got told... I was pretentious": Dakota Johnson was Thrashed by a TV Creator for Simply Being Polite to People


  • Dakota Johnson was criticized by a TV creator for politely introducing herself to everyone in an audition room.
  • The creator called Johnson "pretentious" for shaking hands to say hello, bewildering the actress.
  • Johnson has endured other odd Hollywood experiences, like feeling isolated as a guest on The Office's series finale.
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During a recent interview, actress Dakota Johnson shared an “awful” experience from early in her career where she was branded as “pretentious” by a television creator simply for having basic manners. While promoting her new comic book film Madame Web, Johnson recalled the traumatic audition story in response to an interview question from MTV.


What Exactly Happened at Dakota Johnson’s Fateful Audition?

Dakota Johnson in and as Madame Web
Dakota Johnson in and as Madame Web

According to Variety, Dakota Johnson was told that she was “pretentious”. 

As she explained, “I got told by a creator of a show that I was pretentious because I shook everyone’s hand in the [audition] room.” Johnson continued, “I was like, ‘What?’ [Like] I wasted their time because I was like, ‘Hey, I am Dakota,’ and introduced myself and shook everyone’s hands.” 

For the actress, it was a bewildering criticism to receive for what she likely intended as a gracious gesture. Though Johnson did not share further specifics about the offending television creator or reveal what project she had auditioned for, her account speaks volumes. Upon entering the audition room, she simply went around and introduced herself individually to each person present with a handshake. A practice that for many would be viewed as good manners was somehow seen as a bridge too far by the unidentified showrunner.

Dakota Johnson as Cassie Webb
Dakota Johnson as Cassie Webb

Johnson joked in the interview that her politeness had been misconstrued by the creator as if she “ruined his life.” Perhaps to the busy TV show head, Johnson’s introductions had eaten into valuable audition time he felt would be better served to get straight to the scene performance. Even so, to characterize such common courtesy as a character flaw seems beyond the pale.

Has Dakota Johnson Had Other Odd Hollywood Experiences?

Dakota Johnson
Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades of Grey

While likely her most outrageous, this was not the first time Dakota Johnson endured Hollywood executives’ unusual behavior surrounding an acting job. She recently regaled Late Night host Seth Meyers with the awkward experience of appearing in the final episode of the hit sitcom The Office back in 2013. Johnson had naively assumed she would only be on set shooting her minor guest role for half a day. Instead, she found herself there for almost two full weeks.

As she told Meyers, “…I was there for two weeks. And I’m barely in the fucking show.” 

Johnson described feeling out of place while present for the emotional farewells between longtime cast members, many of whom were at odds behind the scenes. 


She recalled pathetically attempting conversation: “I’m coming in like ‘So excited to be here!’ No one wanted to talk to me. No one gave a fuck…”

Though certainly less overtly rude than the critical creator, The Office crew’s cold shoulders highlighted the “weird dynamics” that can permeate Hollywood sets.

Between her handshake humility and The Office isolation, Dakota Johnson has endured some uniquely bizarre industry encounters on her way to headlining major movies like Fifty Shades of Grey and this year’s Madame Web. Yet with productions like the latter comic book tentpole proving her box office might, hopefully, Johnson today receives nothing but warmth and praise on sets going forward, no matter how she introduces herself.


Written by Nivedita Dubey

Articles Published: 82

Nivedita Dubey has 3 years of extensive experience in copywriting and content writing. She has written news articles for websites like, essentially sports, Comic Book Resources, Nerdstash etc.