Leonardo DiCaprio went to a party. Standard. There were lots of models at the party. Standard. One of those models was seated next to him. Standard. Her name is Eden Polani and she is 19 years old. Very standard. Everyone assumed they’re now dating. That’s standard too, non?
Also standard: Leo getting clowned on social media for maybe-dating a teenager.
Which is why there are sources running to TMZ and Page Six insisting that there’s nothing between Leo and Eden and that they were simply just sitting beside each other at that party and the internet is jumping to conclusions. Like it’s beyond possibility that Leonardo DiCaprio would ever date a 19-year-old model.
Still, the denials are out there, and they made an effort to put them out there, which probably means Leo isn’t just aware of the rumours and the speculation but cares enough to shut them down. Even though, as I keep saying repeatedly, within his inner circle and among most of the gross men in the circles he rolls in, his romantic age preferences are not just not problematic but likely encouraged.
It’s his image, it’s the effect on his image and reputation. It’s the way he’s now perceived by the culture: as a punchline, maybe even a creep. Which would imply that there’s a little worry happening here. Not like def-con four or anything. But perhaps some mild concern. And if that really is the case, with these people, concern always has to do with money, either directly or indirectly. As in… will we make money on this movie if women think you’re gross? Will we be able to nail down this endorsement if everybody’s looking at you like an almost-50 year old who refuses to entertain the idea of a relationship with a woman over 30? Will you still be a draw for anything if people assume that you consider women over 30 repulsive?
At some point when internet commentary becomes the general cultural temperature and crosses over to mainstream acceptance of an idea, which is what has occurred with Leo and his romances, they may be an impact on the career. I say may be, not will be, but may be. And I wonder if that’s what they’re keeping an eye on now.