'Vanity Fair' Responds to Angelina Jolie Dispute Over Child Casting Story: We Stand By Story 'As Published'

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Vanity Fair isn't taking Angelina Jolie's claim that a part of her recent tell-all is "false and upsetting" lightly.
On Sunday, Jolie refuted an excerpt from the magazine's September cover story that depicted a "disturbing" audition process for her upcoming Netflix film about Cambodia, First They Killed My Father. The Vanity Fair story described an alleged "game" with impoverished children from "orphanages, circuses, and slum schools" set up by casting directors in order to find the lead for the film to play young Loung Ung. The excerpt reads: "They put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie."
Jolie released a statement to ET, which in part read, "I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario. The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting. I would be outraged myself if this had happened."
However, on Thursday, the magazine said it stood by writer Evgenia Peretz, and released a transcript of the exchange between Jolie and Peretz regarding the casting process. The publication also claimed that the actress' lawyer had asked the publication to remove the paragraph in question from the online version of Peretz’s story, and to publish another statement prominently, with the title "Angelina Jolie Correction" in the October edition of Vanity Fair and also on VF.com.
In the transcript, Jolie is quoted as saying:
"But it was very hard to find a little Loung. And so it was what they call a slum school. I don't think that's a very nice word for it, but a school for kids in very poor areas.
"And I think, I mean they didn't know. We just went in and -- you just go in and do some auditions with the kids. And it’s not really an audition with children. We had this game where it would be -- and I wasn't there and they didn't know what they were really doing. They kind of said, 'Oh, a camera's coming up and we want to play a game with you.' And the game for that character was 'We're going to put some money on the table. Think of something that you need that money for.' Sometimes it was money, sometimes it was a cookie. 'And then take it.' And then we would catch them. 'We're going to catch you, and we'd like you to try to lie that you didn't have it.'
"So it was very interesting seeing the kids and how they would -- some were very conscious of the camera. They were actually -- there are so many talented kids in this country. But Srey Moch was the only child that stared at that money for a very, very long time before she picked it up, and then bravely, brazenly lying, like was trying to hide, but then she also kind of... And then when she was forced to give it back became very kind of like strong, emotional, she became overwhelmed with emotion that she was -- and she just -- all of these different things flooded out. And I don't think she or her family would mind me saying when she was later asked what that money was for, she said her grandfather died and they didn't have enough money for a nice funeral."
Vanity Fair said it reviewed the audiotape, and stood by Peretz's story as published.
ET has reached out to Jolie.
On Sunday, the 42-year-old actress defended herself against some online criticism that the casting process for her latest film was manipulative and cruel.
"Every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort and well-being of the children on the film starting from the auditions through production to the present," she said. "Parents, guardians, partner NGOs whose job it is to care for children, and medical doctors were always on hand everyday, to ensure everyone had all they needed. And above all to make sure that no one was in any way hurt by participating in the recreation of such a painful part of their country’s history."
"The point of this film is to bring attention to the horrors children face in war, and to help fight to protect them," she added.
Rithy Panh, a producer on the film, also told ET in a statement that recent reports "grossly mischaracterize" how child actors were selected for the film.
"The purpose of the audition was to improvise with the children and explore how a child feels when caught doing something he or she is not supposed to be doing," the statement read, in part. "We wanted to see how they would improvise when their character is found 'stealing' and how they would justify their action. The children were not tricked or entrapped, as some have suggested. They understood very well that this was acting, and make believe. What made Srey Moch, who was chosen for the lead role of Loung Ung, so special was that she said that she would want the money not for herself, but for her grandfather."
Watch the video below for more on Jolie's Vanity Fair interview, in which she discussed being a single mom after her split from Brad Pitt last September.