In a Columbia Spectator op-ed of her own, Julia said, “I have received a lot of criticism, both to my face and in print, about flippant comments I made while appearing on talk shows to promote Save the Last Dance. I was denigrated in one Columbia media outlet and nearly slandered in another, all because I made a joke about the dining hall on national television. Talk shows require a pre-interview, where the guest is grilled for funny anecdotes….In the case of my appearance, I was asked about the quality of food at school and told to exaggerate for the sake of comedy.
Granted, I was not forced to say anything, but under the circumstances I wanted to get through the interview alive. Having every comment examined under such heavy scrutiny has made me consider the repercussions of what I say. I have apologized in writing to the dining staff; they seem to understand that I wasn’t commenting on any particular person. They understand that it is a very common, if not clichéd, joke to poke fun at cafeteria food. Adam Sandler did it, and so did a writer for an on-campus publication that took issue with my comments.
I didn’t realize that so many Columbia students have made it their cause to go crusading for Dining Services. I also didn’t realize that the way to criticize thoughtless jokes was to mudsling…You may be attempting humor to get in good with your audience, but even lunch ladies and Hollywood wenches have feelings.”
Then, in 2019, she told Glamour UK, “I went on late night talk show; I think it was Conan O’Brien or David Letterman. I was in college at the time and I was talking about college life and they asked me if I ate in the cafeteria like a normal kid. I rambled on because I was insecure and I think I used the term, ‘mole people.’ But my thought was there was an Adam Sandler song at the time where there was a character on a sketch comedy show where he was playing the lunch lady and she had a hairnet and a mole.
It backfired on a very immediate level. The people I was in school with were furious with me. Someone wrote in the school newspaper, ‘she’s an elitist! How dare she insult the cafeteria workers,’ which was so not my intention and not who I am as a person. To know the people who were working hard in the school, cleaning up the garbage, feeding us meals thought I was insulting them was so devastating to me because it was absolutely not my intention. So, I wrote something in the newspaper. I issued a handwritten apology to the cafeteria workers, but I learnt a valuable lesson aside from ‘think before you speak’. That kind of thing is so exaggerated now because of social media. You do have to be careful about how what you say is perceived and the impact it will have.”