This time, three of the stars of Fantastic Four were fielding uncomfortable questions, courtesy of shock jock Steven J. Rickman. The radio host, known as Southside Steve on the Rock 100.5 Morning Show in Atlanta, began by asking Michael B. Jordan and Kate Mara what he thought was an "obvious" question, as he plays Johnny Storm/Human Torch and she plays Susan Storm/Invisible Woman.
"Am I missing something?" Rickman asked.
"You're white and you're black," he said. "How does that happen?"
"They could be raised as brother and sister," Jordan said of the Storm siblings, who are white in Marvel's comic books. "There's a whole bunch of family dynamics that could be without the 'obvious adoption.'"
The conversation took another sharp turn when Rickman became seemingly obsessed with Mara's appearance—particularly in relation to her hair. "You're way, way hot," he told her. "Why'd you cut the hair? Your hair was beautiful."
"I'm sorry," Mara said. "I know you don't like it. I can tell."
"This is a great interview," she said sarcastically before exchanging glances with Jamie Bell and Jordan. Rickman told her, "You look great with short hair or long hair, but the long hair was excellent. So, did you cut your hair for this?"
"I cut my hair for a movie I just did," Mara replied.
"What would you cut your hair for?" Rickman asked.
"They asked me to," Mara explained. "I'm an actress. I have to be a chameleon."
"So, this could be a three- or four-movie run for you guys," he said.
"We hope so," Mara told him.
"And you're going to grow your hair back, hopefully?" Rickman asked.
A publicist stepped in to wrap up the interview at that point.
Co-host Jason Bailey sympathized with Mara after Rickman's line of questioning. "Is that weirding you out that he's doing that?" he asked. "It's creeping me out."
"Which part?" Mara asked.
"The hair thing," Bailey said.
"I mean..." Mara said.
Before she could finish her sentence, Rickman became even creepier.
"I'm a toe guy," Rickman said. "Your toes are fine."
"Wow," Mara said.
After the interview, Rickman tweeted that the interview was the "3rd most awkward moment in my life." In another tweet, he wrote, "They weren't sexist remarks really.. I love long hair and her's for sure.. She looked fine w/short too..just being me." Amid backlash, he tweeted, "Doing morning radio for 25 years in major market..playing to my audience giving some love and your topless.. & i'm the perv."
Bailey defended Rickman via e-mail, telling BuzzFeed that he's "not a huge fan of these controlled 5-7 minute interview junkets," but he "was curious about the brother and sister thing. You have a white sister and black brother. Wouldn't you want to know how that happened? I did. The other Fantastic Four franchises explain the relationship so I figured with this new hipster version they'd have some different backstory." Rickman asked Mara about her hair when Jordan took a phone call, "so I think they were kind of just going back forth in a playful way. As for him complimenting her toes and why people are upset about that...sorry...no idea. Steve likes girl's toes. People should be appreciative when they get complimented. Those that are upset on Twitter I guess don't get enough of them. Who knows?"
Speaking on-air Monday, Bailey said, "It's blown way out of proportion." Regarding Rickman's comments about Mara's toes, he said, "If I had a nickel every time Steve said that to a man or a woman… I would be very, very wealthy. It's just a Steve thing." Rickman also clarified, "I don't do anything weird with feet."
Rickman didn't understand why people were bothered by questions related to Mara's current hairstyle. "I guess it was the time frame or her mood that it came across as sexist," Rickman said in a text message (via AJC.com). "I was just shocked to see that she cut 22 inches off her head, but she looked fine with short hair too."