The tales of sexual assault and harassment among Hollywood’s A-list continue to spread like a prairie fire. Monday night, two more top actresses came forward with their stories at an Elle magazine Women in Hollywood event in Beverly Hills. Actress Reese Witherspoon told the audience that she had been harassed and assaulted multiple times during her career starting when she was just 16-years-old.
“I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly and I find it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate,” Witherspoon told the audience. She continued, “A lot of the feelings that I’ve been having about anxiety, about being honest. The guilt for not speaking up earlier or taking action.
“True disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16-years-old and anger that I felt at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment.”
Entertainment Weekly reports Witherspoon went on to say this was not her only experience like this during her long career:
“And I wish that I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn’t. I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don’t speak about them very often.”
“But after hearing all the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak up tonight about things that we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not to talk about, it’s made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because I actually felt less alone this week than I have ever felt in my entire career.”
The obvious question here is ‘Who was the director?’ but it seems Witherspoon didn’t say. If you look at her IMDB page, there are only a few options, even allowing for her memory being off by a year or so, this was the beginning of her career. If we’ve learned anything over the past couple weeks it’s that a guy who did something like this once probably did it more than once. I expect we’ll be hearing more about this director, whoever he is, fairly soon.
During the same event last night, actress Jennifer Lawrence described one of her first experiences in the movie business. “When I was much younger and starting out I was told by the producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks,” she said, adding, “Super easy.”
“One girl before me had already been fired for not losing enough weight fast enough and during this time a female producer had me do a nude lineup with about five women who were much, much thinner than me. We all stood side by side with only paste-ons covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating lineup, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”
Here’s video of the two actresses telling their stories.