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Matilda Actor Mara Wilson Says 50-Year-Old Men Sent Her Love Letters As A Child

by : Julia Banim on : 23 Feb 2021 16:32
Matilda Actor Says 50-Year-Old Men Sent Her Love Letters As A ChildPA Images/Sony Pictures Releasing

Mara Wilson, who as a child actor starred in ’90s classics such as Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, has opened up about some of the darker aspects of being in the limelight at such a young age.

In an op-ed for The New York Times, titled The Lies Hollywood Tells About Little Girls, Wilson reflected on the media narrative around Britney Spears, and how she could in some way relate.

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Now 32, Wilson has detailed some of the more disturbing things she had to deal with as a young actor, including having 50-year-old men sending letters claiming to be ‘in love’ with her.

Matilda Actor Says 50-Year-Old Men Sent Her Love Letters As A ChildPA

Recalling this period of her life, Wilson spoke of seeing teen actors being sexualised ‘on the covers of lad mags or in provocative music videos’ and deciding that was never going to be for her.

Wilson wrote: ‘I had already been sexualized anyway, and I hated it. I mostly acted in family movies — the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire. I never appeared in anything more revealing than a knee-length sundress. This was all intentional: My parents thought I would be safer that way. But it didn’t work.’

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She continued:

People had been asking me, ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ in interviews since I was 6. Reporters asked me who I thought the sexiest actor was and about Hugh Grant’s arrest for soliciting a prostitute.

It was cute when 10-year-olds sent me letters saying they were in love with me. It was not when 50-year-old men did. Before I even turned 12, there were images of me on foot fetish websites and photoshopped into child pornography. Every time, I felt ashamed.

Hollywood has resolved to tackle harassment in the industry, but I was never sexually harassed on a film set. My sexual harassment always came at the hands of the media and the public.

Matilda Actor Says 50-Year-Old Men Sent Her Love Letters As A ChildSony Pictures Entertainment

Wilson has previously written about her complicated relationship with Hollywood in her 2016 book Where Am I Now?, where she detailed her decision to quit acting in 2000 to follow other pursuits.

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Although Wilson has made appearances in TV shows in recent years, including Broad City and BoJack Horseman, Wilson has now made a name for herself as a writer, with her work having previously appeared in publications such as McSweeney’s, Reductress, Cracked and The Toast.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Film and TV, Now

Credits

The New York Times
  1. The New York Times

    The Lies Hollywood Tells About Little Girls