Reese Witherspoon is the latest celebrity to come forward to talk about how she was sexually assaulted by a Hollywood director.
The actress spoke out at the ELLE Women in Hollywood event yesterday and opened up about being sexually assaulted aged just 16.
Reese, who said she’d ‘struggled to sleep’ this week, said the attack was the first – but not the last – she has suffered, reports ELLE.
— Carly Mallenbaum (@ThatGirlCarly) October 17, 2017
She also struck out at the agents and producers around her at the time ‘who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment.’
Witherspoon is the latest in a long line of stars and members of the public to share their stories in a bid to end years of silence in the industry around the issue.
Speaking to the audience, she said:
I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly. And I have found it hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate.
A lot of the feelings I’ve been having about anxiety, about being honest.
The guilt for not speaking out earlier or taking action.
True disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old.
Reese vowed to help create a ‘community of people who are champions now of a new attitude towards harassment’ in the industry.
Hearing all of the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak out tonight about things we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not talk about, it’s made me want to speak up, and speak up loudly, because I felt less alone this week than I’ve ever felt in my entire career.
I feel really, truly encouraged that there’s gonna be a new normal.
In 1992, aged 16, Reese earned her third named movie credit when she appeared in Desperate Choices: To Save My Child – the following year she starred in A Far Off Place, Jack The Bear, and Return To Lonesome Dove.
Many stars have come forward from the fallout of numerous reports regarding decades of alleged sexual misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein was fired over allegations of sexual abuse, dating back throughout his career, which could land him five to 25 years in prison on sexual assault charges if tried in criminal court.
Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence slammed Weinstein’s behaviour as ‘inexcusable’.
In her own speech at the Women in Hollywood event, she revealed she was once forced by a female director to strip off and stand naked in a line-up of five other women, who were ‘much, much skinnier’ than her, ELLE reports.
A female producer had me do a nude line-up with about five women who were much, much, thinner than me.
We are stood side-by-side with only tape covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating line-up, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.
Lawrence took this grievance to another producer to tell them this behaviour was unacceptable, the (this time male) producer said she was ‘perfectly f*ckable’ and ‘didn’t understand why everyone thought she was so fat.’
Well done to everybody for speaking out.