Thandie Newton reveals she was sexually harassed by director

Thandie NewtonIn a revealing new interview with W Magazine, Thandie Newton made the shocking revelation that she was once sexually abused by a director early on in her career.

The actress, who’s best known for her roles in the critically-acclaimed dramas Crash and For Colored Girls, recounted the traumatic audition that unknowingly led to her taking more projects dealing with tough issues like racism and violence against women.

“A director, on a callback, had a camera shooting up my skirt and asked me to touch my t–ts and think about the guy making love to me in the scene,” she said. “I thought, ‘OK, this is a little weird,’ but there was a female casting director in the room and I’d done weird stuff before so I did it.”

She then recalled a strange encounter with a drunken producer at a film festival years later.

“[He said] ‘Oh, Thandie, I’ve seen you recently!'” the star told W Magazine. “And he lurched away looking really shocked that he’d said that.”

Her husband of 18 years, Ol Parker, immediately questioned the man, and “It turns out that the director was showing that audition tape to his friends after poker games at his house. And they would all get off on it,” she revealed.

Thandie did not name the director, producer, or the movie for which she auditioned, but she did say that the episode taught her a lot about using her voice.

“I was so so naïve when I started out and I realize now that we have to prepare our kids — I’ve got two beautiful daughters, one is 16, one is 11. So many people in our business, they don’t want to be the ones to say something that’s a bum out because then they become associated with a bum out and nobody wants to read about so-and-so because they’re always blabbering on about a bum out,” she said. “But one person will read this and it will stop them getting sexually abused by a director. That’s the person I’m interested in.”

Do you think it’s important for more actors and actresses to speak about this type of abuse? Let us know in the comments! ~Shelby Morton

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Andrea • July 4, 2016 @ 12:05 PM

    Speaking up is fine, but actually naming the creep would be a lot more helpful to other actresses. Every time someone makes a statement like this, they never name the person and I know, you’d be set up for a lawsuit but this is like saying ‘a Hispanic guy abused me.’ There are a lot of Hispanic guys! Should women beware all Hispanic guys in that case? Grow some balls and name the guy.

  2. Lulu • July 4, 2016 @ 12:17 PM

    It’s easier said than done. Not saying it’s right, just put yourself in her shoes. It’s not like she’s some in-demand actress who’s got tons of movie offers rolling in. There’s definitely a fear of losing out on jobs, or becoming “that girl” who name-checked a big director.

  3. Yanis Khamsi • July 4, 2016 @ 2:23 PM

    Sounds creepy. I can’t believe the casting couch still exists.

  4. April • July 4, 2016 @ 4:14 PM

    I applaud her for speaking up as I know how much courage that takes from personal experience. However what we need more conversation about is what to do if something like this has happened, or is happening to you. So many people say silent, and never seek help. They never come forward, or report it. There are many reasons why people don’t. It would be more helpful if people spoke about how to deal with something like this happening to them. There is help out there for those who have been abused. Some just don’t know where to go to find that help.

  5. James29 • July 5, 2016 @ 10:52 AM

    It’s crucial for actors to speak up about this sort of abuse. It’s an underlying issue that seems to be deeply ingrained in the industry, and the only way to eradicate it is to open up the dialogue around it. Bravo to Thandie, now let’s just hope more people come forward.

  6. Leanne • August 14, 2016 @ 4:03 PM

    She should name the guy. There are others out there, without a doubt. They don’t stop at just one victim. To protect others from being victimized, the right thing to do would be to name him. Others could have the opportunity to know the way they felt about this person, was the truth. Name him, give them the confidence to speak up too and actually work to stop this abuser.

  7. Storm • December 22, 2016 @ 5:35 AM

    Almost every actress and child actor has. It’s a sad place, Hollywood.

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