Bella Thorne speaks out about accusations she "flirted" with a director at age10

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Bella shares inappropriate comment made in castingAxelle/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images

The 25-year-old actor Bella Thorne, who is perhaps best known for her work as a child actor and her role in the Disney Channel series Shake It Up alongside Zendaya, has bravely opened up about a disturbing experience with a director at a casting session when she was 10.

Speaking with the model Emily Ratajowski on her High Low podcast, Thorne recalled an instance where she lost out on a role after a male director claimed she was "flirting" with him.

"I had a director give me feedback once and I was 10," Thorne explained. "The casting director calls my agent and the agent calls my mom, and they're like, 'So, she's not moving forward because the director felt like she was flirting with him and it made him really uncomfortable.'"

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Thorne then pointed out how, with hindsight, she is shocked at the director saying such a thing due to her very young age at the time. "What the fuck are you talking about, man? I don't give a fuck what I said," she said, before adding; "Why ever would you think that? Why?"

She also pointed out how she had little control over the situation and gestured towards the power dynamic at play - which skewed firmly in the director's favour. “You’re in a director session —you can’t really say or do much. You do the scene, you say hello, you walk out. There’s no time to like ‘let me go sit on your lap’ or like make you feel uncomfortable. What the fuck are you talking about?”

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Further elaborating on the experience, she opened up about the shame she felt afterwards and the ways she second-guessed her behaviour as a result of the feedback.

"I'm trying to find almost fault in myself," she added. "Like, 'What did you do, Bella? What did you do that made him feel like this?' And every time I'm like, 'Bella, stop it.' Even that thought right there is becoming part of the problem. Don't even think that thought. It does drive me crazy."

Responding to the incident that Thorne shared, Ratajkowski reflected on the disturbing nature of the anecdote and the harmful nature of the way that Thorne as a young child was made to feel at fault.

“Just putting that on a 10-year-old child and making it like they made an adult man uncomfortable is insane… and then that was relayed to a casting director who was happy to relay that to your mom,” Ratajkowski remarks. “If you need a more fucked up story about Hollywood and [...] the sexualization of children, I don’t know if there is one."

You can listen to the full episode on Ratajowski's podcast, High Low.

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