Jessica Chastain has said she was “warned from the beginning” about Harvey Weinstein’s reputation, so she was able to avoid that type of interaction with him. She wasn’t so lucky with another producer in the biz.
An honoree at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards, the Zero Dark Thirty and The Help actress used her time at the podium to speak out about sexual misconduct she has endured during her career, similar to the way her colleagues Jennifer Lawrence and Reese Witherspoon did last night. In addition to dealing with a lot of nonsense among some of her male co-stars, the two-time Oscar nominee said she was sexually harassed by a producer.
“I didn’t want to say something that could be taken the wrong way or offend some person, so for too long, didn’t say anything,” Chastain began. “I was on set with actors who showed up to work intoxicated — and I quietly worked alongside them. I had a second AD [assistant director] beg me for help coaxing an actor into putting his video games down so we could shoot.”
The most brow-raising confession was the one she saved for last. She told the crowd, “I had a producer spank me as I walked past him in the hallway.” And she said she was scared to speak up about these things “because I was worried that I might be made unhirable.”
Chastain said that the turning point for her — both personally and professionally — was when she started to take a stand. She saw her fears subside and her career continue to grow.
“I stopped making myself invisible or small, and to my shock and my happiness, my career has not stalled,” she said to the applause of the room. She ended by calling the sexual abuse “inexcusable” and proclaimed that it needs to stop now.
Chastain spoke out early following the first wave of accusations against Weinstein by the New York Times on Oct. 5. On Twitter, she wrote that she had been “warned from the beginning” about the Weinstein Company honcho. “The stories were everywhere.“
When one follower noted that she appeared in a Weinstein Company-distributed film, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, she replied that was only because the director, Ned Benson, wanted him to do it — and she noted that she “spoke against it.”
In recent days, Chastain showed her support for her Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby co-star (and bff) Jess Weixler, who went public on Instagram to say that she endured “several years of Harvey propositioning me.” Weixler says she was “very grateful I was warned” and noted that she had “multiple women protecting me with stories.”
Chastain regrammed Weixler’s post, writing, “Much love to you sister. Thank you for sharing your story with the world.” She ended by calling her friend “a warrior.” Takes one to know one.
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