Jane Seymour revealed on Tuesday that she was sexually harassed early in her career by “the most powerful man in Hollywood at that time.” As a result of the incident, Seymour quit acting for a year — and almost left the industry altogether.
During an interview with the Australian morning show “Sunrise,” the “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” star said an unsettling experience with a power producer left her feeling threatened and unsure of her future in Hollywood before her career even launched. “I’ve often wondered whether I should tell this story, but I do feel it is very important,” Seymour said.
She said she went to Hollywood to screen test for a movie around the beginning of her career. “Then another major producer asked if he could meet me,” she said. “He had another movie that he wanted me to star in. It was very exciting. He asked if I would come to his house to do a screening.” Her agent and the other producer (from the first screen test) were also thrilled about the opportunity.
“I went to the house expecting to see lots of other people there. There was no one there,” Seymour recalled. “He showed me the screen test I’d done, then he sat down next to me and said, ‘I’ve told everyone that you’re perfect for my movie. I can’t wait. You’re just perfect, but I’ve told everyone, and I’ve done my bit. Now it’s your turn to do your bit.’ I looked at him innocently and said, ‘Yes, I’m going to do a great screen test for you in a day and a half.’ And he said, ‘No, no. You know what you have to do.’ And I went, ‘No, I don’t.'”
She continued, “He put his hand on my thigh, way up high. Being very British, I crossed my legs and started scooting down the couch until I ended up with no couch left, and I had no option but to stand up and say, ‘Please help me get home.'”
Seymour said she had gotten to the producer’s house by cab, so she had to call another taxi as she waited in the foyer with “a man who had made it quite clear that he was expecting” sexual favors. The actress claimed that he demanded she not tell anyone about the incident, or that she was even at his house. After telling him that her agent and other people already knew she would be at his home that day, she recalled him insisting that she lie or risk never working again anywhere on the planet. “He had that power,” she said. “The fact that it stopped me from being an actress for a whole year — and I could have quit the profession completely — shows you how devastating it was to me.”