Thandie Newton has opened up about being sexually abused as a teen early on in her acting career.
Newton revisited the traumatic experience, which occurred during a callback audition with an unnamed male director, in a new interview with W magazine
“A director, on a callback, had a camera shooting up my skirt and asked me to touch my tits and think about the guy making love to me in the scene,” Newton 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 realized years later, after being approached by a drunk producer at the Cannes Film Festival, that the director had been sharing the video with his pals.
“‘Oh, Thandie, I’ve seen you recently!’ And he lurched away looking really shocked that he’d said that,” she recalled the producer saying. “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.”
Newton first revealed the incident in an interview with CNN in 2013 in which she discussed being “objectified to an extreme” and “exploited” thorough the roles she was asked to take and what she was expected to do in auditions.
The 43-year-old said she’s speaking out again now to prevent others, including her two daughters, from experiencing similar trauma.
“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.”
Newton is one of many actresses who have shared similar Hollywood horror stories about abuse at the hands of powerful directors and executives. Ashley Judd recounted a troubling incident to Variety in late 2015 about being sexually harassed by a mogul while filming “Kiss the Girls” in the late ‘90s. The man from a rival movie studio summoned her to his hotel room to watch him take a shower.