“Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik has responded to backlash she received for a New York Times op-ed about Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment in Hollywood, which some critics claimed advocated victim shaming.
“[It] has become clear to me that there are people who think I implied or overtly stated that you can be protected from assault by the clothing that you wear or the behavior that you exhibit,” Bialik said in a Facebook Live video with the New York Times. “That is absolutely not what my intention was and I think it is safe for me to start this conversation by saying there is no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave.”
“I really do regret that this became what it became because literally, I was trying to speak about a very specific experience I had in a very specific industry,” she continued. “The only people who are responsible for their behavior in assault is the predators who are committing those horrendous acts.”
She went on to say she hopes from the pain of situations like those surrounding Weinstein will come renewed conversation about how to make the world and the workplace safe for women to be themselves.
“I do want to assert again that I’m excited and motivated to be part of a larger conversation,” she said. “If this was not the way to do it in these 900 words, I do apologize for that and I hope to be part of opening up more of this conversation.”
In the article published on Friday, Bialik spoke of her own experiences working as a young actress and how she chose to act and dress conservatively in part to stave off unwanted attention.
“I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise,” she wrote. “I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.”
She immediately followed that statement, at the center of the controversy, with, “Women should be able to wear whatever they want. They should be able to flirt however they want with whomever they want. Why are we the ones who have to police our behavior?”