Thandie Newton Reveals That Speaking out on Abuse in the Movie Industry Lost Her Acting Roles

Maria Varela
Apr 09, 2019
01:20 P.M.
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Thandie Newton recalls getting ostracized from the industry after speaking up about her experience of sexual abuse. She claimed a director took advantage of her during an audition. 


Long before the rise of the #MeToo movement, Thandie Newton was way ahead in calling out people who took advantage of her in the business. But instead of lauding her for speaking up, the actress reveals the reaction of the industry was to shun her. 



Thandie opened up in the May issue of Marie Claire about the treatment she got from Hollywood after she spoke up about her experience of sexual abuse in the past. She was 22-years old when a director asked her to touch herself intimately during auditions. At the time, the actress obliged seeing there was a female casting director in the room. But she later learned the clip of her audition became the highlight of the director’s poker games.


"I became the person you didn’t want to hire because I would call it out.'”  

Feeling violated, Thandie called out the director but the response from the industry was far from what she expected. She would later be passed on for roles and peers avoided associating with her.

“I was very aware of the climate of sexual abuse that was going on around me, so I became the person you didn’t want to hire because I would call it out,'” she told the publication.

“In retrospect, I can see many instances where not only would I not be employed, but other actors and actresses would not necessarily want to be associated with me.”



What was even more disappointing for Thandie was her own publicist attempting to shut her up because it was damaging her reputation. And instead of feeling upset, she felt ashamed.

“When I parted ways with her, it wasn’t because I thought she was dreadful and wrong, I felt ashamed that I was missing out on a really good publicist because of my behavior.”

Thandie admits the stigma of being violated sexually can be difficult to recover from “but you can,” she says. 



Proof of that is her present career which thrives in blockbuster films and notable roles. With the help of her husband, Ol Parker, Thandie managed to regain her confidence, even if she recently felt slighted for not being included in the Time’s Up movement.

“To not be invited to be a part of it, was very, very painful,” Thandie told Australia’s Herald Sun last year. Considering she was one of the first people to speak up about abuse, “it’s lonely,” she confessed.

The actress guessed she was not included because she “wasn’t hot enough.”

"I wasn't mainstream enough, and I wasn't going to be at the Oscars this year, even though I am having a kind of renaissance in my career." 



The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements were born after the scandal involving Harvey Weinstein blew up in the latter part of 2017. An expose by The New York Times revealed dozens of women in the industry, some of them big-name actresses had come forward accusing him of sexual harassment. Among them, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Salma Hayek. Soon, other women spoke up and shared their stories of abuse adding the viral hashtag #MeToo. 

In January 2018, Hollywood stars founded the Time's Up movement to raise funds to provide legal assistance to victims of harassment. They have since raised over $20M with close to 800 volunteer lawyers.