ThandieHollywood seems perfect with its sultry invites of glitz and glamour. However, it harbors many dark secrets, among them one that Thandie Newton, along with the help of the OneBillionRising campaign, hopes to put an end to: female exploitation and abuse.

The actress told CNN’s Max Foster in a recent interview that as a young woman she experienced several challenges within what she believes is a sexist industry.

An incident that Newton still remembers is when she was asked to strip naked in front of a camera and spread open her legs while another woman watched during a screen test.

“There were two other people in the room: The director, who I’d seen previously, and the casting director, who was a woman. The director asked me to sit with my legs apart, the camera was positioned where it could see up my skirt, [he then asked me] to put my leg over the arm of the chair, and before I started my dialogue to think about the character that I was supposed to be having this dialogue with, and think about how it felt to be made love to by this person. I was thinking this is so strange.”

At the time of the incident, Newton was only 18, but realized that they had crossed boundaries.

“Three years later we were at the Cannes Film Festival and my husband and I bumped into this rather drunk British producer who mentioned the director that I had this audition with….It turned out the director…who I had auditioned for, used to show that video late at night to interested parties at his house, a video of me touching myself with a camera up my skirt,” she said in the interview.

Newton believes that she is not alone when it comes to sexual exploitation in Hollywood; it’s a dangerous place that tracks itself from how casting directors make actresses feel to the very roles that they get cased in. Furthermore, abuse and female exploitation is one that occurs silently, Newton says, because people are unwilling to speak up against the misbehavior. By raising awareness, the actress hopes to make people think twice about denigrating women, especially within the entertainment industry, which has such a large influence on society.

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  • Good for her! We all know what happens behind the scenes in hollywood and we just overlook it, I’m glad someone is speaking up about it. I just hope they don’t try and mess with her career because of it.

  • D

    Puh-leeze. If some guy on the street asked her to do that, or if she was in school and one of her film professors asked her to do it as part of her studies, she would have back-handed both of them. She willingly did it because she wanted the job. She weighed it in her mind: say no and immediately get the boot, say yes and stay in the running for the part. She made her choice, don’t play victim now. Why do I say this? Because she willingly did it, hoping it would give her a leg up on any other actresses who said no to that perv.

    I understand there is real exploitation going on in Hollywood and she was 18 fresh off the bus and was probably easily manipulated. But his being a creep doesn’t negate her personal responsibility.

  • Mademoiselle

    You have a very idealistic perception of the kind of courage 18-year olds embody. Some people make it well into their adult life before they muster up the courage to tell someone they view as a superior/authority that they won’t go along with their requests. I work with grown middle-aged men who visibly fear telling their managers no. The reason whistleblowers get so much shine is because adults struggle with the concept of speaking up for what’s right every single day, and these are typically decisions between maintaining your own career integrity and going along with someone else’s hair-brained/deceptive idea. Furthermore, your assumption that she’d be more courageous if this were a professor or a stranger is baseless. There’s a reason creeps go after younger people. It’s because so many of them feel and act like they don’t have land legs yet, so it’s easy to wield pseudo control over them. Make sure you drill that into your daughters’ heads (if you have or plan to have any) before it’s too late.

  • Mademoiselle

    On another note, why do I have to click to a second page just to read 8 comments? Couldn’t all 8 fit on one?