Witherspoon in “Big Little Lies
is opening up about her own history of abuse in Hollywood. “[I feel] true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment,” the Oscar winner said during her speech at Elle’s Women in Hollywood event yesterday, per The Hollywood Reporter. “And I wish I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn’t. I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don’t speak about them very often,” she revealed.
Clearly impacted by the many allegations about Harvey Weinstein
and her Hollywood peers’ decision to come forward with their own stories, the “Big Little Lies
” producer and star decided to go public with hers. “This has been a really hard week for women in Hollywood, for women all over the world and a lot of situations and a lot of industries that are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths,” she observed. “I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly and I find it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate a lot of the feelings that I’ve been having about anxiety, about being honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier, for not taking action.”
Witherspoon continued, “After hearing all the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak up tonight about things that we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not to talk about, it’s made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because actually I felt less alone this week than I have felt in my entire career. I have just spoken to so many actresses and writers, particularly women, who have had similar experiences and many of them have bravely gone public with their stories. That truth is very encouraging to me and to everyone out there in the world because you can only heal by telling the truth.”
As painful as it was to revisit these experiences, Witherspoon seemed hopeful that doing so publicly would help bring much-needed attention to an issue that’s all too common. “I feel really, really encouraged that there will be a new normal,” she said. “For the young women in this room, life is going to be different because we have your back and it makes me feel better because, gosh, it’s about time. … I’m so sad that I have to talk about these issues, but I would be remiss not to.”
Witherspoon made her big screen debut with 1991’s “A Man on the Moon
.” She won an Academy Award in 2006 for playing June Carter
in “Walk the Line
.” Her other credits include “Wild
,” “Legally Blonde
,” and “Election
.” She can currently be seen in Hallie Meyers-Shyer
’s “Home Again
,” a romantic comedy about a recently separated woman who unexpectedly gets roommates.
Quote of the Day: Reese Witherspoon
on Reliving Ugly Truths in the Wake of Weinstein Allegations was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.