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Over the past few years, the world of filmmaking has seen a seismic shift. The Harvey Weinstein scandal and #MeToo movement put a spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace, and how female members of the community have been suffering in silence. Plenty of major actresses have used their voice in the years since the dam broke, and now it looks like Oscar winner Charlize Theron had her own harrowing experience.
Charlize Theron is currently promoting her upcoming comedy Long Shot, including an appearance on the famous Howard Stern Show. Stern eventually brought up the subject of the #MeToo movement and the behavior of Hollywood execs, when Theron revealed she experienced harassment early in her career. She said:
I had just turned 19, I might have still been 18. I had never been out for an audition. I asked this modeling agent if she’d heard of anything … She said, ‘Yep. Go to this guy’s house. It’s on Saturday at 9 p.m.'
While Charlize Theron is a well-known working actress with an impressive career, there was a time when she was still trying to break into the industry. And when asking around for a possible audition, she ended up being convinced to meet a prominent Hollywood producer in his home. And when he answered the door, Theron was surprised to see the unnamed exec was in his pajamas.
In her conversation with Howard Stern and Long Shot co-star Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron went on to speak about her harrowing experience, and the red flags she noticed throughout her first "audition." She went on,
He had a very healthy ego, he felt very good about himself. There was some kind of muzak playing in the house. He sat very close to me. That was strange. The drinking bothered me. I was like, ‘This doesn’t feel right.'
Charlize Theron didn't name names when recounting her past on Howard Stern, she did reveal that he's still a powerful man in the industry. That fact makes her story even more disturbing, although you can't blame her for not revealing her harasser's identity on the air. But she went on to reveal that she got away from the situation, and that her feelings about the incident have evolved over time. Theron revealed:
And then at one point, he put his hand on my knee. You just go blank. Like you don’t know what to do, but I left. I don’t even know how I got out of the house, but I left. It would have ended really badly. I was driving my Ford Fiesta, that I was renting, up Laurel Canyon and I was so angry with myself that I didn’t say something. I was like, I’m not that kind of girl. Why did I not tell him to go fuck himself? It made me so angry.
Charlize Theron's comments echo what other survivors have said about the guilt and anger that can accompany #MeToo incidents. But while it may be difficult to share, Theron's honesty adds to the many voices addressing the issue of sexual harassment, especially as it relates to show business.
While there are many #MeToo stories from within Hollywood, it does look like the conversations and minds are changing over the past few years. One can only hope that the world will be a safer place, as sexual harassment is certainly not a problem exclusive to showbusiness.