Harvey Weinstein isn’t the only one… Thandie Newton and Charlize Theron’s horrifying casting couch stories show Hollywood is STILL rife with sexual harassment

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THE salacious revelations about powerful film producer Harvey Weinstein this week have rocked Hollywood and gripped headlines all over the world.

The disgraced movie mogul has been accused of raping three women and sexually harassing or assaulting more than a dozen more.

 Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is at the centre of sexual harassment and assault claims by a string of womenAP:Associated Press Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is at the centre of sexual harassment and assault claims by a string of women

But the casting couch culture has long been a blot on Tinseltown’s glamorous image, and it appears these bombshell revelations about “Uncle Harvey” are just the tip of the iceberg.

Some of the industry’s leading ladies have already shared their horrifying stories of sexual harassment, intimidation and, in some cases, sexual assault by powerful figures in the industry.

A-list actress Thandie Newton first made a shocking revelation to CNN in February 2013, revealing a director at an audition once asked her to sit with her legs apart, with the camera positioned where it could see up her skirt.

She recalled: “He asked me to put my leg over the arm of the chair, and before I started my dialogue, think about the character I was supposed to be having the dialogue with and how it felt to be made love to by this person.”

 Thandie Newton spoke of a horrific casting couch experience in 2013Rex Features Thandie Newton spoke of a horrific casting couch experience in 2013  Charlize Theron once turned up for an audition at a director's house and found him in 'Hugh Hefner' pyjamasRex Features Charlize Theron once turned up for an audition at a director’s house and found him in ‘Hugh Hefner’ pyjamas

Newton alleged that he also told her to touch herself, before focusing the camera between her legs. In a sickening twist, she said he later showed off the footage at parties.

In 2005, Charlize Theron told Marie Claire that she once turned up to an audition when she was 18 at a director’s house, where she found him “in his Hugh Hefner pyjamas”.

She recalled: “I go inside and he’s offering me a drink, and I’m thinking, ‘My god, this acting stuff is very relaxed.’

“But it soon becomes very clear what the situation was.”

 Megan Fox claims she's had more casting couch encounters since becoming famousGetty – Contributor Megan Fox claims she’s had more casting couch encounters since becoming famous  Jane Fonda admitted she was fired for once refusing to sleep with her bossGetty – Contributor Jane Fonda admitted she was fired for once refusing to sleep with her boss

In 2009, actress Megan Fox revealed she too has been a victim of the vile culture, despite having already established her name in Hollywood.

She told British GQ: “Any casting-couch s*** I’ve experienced has been since I’ve become famous.

“It’s really so heartbreaking. Some of these people! Like Hollywood legends.

“You think you’re going to meet them and you’re so excited, like, ‘I can’t believe this person wants to have conversation with me,’ and you get there and you realise that’s not what they want, at all.

“It’s happened a lot this year actually.”

A-list stars like Helen Mirren, Susan Sarandon, Alison Brie and Emmy Rossum have also spoken out about the creepy come-ons from powerful men that they experienced early in their careers.

Jane Fonda revealed in March that she was once fired “because I wouldn’t sleep with my boss”, while Zoe Kazan recalled one producer describing his inappropriate behaviour towards her as “a joke”.

 Gwyneth Paltrow, pictured with Weinstein at the Shakespeare in Love film premiere in 1998, is one of the A-list stars who have claimed ­he targeted themRex Features Gwyneth Paltrow, pictured with Weinstein at the Shakespeare in Love film premiere in 1998, is one of the A-list stars who have claimed ­he targeted them

It’s plausible that many stories like this will never come to light, with actors terrified it might jeopardise their chances of landing future roles.

It’s a harrowing thought that some vulnerable auditionees will inevitably have gone along with a director’s perverted requests, fearing they’d miss out on the part if they didn’t.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Angeline Jolie are among the A-list stars who claim Oscar-winning Weinstein, 65, tried it on with them in the early days of their careers.

Yesterday a tape surfaced in which he was heard admitting groping the breast of an actress, believed to be former Miss Italy finalist Ambra Battilana, before casually bragging: “I’m used to that.”

It then emerged his British wife Georgina Chapman had dumped him, days after he was fired from the company he founded over the spiralling accusations.

 Last night it emerged Weinstein's British wife Georgina Chapman has dumped him amid the explosive allegationsGetty – Contributor Last night it emerged Weinstein’s British wife Georgina Chapman has dumped him amid the explosive allegations  In a tape which surfaced yesterday, a man believed to be Weinstein is heard admitting groping the breast of an actress, believed to be former Miss Italy finalist Ambra BattilanaAFP In a tape which surfaced yesterday, a man believed to be Weinstein is heard admitting groping the breast of an actress, believed to be former Miss Italy finalist Ambra Battilana

According to anti sex abuse campaigner Professor Caroline Heldman, the kind of behaviour Weinstein is accused of is widespread in Hollywood – and the floodgates are now open.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Heldman said: “I think that something is shifting in Hollywood, with enough women coming forward and saying enough is enough.”
It’s certainly true that Weinstein isn’t the only culprit.
Marilyn Monroe once described Hollywood as “an overcrowded brothel, a merry-go-round with beds for horses”.

Weinstein: What we know so far

  • On October 5th, The New York Times publishes an article about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct revealing settlements with at least eight women.
  • The movie mogul then issues a statement admitting he has “caused a lot of pain” apologising for his actions.
  • He’s fired by the board of the Hollywood business he launched – The Weinstein Company – with “immediate effect.”
  • His growing list of accusers include Angelina Jolie, Asia Argento , Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd.
  • The New Yorker claims three women  have accused him of rape, allegations he “unequivocally denies”.
  • British wife Georgina Chapman announces she is leaving him saying: “My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain.”
  • Weinstein reportedly heads for treatment for sex addiction and behavioural issues at a European clinic.
  • The Oscar winner’s film credits include Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting and Django Unchained, Gangs of New York and Shakespeare in Love.

American actress Meissa Hampton, founder of the open forum S#!t People Say To Actresses on Tumblr, pointed out that the culture of the industry is very male-dominated.

Speaking in relation to actresses who have been sexually exploited at auditions, she observed: “You can go to the (Casting Directors’ Guild and the Personal Managers’ Association) union and say, ‘I’ve experienced this’, but they say, ‘Well, you should get a lawyer.’

“Even if you could afford a lawyer – and a lot of this is happening to actors who are still making their way – your career would be over. So it’s a no-win situation.”

 Meissa Hampton pointed out the difficulties of reporting sexual harassment in the male-dominated industry Meissa Hampton pointed out the difficulties of reporting sexual harassment in the male-dominated industry

Her personal casting couch experiences, and those she claims have been regularly described to her, range from sexual propositions – with the promise of career advancement – to the “body check”, which involves actors stripping down to their underwear to be inspected by the director and whoever else may be in the room.

It is, without doubt, encouraging that established stars are finally beginning to name and shame those who have exploited their positions of power.

As British talent agent and commentator Jonathan Shalit observed, let’s hope this gives victims of sexual harassment, both within the industry and further afield, the confidence to speak out.

Thandie Newton says she was ‘objectified to the extreme’ as a young actress

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