Charlize Theron is describing her own experience with sexual harassment from a famous director — and how she’s previously named him before.
The Bombshell actress, 44, recounted experiencing sexual harassment when she was a young actress in a recent wide-ranging interview with NPR. Over the course of the talk, she revealed that she’s disclosed the identity of the director who had allegedly harassed her before — but it had never been printed.
“I actually did disclose his name,” she said. “You don’t know that because every time I disclosed his name, the journalist made the decision to not write his name, and it goes to show just how deeply systemic this problem is.”
Theron continued, “I remember the first time somebody asked me if I ever had a casting couch experience, and I openly shared the experience and named him, and the person decided to not write his name. So the story is out, and strangely, when the Harvey Weinstein story broke, I, for the first time ever, Googled the story and the story came up everywhere.”
“It popped up everywhere, and nowhere could you find this guy’s name,” she added. “And it was incredibly upsetting to me.”
As for whether Theron will reveal his name again, in light of the #MeToo movement, the Oscar winner said she’s “conflicted in the sense that I know that, if I said his name again while I’m promoting this film, that it would take over the importance of this story and that would become the story.”
“I think there will be a time and a place where I will definitely share this,” she said. “I’ve always been honest about it. I don’t have a desire to protect him, but I also don’t want him to overshadow this film right now. So there will be a right time where I will talk about this again, and I will say his name, yes.”
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In April, Theron recounted escaping an uncomfortable audition with a producer after he invited her to his home and welcomed her wearing his pajamas.
“I should’ve [turned around and left]. I didn’t. But he had a very healthy ego, he felt very good about himself,” Theron said while on The Howard Stern Show. “Then we sat down and started talking. He sat very close to me, that was strange. The drinking bothered me, I was like, ‘This doesn’t feel right.’”
The Long Shot star said she repeatedly tried to read him script pages during their meeting but had her attempts brushed off, as the producer said he just wanted to “talk.”
“And then at one point he put his hand on my knee and that’s when I just went, ‘Oof,’ ” she recalled. “And it’s crazy, and girls talk about this, where you just go blank. Like, you don’t know what to do.”
Despite feeling frozen, Theron said she immediately got up and left the producer’s house.
“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 f- himself,’ ” she said. “Like, it made me so angry.”
Theron said the incident came full circle eight years later, when the same man offered her a job, allowing the star to see him face-to-face again for the first time since their initial meeting.
“I went purely just to have my moment where he said, ‘Nice to meet you,’ and I said, ‘No, we’ve met before.’ And he had no recollection of it,” she said. “I went down the list. I said, ‘It was 9 p.m. on a Saturday at your house, you were wearing pajamas.’ I went down the list. I had my moment. He said, ‘Wow, I do not remember that.’ ”
The actress did not reveal the producer’s identity, but did say he “was a very big deal and is still a big deal,” prompting cries of “Oooh” from Stern and her Long Shot costar Seth Rogen, who also participated in the interview.
Theron now stars in Bombshell, which centers on Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson and the other women at Fox News who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against then-CEO Roger Ailes.
The film also stars Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and John Lithgow as Ailes.
Bombshell is in theaters nationwide this Friday.