Matthew Lawrence says his agency dropped him after he refused to strip for director

A diptych of Joey, Matthew, and Andy Lawrence, at left; and a head-and-shoulders frame of Matthew Lawrence at right.
Matthew Lawrence says he was dropped by his agency and lost a Marvel role after he refused to strip for a director. (Rene Macura; Jordan Strauss / Associated Press)

Matthew Lawrence says he was told he would be the next Marvel hero, if he would just strip for the director in his hotel room. He refused.

The “Mrs. Doubtfire” actor opened up about his experience on Friday’s episode of the “Brotherly Love” podcast, saying that society is less ready to embrace male victims in the era of #MeToo.

Lawrence didn’t name the director he alleges sexually harassed him, but described the person as “very prominent” in the business.

“I lost my agency because I went to the hotel room — which I can’t believe they would send me to — of a very prominent Oscar Award-winning director who showed up in his robe, asked me to take my clothes off and said he needed to take Polaroids of me,” the 43-year-old actor revealed.

“If I did X, Y and Z, I would be the next Marvel character,” he continued. “I didn't do that. And my agency fired me because I left this director’s room.”

Lawrence did not mention the name of the agency in the podcast. Neither his representative nor Marvel have responded yet to a request for comment.

The “Boy Meets World” actor said the casting couch is a real thing, “we all know it’s existed,” and recalled being on set and overhearing male producers talk about girls they hired because of their appearance or “that they went out to drinks with them.”

“I've been privy to all those conversations,” he told his brothers and co-hosts Joey and Andrew, before adding, “We've all been somewhat complacent in a way towards it. And I know I have a responsibility for that and you guys do as well.”

Lawrence referenced Terry Crews, who in October 2017 tweeted about the report detailing film executive Harvey Weinstein's abuse, revealing that the accounts of sexual harassment and assault gave him PTSD.

The “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star alleged that he was at a party in Hollywood when William Morris Endeavor’s Adam Venit groped him in front of his wife, and “grinned like a jerk” and laughed when Crews protested. Crews sued Venit two months after he spoke out about the incident, and settled the lawsuit with the agent the following September.

In June 2018, Crews testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to help create additional civil rights protections under the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights.

“Anywhere where there is a power dynamic is where this problem is really rampant," Crews said during his impassioned testimony. "I’ve seen it in sports. I’ve seen it in politics. I’ve seen it with a racial component and I’ve seen it with economic components. And Hollywood has definitely been a problem area simply because there are so many people who view this as a dream.

“What happens is, someone has power over these dreams. You get tricked into thinking that this type of behavior is expected. That it’s part of the job. That this harassment, abuse, even rape is part of your job description.”

Lawrence said that Crews was made to feel like a "piece of meat" and in his opinion, many men in the industry have similar stories that remain untold.

“A lot of these stories, a lot of other male friends have gone through this with both men and women in this industry, but there's a double standard and this is where I bring [up] Terry Crews. Terry Crews comes out and says it and people are laughing at him. People don't support him. They kick them out. Why? Because he's a man that represents masculinity. And I think our society is less ready to hear that situation going on with men than they are with women.”

Lawrence then added, “I’d say it's probably a third of what women go through, the amount of men, but men go through this as well. Whether it's another woman or another man in power.”

In February 2018, USA Today, in partnership with the Creative Coalition, Women in Film and Television and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, surveyed 843 women who work in the entertainment industry and asked about their experiences with sexual misconduct in Hollywood.

The survey found that 94% of the women who responded to the survey claimed to have experienced harassment or assault, often by an older individual in a position of power over the accuser.

And 21% of the women who responded claimed they had been forced to do something sexual at least once.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.