Actresses who auditioned for Trafficked starring Ashley Judd allege that they went through a violent audition process that left them physically bruised and mentally scarred. A new report by The Hollywood Reporter goes over the allegations of 4 actresses who have similar stories of trying out for the movie where they would be portraying sex slaves. The report also reveals that the director, Will Wallace, was removed from the project during post-production over a disagreement involving the depiction of rape.
Actress Sanchita Malik, who was then 20-years old, said her 2015 audition saw her hair pulled, her neck and body licked, and that she was shoved against a wall by a fellow actor. Malik also says that the actor "simulated rape" by pretending to force himself on her, grunting violently while the actress laid there crying. She claims that she suffered from chronic panic attacks long after the audition, which she claims required therapy. The actress also contacted SAG-AFTRA the day after her audition and filed a complaint with the actors' union, detailing her violent audition. Sanchita Malik went public with her story after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke back in early October, which was partly sparked by Ashley Judd's own personal experience with the disgraced media mogul.
In her public statement, Sanchita Malik says that she was shocked and mortified to come into the audition and learn that men were going to be playing sex slave owners and brothel clients, who were all coached on replicating sexual assault. Apparently, just about anything was fair game during the process and Malik claims that she and other actresses had their breasts groped, faces licked, and other pretty graphic acts that left the actresses bruised afterwards. 4 other actresses spoke to The Hollywood Reporter anonymously as a few were actually cast in the movie.
All 4 women agreed with Sanchita Malik's contention that they felt blindsided by the exercise's violence. One woman said, "It's to-date probably the craziest audition experience I've gone through, it was unnecessary and overkill." All of them also agreed with Malik's assertion that the session was at times unnecessarily physical, reporting dragging, grabbing, and pinching. In addition, all of the women agreed that this was a totally unnecessary process and that they could have had a traditional auditioning experience to figure out if they were right for the part instead of having to go through such a brutal process.
Trafficking producers, Conroy Kanter and Siddharth Kara, describe Sanchita Malik's allegations as "deeply distressing," but said her recounting of the day's events involved a lot of "embellishment." Alpa Banker, another actress who was part of the auditioning session and eventually selected for the role of Amba in the movie, also spoke out, but in defense of the casting process. She said although she was also bruised, and admitted the exercise was tough, Banker added, "I wanted to get out of there; the next male I saw I wanted to drop-kick," but ultimately felt that it was appropriate in light of the gritty nature of the movie. She went on to say, "We were suburban first-world girls pretending to be trafficked, how else to understand?" She then compared the auditioning process to a dance as well as combat preparedness. The entertainment business in an interesting place after all of the sexual assault allegations have come to light, which makes this story stand out, 2 years after the initial audition process. You can read more about the allegations via The Hollywood Reporter.