A lot of A list talent has come forward over the past two weeks to divulge details behind their own sexual harassment experiences in Hollywood following allegations against defamed producer Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of rape, molestation and other charges. The latest to speak out against this behavior, and share her own stories of abuse is beloved actress Reese Witherspoon, who started acting at a very young age. She found herself the victim of unwanted attention by an unnamed director at the age of 16. And she is only now opening up about those experiences.
Reese Witherspoon admits that she's had a hard time sleeping these past few days, as more and more women come out not only against Harvey Weinstein, but other well-known and wealthy individuals in the entertainment industry. She has been forced to remember what she calls 'the ugly truths' of her own past experiences.
Witherspoon decided to share these personal experiences while speaking at the Elle Woman in Hollywood event this past Monday night. The event was sponsored by Calvin Klein and L'Oreal. The actress, who last appeared in the romantic comedy Home Again, spoke from a pdoium, which you can see in the embedded video below. She says that the Harvey Weinstein accusations have made her think long and hard about her own history in Hollywood.
"I've had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don't speak about them very often. I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly. And I have found it hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate (these last few days). A lot of the feelings I've been having about anxiety, about being honest. The director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old wasn't an isolated incident in my career. The anger that I felt at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition at my employment. Hearing all of the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak out tonight about things we're kind of told to sweep under the rug and not talk about, it's made me want to speak up, and speak up loudly, because I felt less alone this week than I've ever felt in my entire career."
Reese Witherspoon is not only an actress, but she has become quite an accomplished producer over the last couple of years. In her speech, she vowed to help create a, "community of people who are champions now of a new attitude towards harassment in our industry."
Reese Witherspoon has faith that a new tide is turning in Hollywood. And that things will definitely change. She ended her speech by saying, "I feel really, truly encouraged that there's gonna be a new normal." Reese's comments come from USA Today, who provided commentary from the Elle event. You can watch Reese in the video here.