This weekend, during a conversation about the new season of her show Divorce, Sarah Jessica Parker opened up with NPR's Terry Gross about her encounters with sexual harassment.
Parker, who's been acting since she was 11 years old, called her experiences with men behaving poorly "countless." On the subject about how the rise of #MeToo made her reflect on her own experiences with men, she said:
"It really wasn't, I would say, until about six or eight months ago that I started recognizing countless experiences of men behaving poorly, inappropriately, and all the ways that I had made it possible to keep coming to work or to remain on set, or to simply... just push it down, push it away, find a little space for it and move on... [I] really just didn't allow it to consume me. To be honest, I don't know why I either wasn't courageous or more destroyed by some of the things that I was privy to, that I was on the receiving end of."
She described one experience with an unnamed "very, very big movie star" who was being inappropriate with her, recalling that although typically she was comfortable setting boundaries, she felt powerless because of his fame and status.
"No matter how evolved or how modern I thought I was... I didn't feel entirely in a position — no matter what my role was on set — I didn't feel as powerful as the man who was behaving inappropriately... which... strikes me as just stunning to say out loud, because there were plenty of occasions where it was happening and I was in a different position and I was as powerful. I mean, I had every right to say, "This is inappropriate." I could have felt safe in going to a superior."
In order to address her co-star's behavior, she had to threaten to leave set.
"And, in fact, I will say, when there was a situation with somebody and I did go to my agent — because I felt I was no longer able to convey how uncomfortable this was making me, how inappropriate it was... within hours everything had changed... He said to them, "If this continues, I have sent her a ticket, a one-way ticket out of this city" — where I was shooting — "and she will not be returning."
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After he was disciplined, she added that the experience still wasn't "perfectly pleasant" though she no longer had to "listen to jokes about me or my figure or what people thought they could talk me into doing... That stopped."
However, although SJP was able to finish the unnamed film, she speculated about men like his' ability and will to change their toxic behavior.
"The nature of the person who I felt was really the instigator, this was a grown man, a very big movie star and, you know, he was baked, meaning his personality, it was cooked," she explained. "He was a formed person and that wasn't going to change. But I felt certainly better and safer, like I could finish what I had agreed to do."
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