Charlize Theron has said in a new interview that she was sexually harassed by a “famous director” early in her career.
The actor appears in the new drama Bombshell as Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. The film focuses on the removal of Fox News boss Roger Ailes over accusations of sexual harassment.
Speaking to NPR to promote the film, Theron detailed her own account of harassment, which she says happened in 1994 and involved a “very famous director”.
Theron says she visited the director’s house on a Saturday night for an audition. “He wore silk pyjamas and offered me a drink and rubbed my knee,” she said. “I was just starting out; I didn’t know the ins and outs, and said to myself as I was driving there at 9pm … ‘Maybe that’s how they do it in the movie industry?'”
She continued: “You don’t [know what to do] … if you haven’t experienced it, it’s a very difficult thing to wrap your head around. I wasn’t even fully convinced this was sexual harassment until later in my career.
“I put a lot of blame on myself … that I didn’t say all the right things, and that I didn’t tell him to take a hike, and that I didn’t do all of those things that we so want to believe we’ll do in those situations.”
Theron reveals that she ended up apologising to the director, saying: “I remember saying, ‘I’m sorry that I have to leave’, because I was trying to remove myself from the room.”
She then says that eight years after the incident the same director offered her another job, which she planned to decline, but wanted to meet the director to confront him. “I thought I had the opportunity [to confront him], I was going to have the moment I didn’t have with him,” she said.
When she brought up the incident, “[he] just moved on from the conversation, he just didn’t want to address it. At that moment, it was clear to me that it wasn’t his first time and that he had been doing this before and that other women had called him out. His way of handling it was just to talk over it and about the project.”
Theron added: “Unfortunately, it was not the moment I so wanted. There was no reward in it … I’ve heard this repeatedly in hearing other women’s stories, and that is the unfortunate thing about sexual harassment. You never get that moment where you feel like the tables are reversed and now he’s finally getting it.”