Molly Ringwald has detailed allegations of sexual assault that date back to her early career.
The former teen icon – known for her roles in John Hughes’ 80s films Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink – has written in The New Yorker about the recent Harvey Weinstein scandal, as well as claiming that she was sexually assaulted by an unnamed film director when she was 14.
“We all seem to have a Harvey story,” Ringwald writes, “each one a little different but with essentially the same nauseating pattern and theme. Women were bullied, cajoled, manipulated, and worse, and then punished.”
“While my own Harvey story may be different, I have had plenty of Harveys of my own over the years, enough to feel a sickening shock of recognition,” she says.
Ringwald goes on to say that, on a film set when she was 13, a “fifty-year-old crew member told me that he would teach me to dance, and then proceeded to push against me with an erection”.
She also claims that a “married film director stuck his tongue in my mouth” on the set of another movie when she was 14.
During her 20s, she says that she was told by one director to let a lead actor “put a dog collar around my neck” during an audition.
“At a time when I was trying to figure out what it meant to become a sexually viable young woman, at every turn some older guy tried to help speed up the process,” Ringwald writes.
Ringwald continues: “I never talked about these things publicly because, as a woman, it has always felt like I may as well have been talking about the weather. Stories like these have never been taken seriously. Women are shamed, told they are uptight, nasty, bitter, can’t take a joke, are too sensitive. And the men? Well, if they’re lucky, they might get elected President.”
“My hope is that Hollywood makes itself an example and decides to enact real change, change that would allow women of all ages and ethnicities the freedom to tell their stories—to write them and direct them and trust that people care. I hope that young women will one day no longer feel that they have to work twice as hard for less money and recognition, backward and in heels. It’s time. Women have resounded their cri de coeur. Listen.”
Ringwald also discusses her experience working with Harvey Weinstein on 1990’s Strike It Rich, saying that while he never harassed her, she had been “warned about the producer” and that he was “testy” and created “a tense, awkward moment” with her co-workers.
“My Harvey story is different, mostly because of timing. I was in one of the first films that Weinstein produced,” she writes. “I was lucky. Or perhaps it was because, at that moment in time, I was the one with more power.”
Harvey Weinstein has been accused of rape, sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct by numerous women in recent weeks, allegations that he “unequivocally denies”.
His brother Bob Weinstein has also been accused of sexual harassment by a TV showrunner, claims that a representative for the producer has denied.