Theron claims ‘fa­mous di­rec­tor’ ha­rassed her

Star of new film about sex­ual ha­rass­ment re­lives un­wanted ad­vances when she was a young ac­tress

The Daily Telegraph - - Front Page - By Har­riet Alexan­der in New York

Char­l­ize Theron, the ac­tress, yes­ter­day re­vived ac­cu­sa­tions that “a fa­mous di­rec­tor” sex­u­ally ha­rassed her early in her ca­reer. Theron, 44, pro­mot­ing her new film, Bomb­shell, which de­tails sex­ual ha­rass­ment at Fox News, told how she her­self had been sub­jected to ha­rass­ment. She said that in 1994, when she had just moved to Los An­ge­les, the un­named di­rec­tor in­vited her to an au­di­tion at his home one Satur­day night and touched her leg as she sat on the sofa.

‘He sat very close to me. That was strange. He put his hand on my knee. You just go blank. Like you don’t know what to do’

HOL­LY­WOOD was bub­bling with in­trigue yes­ter­day af­ter Os­car-win­ning ac­tress Char­l­ize Theron re­vived ac­cu­sa­tions that “a fa­mous di­rec­tor” sex­u­ally ha­rassed her early in her ca­reer.

Theron, pro­mot­ing her new film, Bomb­shell, which de­tails sex­ual ha­rass­ment at Fox News un­der its late chief ex­ec­u­tive Roger Ailes, told how she had been sub­jected to ha­rass­ment.

Theron told NPR ra­dio that play­ing former Fox News an­chor Megyn Kelly al­lowed her to ex­plore what she called the “grey area” of sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

“It’s not al­ways phys­i­cal as­sault. It’s not al­ways rape,” she said.

“There’s a psy­cho­log­i­cal dam­age that hap­pens for women in the ev­ery­day ca­su­al­ness of lan­guage, touch or threat – threat of los­ing your job. Those are things I’ve def­i­nitely en­coun­tered.”

She told how, in 1994, she had just moved to Los An­ge­les when a “fa­mous di­rec­tor” in­vited her to an au­di­tion at his home one Satur­day night.

When she showed up, the di­rec­tor opened the door in his “Hugh Hefner py­ja­mas” and touched her leg as she sat on the sofa: she apol­o­gised and left in a hurry.

She told the ra­dio sta­tion that, driv­ing away, she be­came an­gry with her­self. “I just kept hit­ting the steer­ing wheel,” she said. “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.”

The South African-born ac­tress first told of the in­ci­dent in 2009, speak­ing to OK! Magazine. She men­tioned it again in April this year, telling ra­dio host Howard Stern that she had been shocked by the en­counter. “I had just turned 19, I might have still been 18. I had never been out for an au­di­tion,” she told him.

“I asked this mod­el­ling agent if she’d heard of any­thing. She said, ‘Yep. Go to this guy’s house. It’s on Satur­day at 9pm’.

“He had a very healthy ego, he felt very good about him­self. There was some [muzak] play­ing in the house. He sat very close to me. That was strange. The drink­ing both­ered me. I was like, ‘This doesn’t feel right.’”

Theron said she kept ask­ing if he wanted her to read the pages of a script she had been given, to which he replied they were just go­ing to talk.

“And then [he] put his hand on my knee,” she said. “You just go blank. Like you don’t know what to do, but I left.”

She told Stern that, eight years later, af­ter mak­ing her name, she con­fronted him. She said he had no rec­ol­lec­tion of meet­ing her.

“I had my mo­ment,” she said. Theron has been a strong sup­porter of the #Metoo move­ment, and, in an in­ter­view with The New York Times, pub­lished ear­lier this month, told how Har­vey We­in­stein used his power to ma­nip­u­late women. She said he lied about hav­ing sex with her, in or­der to en­tice other women to sleep with him.

“One of his lines was that Renée [Zell­weger] and I slept with him to get jobs. There was no limit to him. Even in the sex­ual favours, he would still pit us against each other.” We­in­stein, who goes on trial in Jan­uary for sex­ual as­sault and rape, has al­ways de­nied ac­cu­sa­tions of non-con­sen­sual sex.

Zell­weger, through a spokesman, de­nied in 2017 that she had slept with We­in­stein to fur­ther her ca­reer.

Theron, 44, has also spo­ken about how her mother killed her father in front of her, de­scrib­ing him as an al­co­holic and a “very sick man”.

She told how, in 1991, he tried to get into the house – bel­liger­ent, drunk and armed with a gun. Theron and her mother, Gerda, tried to stop him.

“Both of us were lean­ing against the door from the in­side to have him not be able to push through,” she told Peo­ple.

“He took a step back and just shot through the door three times.

“None of those bul­lets ever hit us, which is just a mir­a­cle. But in self-de­fence, she ended the threat.”

Theron said that she was “not ashamed” to speak about her trau­matic child­hood, and she wanted to end the stigma sur­round­ing abu­sive fam­i­lies.

Above, a young Char­l­ize Theron with her father and mother. Below, at a spe­cial Los An­ge­les screen­ing of her new film ‘Bomb­shell’

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