‘I had awk­ward mo­ments as a younger actress’ – Ben­ing

Western Mail - - NEWS -

AN­NETTE Ben­ing has said she had “mo­ments that were awk­ward” for her when she was a younger actress, but noth­ing “trau­matic”, as she spoke about Har­vey We­in­stein.

The Hollywood star, 59, has also said she feels a fresh urge to speak to her chil­dren – two of whom she said wish to go into act­ing – fol­low­ing the scan­dal, which has seen film pro­ducer We­in­stein ac­cused by a num­ber women of sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

Ben­ing crit­i­cised the “cul­ture” of Hollywood that al­lowed the movie mogul to do what he has been al­leged to have done, and said she hopes that the cur­rent furore will bring about change in the in­dus­try.

She told ITV’s This Morn­ing: “I think it’s a busi­ness world that most of us know, and I hope that what’s hap­pened with Har­vey – and there have been other scan­dals in Amer­ica, and I know you’ve had them here as well, where sex­ual ha­rass­ment, sys­tem­atic sex­ual ha­rass­ment within a com­pany, has be­come per­va­sive and cov­ered up, and then sud­denly it comes out... It hap­pens in Hollywood a lot.”

Ben­ing de­scribed the “specifics that have come to light” as “shock­ing and hor­ren­dous”, adding that she hopes this spurs a change in the cul­ture of Hollywood.

“Maybe it’s a tip­ping point in the cul­ture where peo­ple can really be­gin to get this out in the open, and the fact that women are com­ing for­ward, it takes such guts to come up and really say what hap­pened to you, that’s really tough.

“And they’re be­ing sup­ported and ap­plauded and that’s very im­por­tant, so I think it’s all for the good and maybe now things will change, be­cause there’s more aware­ness the con­ver­sa­tion can change, we can be more open about it.”

Asked by This Morn­ing pre­sen­ter Phillip Schofield if she ever came across this when she was a young actress, Ben­ing said: “I had mo­ments.

“I didn’t have any­thing trau­matic. I was never in a sit­u­a­tion that I didn’t feel I could con­trol, but I also didn’t start do­ing movies un­til I was al­most 30 so I think that helped. I was in the theatre be­fore that, and that never hap­pened to me – it hap­pens in the theatre too, I’m sure – but it didn’t ever hap­pen to me then.

“There were mo­ments that were awk­ward, but noth­ing trau­matic or noth­ing that I didn’t feel I couldn’t han­dle.”

Ben­ing, who has four chil­dren aged be­tween 17 and 25 with ac­tor War­ren Beatty, her hus­band of 25 years, said she does have con­cerns about them fol­low­ing in her foot­steps and go­ing into act­ing.

“I want to... re­mind my kids and my kids’ friends, that if that sit­u­a­tion comes up you need to take charge of the sit­u­a­tion and leave the room and tell the per­son ‘no’, and that you have the abil­ity to do that.”

> An­nette Ben­ing

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