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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 20 October, 2018

Molly Ringwald is the latest actress to speak out about being sexually assaulted in Hollywood

She says that she has faced harassment from a young age.

'GI Joe: Retaliation' Premiere - Los Angeles Source: Francis Specker

YESTERDAY MOLLY RINGWALD wrote about her experiences with sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood throughout her teenage years.

The actress, who starred in some of the biggest movies of the 1980s (The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles), wrote that all women “seem to have a Harvey story, each one a little different but with essentially the same nauseating pattern and theme.”

Women were bullied, cajoled, manipulated, and worse, and then punished.

Ringwald then went on to share that she had been warned about Weinstein before working with him on a movie when she was 20-years-old. Luckily, she was not asked to join him in a taxi or a hotel room or anywhere outside of work.

The Breakfast Club Source: Universal Pictures

She did have other legal issues with Weinstein, but they did not relate to sexual assault or harassment.

However, she did not escape from working in Hollywood as a young woman unscathed.

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. When I was thirteen, 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.

It did not stop there. As she got older, these instances got more extreme.

When I was fourteen, a married film director stuck his tongue in my mouth on set. 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.

This all went on despite the fact that her parents were very protective and attempted to shield her from this kind of stuff. Ringwald wrote that she shudders to think of what may have gone down had her parents not been so protective of her.

2015 Billboard Music Awards - Arrivals - Las Vegas Source: Marcel Thomas

In her twenties, she went to an audition where she was asked by a director to let a lead actor put a dog collar around her neck – something that was not even remotely in the script she had studied. Disturbingly, the actor went ahead with the strange request, despite the fact that Molly was visibly uncomfortable with it.

The actor was a friend of mine, and I looked in his eyes with panic. He looked back at me with an “I’m really sorry” expression on his face as his hands reached out toward my neck. I don’t know if the collar ever made it on me, because that’s the closest I’ve ever had to an out-of-body experience.
I’d like to think that I just walked out, but, more than likely, there’s an old VHS tape, disintegrating in a drawer of somewhere, of me trying to remember lines with a dog collar around my neck.

Afterwards, Ringwald was humiliated and cried in a nearby car park, before calling her agent to tell him what happened. The agent laughed.

2016 Lucille Lortel Awards Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

In the years following these events, Ringwald began to unwind her career and moved to Paris to decompress. She wrote that she became “intriguing on some level” to magazines for suddenly leaving Hollywood in the height of her fame.

A magazine named Movieline wrote an article after she had left America, where the head of a major studio – a man who claims to be horrified by the Harvey allegations was quoted as saying “I wouldn’t know Molly Ringwald if she sat on my face.”

I was twenty-four at the time. Maybe he was misquoted. If he ever sent a note of apology, it must have gotten lost in the mail.

Cinderella world premiere - Los Angeles Source: D. Long

She brings her distressing essay to a close by writing:

I could go on about other instances in which I have felt demeaned or exploited, but I fear it would get very repetitive. Then again, that’s part of the point.  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 neverbeen taking 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.


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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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