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'It felt like power': Sarah Silverman viewed her own past conduct through a #MeToo lens

‘I think there was a part of me that got off on making me uncomfortable.’

SINCE THEIR LAUNCH, the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have dominated headlines all over the world, and at this stage, there are few people in Hollywood who haven’t been asked to give an insight into the effect these movements have had on the entertainment industry.

#MeToo Rally Against Sexual Harassment Source: Apaydin Alain/ABACA

The movements, and the publicity generated by them, have provided the public, and those in the public eye, with time to reflect on their own experiences and conduct.

Indeed, in a recent interview, Sarah Silverman viewed a past experience through a particular lens, and identified that behaviour she exhibited on one occasion could undoubtedly be considered problematic.

Speaking on Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, Sarah told her host:

Last night when I was falling asleep I thought of something that I did – a dynamic that I created with a man that if it was the other way around would have been very clearly not OK.

“He’s a comedian. He did stand-up, he writes now. He’s very successful; a great guy,” Sarah said.

24th Annual Critics' Choice Awards - Press Room Source: Jordan Strauss

Outlining the situation which has caused her to question how she treated him, she continued:

I had such sexual prowess. I was very confident and he was very kind of shy. And he gave me a ride somewhere and I was talking very sexually, and very explicitly at him.

“It felt like power,”she admitted before adding “I really was remembering this last night.”

In a moment of considerable candour, Sarah said she derived pleasure from knowing she had created an uncomfortable atmosphere with this individual.

I was talking about sex and orgasms, and this and that, and I think there was a part of me that got off on making him uncomfortable.

Sarah then revealed that his response to her remarks was particularly explicit, and it instantly brought her to an abrupt stop.

“He shut me down. It was brilliant,” she remembered.

I was feeling so powerful, and the power was coming from making him uncomfortable, and then he made me uncomfortable, I’m in awe of it.

“The point being that I thought ‘Wow, if that was the other way around, we would be very familiar with what that is and why it’s wrong’,” she reasoned.

Acknowledging Sarah’s recollection of events, Dax stressed the difference between the scenario outlined and the more typical ones highlighted by the aforementioned movements.

76th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals Source: Jordan Strauss

“It’s interesting, you know, because these things aren’t tit for tat because we live in a patriarchy,” he replied.

That guy had the confidence to come over the top. Innately, from the side he lives in, he’s like ‘I can always fight back’.”

While agreeing with Dax’s perspective, Sarah refused to underplay her culpability in that instance.

It was right of him [to respond]. I was using my power to degrade him in a way, I think.

“I was feeling power in this world,” she said by way of explanation before quickly adding: “Not to justify it.”

Sarah has found herself the subject of controversy in the past when she commented on the behaviour of Louis CK, an individual she considered both a peer and a friend, amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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