In the era of #MeToo, more and more celebrities are sharing their stories of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. One of the most surprising (and infuriating) things about it is the revelation that some the most seemingly powerful women have felt voiceless. In a new interview with NPR’s Fresh Air, Sarah Jessica Parker reveals that she once had to report a male costar who was making her uncomfortable on set.
Though the 54-year-old Sex and the City star didn’t reveal the name of the person or project, the details she did disclose are completely unsettling. Parker recalls feeling helpless in the situation, eventually calling her agent to report the male actor “who was behaving, not only inappropriately, but … they weren’t living up to contractual obligations as well.”
Parker is an accomplished actor who is currently wrapping up the final season of her hit HBO show Divorce and a seemingly confident person, but even she had difficulty addressing the problem head-on. “I felt I was no longer able to convey how uncomfortable this was making me, how inappropriate it was,” she said in the interview, which aired on July 3.
“I think no matter how evolved or how modern I thought I was, I didn’t feel entirely in a position — no matter what my role was on set — I didn’t feel as powerful as the man who was behaving inappropriately, which strikes me as just stunning to say out loud, because there were plenty of occasions where it was happening and I was in a different position and I was as powerful,” she explained of her experience. “I mean, I had every right to say, ‘This is inappropriate.’ I could have felt safe in going to a superior.”
Thankfully, her agent took quick action and was able to remedy the situation. As SJP recalls, her agent told the man in question: “If this continues, I have sent her a ticket, a one-way ticket out of this city … and she will not be returning.”
While reflecting on the experience, Parker is able to see other such instances throughout her career with more clarity. “It really wasn’t, I would say, until about six or eight months ago that I started recognizing countless experiences of men behaving poorly, inappropriately, and all the ways that I had made it possible to keep coming to work or to remain on set, or to simply — as I’ve described it — just push it down, push it away, find a little space for it and move on,” Parker said.
She divulged several tactics she’s used over the years to “push away” these incidents, one of which included having a male friend answer her phone. “I would try to find ways with language,” Parker explains. “I did things like, have a friend spend the night and answer my phone. I remember in a hotel once, I asked a male friend of mine if he would stay in the hotel room with me and answer the phone and simply say I wasn’t there.”
Women everywhere can relate, but shouldn’t have to rely on such methods just to get by at work. Parker’s interview is further proof that women are done putting up with this nonsense, and their voices will not be silenced.