Nearly two years ago, the viral Me Too movement (first coined by Tarana Burke) ignited a public discourse surrounding sexual abuse and harassment, particularly by giving a voice and platform to survivors of such experiences. Now Sarah Jessica Parker is speaking out, the latest in a slew of actresses and actors who have come forward with their stories of mistreatment. The ousted Harvey Weinstein, who faces a sexual assault trial in September, was, of course, named as an aggressor by many.
Over the weekend, Parker opened up about her own experiences with harassment on set, particularly recalling a “very big movie star” who acted inappropriately towards her. In an interview with NPR’s Fresh Air, the Sex and the City actress remembered working on a project and having to call her rep about a costar “who was behaving, not only inappropriately, but perhaps even I would say, they weren’t living up to contractual obligations as well,” she said. While Parker did not disclose the project or the actor’s name, she did add, “The nature of the person who I felt was really the instigator, this was a grown man—a very big movie star. He was baked, meaning his personality, it was cooked. He was a formed person, and that wasn’t going to change.”
The actress shared that, after making the call to her rep, the costar did alter his behavior. “[My rep] said to them, ‘If this continues, I have sent her a ticket, a one-way ticket out of this city’—where I was shooting—‘and she will not be returning,’” Parker said. The turnaround was swift: “It was fascinating. Within hours, everything had changed,” Parker said. “It wasn’t perfectly pleasant, but I didn’t have to be coy anymore, and I didn’t have to dread a potential conversation. I didn’t have to listen to jokes about me or my figure or what people thought they could talk me into doing. All these men, and that just stopped.”
Parker also added that it wasn’t until fellow actresses begin sharing their Me Too stories in recent times—including a range of stars, from Alyssa Milano to Gwyneth Paltrow—that she realized how common these experiences were, and how, prior, she was made to feel her experience was normal and part of the job. “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.”