‘I felt violated,’ the actress writes in a powerful essay
Ellen Page has written a powerful account detailing her own experiences with sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood — including an accusation that her X-Men: The Last Stand director Brett Ratner made inappropriate and homophobic comments about her sexuality.
In a Facebook post published Friday, Page recounted how during a meet-and-greet for the cast and crew before filming The Last Stand, Ratner allegedly pointed to the then-18-year-old Page and told another woman standing next to her, “You should f— her to make her realize she’s gay.”
“I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself,” Page wrote. “I knew I was gay, but did not know, so to speak. I felt violated when this happened. I looked down at my feet, didn’t say a word and watched as no one else did either. This man, who had cast me in the film, started our months of filming at a work event with this horrific, unchallenged plea. He ‘outed’ me with no regard for my well-being, an act we all recognize as homophobic. I proceeded to watch him on set say degrading things to women. I remember a woman walking by the monitor as he made a comment about her ‘flappy p—-.’”
Page starred as Kitty Pryde in the 2006 X-Men film, and she added that the director later asked her to wear a T-shirt that read “Team Ratner.” When she refused, the film’s producers told her that she “couldn’t talk like that to him.”
“I was being reprimanded, yet he was not being punished nor fired for the blatantly homophobic and abusive behavior we all witnessed,” she said. “I was an actor that no one knew. I was eighteen and had no tools to know how to handle the situation.”
Page’s costar Anna Paquin, who played Rogue, corroborated the actress’ story on Twitter, writing, “I was there when that comment was made. I stand with you.”
A voicemail left at the office of Ratner’s attorney, Martin Singer, requesting comment was not immediately returned. Earlier this month, several women came forward to accuse the Rush Hour director of sexual misconduct, including Olivia Munn, who alleged that Ratner masturbated in front of her in his trailer, and Natasha Hendridge, who accused Ratner of forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
Page went on to condemn the “ubiquitous” nature of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry, recounting other instances of harassment she experienced as a teenager.
“When I was sixteen a director took me to dinner (a professional obligation and a very common one),” she wrote. “He fondled my leg under the table and said, ‘You have to make the move, I can’t.’ I did not make the move and I was fortunate to get away from that situation. It was a painful realization: my safety was not guaranteed at work. An adult authority figure for whom I worked intended to exploit me, physically. I was sexually assaulted by a grip months later. I was asked by a director to sleep with a man in his late twenties and to tell them about it. I did not. This is just what happened during my sixteenth year, a teenager in the entertainment industry.”
Page also expressed regret for appearing in Woody Allen’s 2012 film To Rome with Love, calling it “an awful mistake.”
“I did a Woody Allen movie and it is the biggest regret of my career,” she wrote. “I am ashamed I did this. I had yet to find my voice and was not who I am now and felt pressured, because ‘of course you have to say yes to this Woody Allen film.’ Ultimately, however, it is my choice what films I decide to do and I made the wrong choice. I made an awful mistake.”
Page concluded by arguing that sexual harassment in the entertainment industry is emblematic of a larger cultural epidemic of violence against women. She also applauded the victims both in and out of Hollywood who have spoken out against their abusers.
“This is a long awaited reckoning,” she continued. “It must be. It’s sad that ‘codes of conduct’ have to be enforced to ensure we experience fundamental human decency and respect. Inclusion and representation are the answer. We’ve learned that the status quo perpetuates unfair, victimizing behavior to protect and perpetuate itself. Don’t allow this behavior to be normalized. Don’t compare wrongs or criminal acts by their degrees of severity. Don’t allow yourselves to be numb to the voices of victims coming forward. Don’t stop demanding our civil rights. I am grateful to anyone and everyone who speaks out against abuse and trauma they have suffered. You are breaking the silence. You are revolution.”
Read Page’s full post here.