The 'Scandal' star is encouraging men to 'step up and let women know that we’ve got their backs'

By David Canfield
October 23, 2017 at 04:43 PM EDT

Tony Goldwyn expressed a message of solidarity with the men and women coming forward with past experiences of sexual harassment or assault: #MeToo.

The Scandal actor, who tweeted Friday in support of Lupita Nyong’o after she wrote a New York Times op-ed describing her various encounters with Harvey Weinstein, revealed that he’d also experienced sexual misconduct in his youth.

“It happened to me when I was literally Lupita’s age in my last year of acting school,” he told Access Hollywood on the red carpet of the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards, where his costar Kerry Washington was honored with the Inspiration Award. “It happened to me by a man, and it wasn’t as extended and awful as what Lupita went through, but it was the same thing.”

Goldwyn then added that he struggled with feelings of self-blame and confusion in the moment and the aftermath. “It was the casting couch and I didn’t understand what was going on, what was happening — I thought it was my fault,” he said. “I thought I was misunderstanding the situation … It took me a couple of years to get over it.”

Nyong’o’s powerful essay recalled a moment early in her acting career when Weinstein insisted she accompany him to his bedroom while at his home for a private movie screening and give him a massage. In order to assert control of the situation, she then offered “to give him one instead.”

“I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation,” she continued in her piece. “Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that.” Weinstein, who released a statement about Nyong’o’s claims, saying he has “a different recollection of the events,” has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 50 women; he denies any allegation of non-consensual sex.

As allegations against Weinstein and others in Hollywood continue to mount, including against Oscar-nominated writer-director James Toback, Goldwyn is the latest high-profile public figure to take part in the #MeToo campaign, which is playing out across social media. However, the actor noted that while he struggled with his experience for many years, it’s important for men to strongly support the women coming forward and give them a safe space.

“The predators in our society and the abusers and the harassers are a small portion of men,” he explained. “But as a man, I feel that me and my brothers need to step up and let women know that we’ve got their backs.”

See his interview with Access Hollywood above.