When I was 22 and got my first big professional job as an actress, a famous actor grabbed me by the pu**y, to borrow Trump’s delicate lexicon.
A world-famous director tried to get me to make out with his female assistant in a private backroom with no casting people present, “as an audition.” I refused and, needless to say, did not get the part.
Another world-famous director I worked for would say in front of all the other actors we were working with that he was turning off the air conditioner to make me take off my jacket, ostensibly to ogle my breasts. And he was always breathing down my neck, telling me how much he loved Puerto Ricans, no matter how many times I told him I’m Italian and Mexican.
Another director came to my trailer before a love scene shoot and asked me to take off my robe to see if my body was presentable enough for the camera, examining me with clinical precision. He frequently told me I needed to lose weight, even though he had hired me for the part at the size I was. Another time, he grabbed my bottom and slid his middle finger forward to reach toward my vagina.
No, I never reported one of these men to anyone.
It’s hard enough to report sexual harassment and sexual assault even when they are perpetrated by unknown men because it’s humiliating and because women are so often disbelieved or blamed. With famous men, it’s exponentially worse. That’s why it took so long for most of Bill Cosby’s victims to come out of the woodwork.
So Trump is right. Women do put up with a lot from famous men. But it’s not because we like you, Donald.
Certainly some women allow men to manhandle them because they are awed by fame or because they are willing to do whatever it takes to make it in their career. But more often than not, young women in entertainment tolerate the intolerable because it’s so hard to get a job and so easy to be blacklisted. We know the power is weighted entirely against us. Just look at how the young soap actress in the leaked Access Hollywood tape feels she has to flirt with Trump and Billy Bush to assuage their egos.
It is such a rampant problem in entertainment that it’s considered kind of normal, not even worth mentioning. The industry’s attitude toward women is a major reason why I have moved to the other side of the camera.
The entertainment industry will have to look at itself and change or get left behind in the dark ages. But that’s a longterm wish.
Between now and November 8, American men will have to ask themselves: “Does Trump speak for us? Should our wives, daughters, sisters and mothers put up or shut up?”
And American women must ask themselves, "Should we let The Donald be our slimy, entitled director? Should we tacitly approve a culture of men looking at women as their sexual property?”
Or should we let the GOP and its nominee know in the most emphatic fashion possible that there are serious consequences to this kind of behavior? We may have to grab them by the ba**s, electorally speaking, of course.