Thandie Newton Says Staying Quiet About Her Assault Was Akin To Death

In 2016, the "Westworld" actress revealed she was sexually abused by a director when she was just a teenager.
Thandie Newton attends the 2018 Emmys. 
Thandie Newton attends the 2018 Emmys. 

Thandie Newton was compelled to talk about her sexual assault back in 2016, even if it cost her everything. 

“The idea of silencing myself was like ― I may as well die,” the “Westworld” actress told The Daily Beast in an interview published Thursday.

“I lost work. I lost friends. I had a publicist who told me that it was ‘bad for my reputation’ to talk about my experience,” she continued. “But I had to keep talking about it. I was traumatized.”

Newton revealed her story of sexual abuse in a 2016 interview with W Magazine. She said that a director shot a camera up her skit and asked her to touch her breasts during a callback when she was a teenager. A few years later, Newton said she learned “the director was showing that audition tape to his friends after poker games at his house. And they would all get off on it.”

Newtown said it took her years to recognize that what that director did was criminal. Once she realized, Newton said, she couldn’t not speak out about it. 

“Every day I go to work and do this stuff. I call it out. Because how could you not?” she said. “It’s like seeing someone bleeding on the street. Then again, people do walk by people bleeding on the street.”

She added that even her family didn’t like when she discussed the abuse she endured. 

“They felt targeted by people’s opinions. It’s not a nice thing to be related to it,” Newton continued. “It’s like every fucking story connected back to, ‘Oh, she says that she was abused by this director,’ and I just didn’t care. Because it was real.”

The 45-year-old actress said that President Donald Trump and his administration is only furthering the shame and victim-blaming associated with sexual abuse. As an example, she pointed to the recent appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused by three women of sexual assault, to the Supreme Court. 

“It takes so long to change laws, and it doesn’t fucking help when you have someone appointed to the Supreme Court who’s going to be there a long time ― and that’s why it was so horrific, because laws take a long time to be passed, and they take a long time to be fought and undone,” she said. “And the current administration in the United States, the unraveling of the fabric of justice and progressiveness, is an unprecedented tragedy.”

Head over to The Daily Beast to read Newton’s full interview.