Since the beginning of Thandie Newton’s career, the actress has always been attracted to difficult roles that explore themes about race and violence against women. This could be because of an incident that occurred in the beginning of her career that made her want to stand up for herself.
In a recent interview with W Magazine, the “Westworld” actress recalled when she was sexually abused as a teen by a male director during an audition.
“A director, on a callback, had a camera shooting up my skirt and asked me to touch my tits and think about the guy making love to me in the scene,” she said. “I thought, ‘Ok, this is a little weird,’ but there was a female casting director in the room and I’d done weird stuff before so I did it.”
Then years later, a drunk producer at a film festival approached her and told her that the unnamed helmer had shared the video with all his pals. The man went up to her and said, “‘Oh, Thandie, I’ve seen you recently!’ And he lurched away looking really shocked that he’d said that,” she said. “It turns out that the director was showing that audition tape to his friends after poker games at his house. And they would all get off on it.”
Since that unforgettable moment, Newtown wants to prevent other women and emerging actresses from being treated that same way.
“I was so so naïve when I started out and I realize now that we have to prepare our kids,” she said. “So many people in our business, they don’t want to be the ones to say something that’s a bum out because then they become associated with a bum out and nobody wants to read about so-and-so because they’re always blabbering on about a bum out. But one person will read this and it will stop them getting sexually abused by a director. That’s the person I’m interested in.”
Newton had previously spoken about the incident in a 2013 CNN interview, where she expressed how she felt exploited and humiliated from the kinds of things she was expected to do in auditions in her early days as an actress.