CAMPAIGNER: Newton in Parliament Square supporting a women against violence campaign
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II and Crash actress Thandie Newton has claimed a male director sexually “exploited” her on a casting couch when she was starting her acting career as a teenager.
The 40-year-old, who was in Parliament Square, central London, on Valentine’s Day to support the Women against Violence campaign, spoke out about her experiences as a 16 and 18-year-old, saying one particular incident still troubles her.
“I was definitely objectified to an extreme”, she told CNN of her experiences in auditions when she had just come out of boarding school.
When asked if she was abused at 16, Newton, who graduated from the University of Cambridge, replied: “Yes.”
Speaking further about the “horrific” incident she suffered in a “professional environment” when 18, Newton said she did not know how to react at the time.
Declining to name the male director or confirm whether he was still working in the industry, she said the director, accompanied by a female casting director, “asked me to sit with my legs apart. The camera was positioned where it could see up my skirt.”
The actress, a mother of two girls, married to film producer Oliver Parker, then claimed she was told to think about “how it felt to be made love to” by a character from the script she was auditioning for.
Newton, born in London and of Zimbabwean heritage, said three years after the ordeal she discovered the director had been screening the incident to others in the movie business.
“It turned out the director... used to show that video late at night to interested parties at his house – a video of me touching myself with a camera up my skirt,” she added.
One Billion Rising – the campaign supporting women which encouraged Newton to speak out – marks the number of women across the world who have been raped, beaten and abused.