Jennifer Lopez has opened up about her ‘moment of panic’ and how she stood up for herself.
Jennifer Lopez is the latest to do so. This week, the Hustlers actor revealed how, as a young Hollywood hopeful, she was asked by a director to show him her breasts.
Lopez was talking to fellow actors Laura Dern, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Awkwafina and Renee Zellweger for The Hollywood Reporter’s round table. During the discussion, she described how the unnamed director asked her to take off her top during a fitting for a film she had been cast in, which involved nudity.
She refused, telling him: “We’re not on set.”
“Luckily a little bit of the Bronx came out,” she said. “I was like, ‘I don’t have to show you my – No. On the set, you see them’.” When Johansson commented that it was “crazy,” Lopez responded: “Well, he was crazy…”
“And I said no, I stood up for myself. But it was so funny because I remember being so panicked in the moment.” A costume designer was also in the room at the time. Lopez said: “So there was another woman in the room and he says this and I said no.”
When Johansson pointed out that “not everyone would feel that way”, Lopez agreed. “That’s the thing, because if you give in, in that moment, all of a sudden that person is off and running, thinking they can do whatever they want.”
She continued: “And because I put up a little boundary right there and said no, he laid off and then later on apologised. But the minute he walked out of the room the costume designer was like, ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry that just happened’.”
The actors acknowledged the kind of behaviour Lopez described “could still happen” in the industry today, but that progress was being made. They credited conversations happening in public, which were making it easier for women to tell when something was inappropriate, leaving them feeling empowered.
While we still have a long way to go, as the actors pointed out, these conversations play an important role in dismantling the stigma around sexual harassment and assault and arm women with the knowledge of what shouldn’t be acceptable in the workplace.