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Jennifer Lopez opens up about her own “terrifying” sexual harassment ordeal

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Kayleigh Dray
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Jennifer Lopez has recalled how she was once asked by a director to remove her shirt and expose her breasts. 

The #MeToo movement has seen countless women – including Salma Hayek, Blake Lively, Cara Delevingne, Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie – come forward and share their own stories of sexual abuse and harassment in the film industry.

And now Jennifer Lopez has opened up about her own “terrifying” experience, too.

During her interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Lopez was asked if she has ever been sexually harassed in Hollywood. The actress and musician admitted that she hasn’t had the same experiences as some women who have shared their stories, but went on to add that she has been subjected to inappropriate behaviour.

“Have I been told by a director to take off my shirt and show my boobs? Yes, I have,” she said. “But did I do it? No, I did not.”

Lopez went on to reveal that the inappropriate interaction occurred on the set of one of her first movies, pointing out: “I was terrified [and] I remember my heart beating out of my chest, thinking, ‘What do I do? This man is hiring me!’”

However, despite the fact that she was just starting out in the movie industry, Lopez – who has starred in the likes of Maid in Manhattan, Selena, Enough and The Wedding Planner – said she knew the behaviour “wasn’t right” and was quick to “speak up” against it.

“I think ultimately the Bronx in me was like, ‘Nah, we’re not having it,’” she said, adding that she refused to follow through with the inappropriate demand.

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Lopez went on to say that, inspired by the Time’s Up movement, she has turned to producing so she can create more roles for women.

“At this point, you have to create your own opportunities and I think that’s why I got so much more into producing and taking into our own hands as an artist. I think it’s the second phase of your career – you kind of make a name for yourself and show everybody what you do and where your talents lay, and then you have to take it into your own hands and be the artist that you want to be.

“I always wanted to be the best performer, singer, dancer, actress that I could be. It’s the same for me now, but I’m lucky to be able to expand that into so many different roles and produce my own things.”

Images: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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