Thandie Newton reveals she was sexually abused by a director at an audition

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Helen Booth
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Thandie Newton has become the latest actress to highlight the dark side of Hollywood, revealing that she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a director while auditioning for a role early on in her career.

In an interview with W magazine, the actress told how she unwittingly fell prey to the creepy requests of an unnamed director during a callback 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. 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.”

She recalled how years later she discovered something even more disturbing after a producer approached her at a film festival and told her drunkenly, “Oh, Thandie, I’ve seen you recently!”, before lurching away with apparent embarrassment.

Thandie's husband approached the man to find out what he meant. “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.”

Following the incident, Thandie has vowed to help protect other young women in the industry by speaking out about her experience.

“I was so so naïve when I started out and I realize now that we have to prepare our kids — I’ve got two beautiful daughters, one is 16, one is 11. 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,” she said.

Image: Rex Features


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Helen Booth

Helen Booth is a London-based writer, digital editor and part-time maker who loves interiors, crafts and keeping tabs on trends. She also co-founded the weekly newsletter Lunch Hour Links.