Anna Paquin backs up Ellen Page’s sexual harassment allegation against director Brett Ratner
Fellow X-Men star Anna Paquin has backed up a sexual harassment allegation by Ellen Page against director Brett Ratner.
Earlier this week, Page accused the X-Men director of sexually harassing her when she was 18.
Ratner, who has been accused of rape by former employee Melanie Kohler, allegedly told a woman standing next to Page: ‘You should f*** her to make her realise she’s gay.’
The lesbian actress said she had also been sexually harassed by a director when she was 16, and “sexually assaulted by a grip months later”.
Paquin, who is also bisexual, has now backed up the allegations by Page, saying she was there when Ratner made the comment.
“I was there,” Paquin wrote on Twitter.
“If you can’t think of the glaringly obvious reason I remained silent then perhaps you’ve forgotten that I’ve been in this victim grooming industry since before I hit puberty,” she added.
Page came out in 2014, in an incredible, emotional speech to GLAAD, but her allegations date from the mid 2000s, when she was 18 and still struggling with her sexuality.
Writing on Facebook, Page said that the offensive comment had been made at a cast and crew meet and greet before filming began for X-Men: The Last Stand.
“I felt violated when this happened,” she recalled. “I looked down at my feet, didn’t say a word and watched as no one else did either.
“This man, who had cast me in the film, started our months of filming at a work event with this horrific, unchallenged plea.
“He ‘outed’ me with no regard for my well-being, an act we all recognise as homophobic.”
She alleged that Ratner made other horrendous remarks.
“I proceeded to watch him on set say degrading things to women. I remember a woman walking by the monitor as he made a comment about her ‘flappy pussy’.”
The Inception star, who said in 2015 that she wished she had come out sooner, said that “this public, aggressive outing left me with long-standing feelings of shame”.
She added: “Making someone feel ashamed of who they are is a cruel manipulation, designed to oppress and repress.
“I was robbed of more than autonomy over my ability to define myself.
“Ratner’s comment replayed in my mind many times over the years as I encountered homophobia and coped with feelings of reluctance and uncertainty about the industry and my future in it.”
Page said that the power imbalance was clear on set.
“I got into an altercation with Brett at a certain point,” she remembered. “He was pressuring me, in front of many people, to don a t-shirt with ‘Team Ratner’ on it.
“I said no and he insisted. I responded, ‘I am not on your team.’
“Later in the day, producers of the film came to my trailer to say that I ‘couldn’t talk like that to him,’ she continued.
“I was being reprimanded, yet he was not being punished nor fired for the blatantly homophobic and abusive behavior we all witnessed.
“I was an actor that no one knew. I was eighteen and had no tools to know how to handle the situation.”
Page said that these interactions with Ratner were not the only examples of sexual harassment she had suffered in Hollywood.
“When I was sixteen, a director took me to dinner (a professional obligation and a very common one),” she wrote.
“He fondled my leg under the table and said, ‘You have to make the move, I can’t.’ I did not make the move and I was fortunate to get away from that situation.”
Page said this produced “a painful realisation: my safety was not guaranteed at work.
“An adult authority figure for whom I worked intended to exploit me, physically.
“I was sexually assaulted by a grip months later.
“I was asked by a director to sleep with a man in his late twenties and to tell them about it. I did not.”
The Canadian actress also said that working with director Woody Allen on 2012 film To Rome With Love was “the biggest regret of my career.
“I am ashamed I did this,” she added.
“I had yet to find my voice and was not who I am now and felt pressured, because ‘of course you have to say yes to this Woody Allen film.’
“Ultimately, however, it is my choice what films I decide to do and I made the wrong choice. I made an awful mistake.”
She had chosen to speak out now, she said, because “women, particularly the most marginalised, are silenced, while powerful abusers can scream as loudly as they want, lie as much as they want and continue to profit through it all.
“This is a long-awaited reckoning,” she added. “It must be.”
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She called on others to keep speaking out.
“Don’t stop demanding our civil rights,” she wrote.
“I am grateful to anyone and everyone who speaks out against abuse and trauma they have suffered.
“You are breaking the silence. You are revolution.”
More: alleged sexual harassment, charlie sheen, Ellen Page, entertainment, Film Reviews, Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood, Inception, Jeffrey Tambor, Juno, Kevin Spacey, lesbian, movies, US, X-Men, x-men: the last stand