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Judy actor Rufus Sewell calls on sexual abuse in Hollywood to be exposed

Amy Ashenden October 5, 2019
Rufus Sewell speaks exclusively to PinkNews (PinkNews)

Rufus Sewell says sexual abuse in Hollywood 'needs to be exposed' (PinkNews)

Judy actor Rufus Sewell says sexual abuse in Hollywood “needs to be exposed”.

New movie Judy shines a light on how late singer Judy Garland, played by Renée Zellweger, suffered at the hands of Hollywood.

“It was a terrible thing to happen to a child,” Rufus Sewell tells PinkNews.

But has Hollywood changed since Garland’s time in the spotlight?

“I think people don’t change,” he says. “And I think one of the things about people is that the more you cover up, the less light you shine on that stuff and the more it controls you.

“I like to think that what’s happening now is that things are more exposed, they’re easier to talk about, it’s easier to say out loud.

“It’s easier to shine light on what’s festering so it dies in the light.

What was going on in the hotels and what was going on backstage, and the abuse, the hands creeping up skirts, the pills – it was a very, very dark, incredibly damaging world.

“At the time the Wizard of Oz was being made, it’s not just coincidence that that is the most innocent-seeming time in Hollywood where there doesn’t seem to be any pain or colour or, you know.

Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz

“It was covering a festering world. If you read about the making of the Wizard of Oz – what was going on in the hotels and what was going on backstage, and the abuse, the hands creeping up skirts, the pills – it was a very, very dark, incredibly damaging world.

“I just think the more that that’s out in the open, the more the stigma about talking about it is taken away – the same with mental illness and issues like that – then the healthier it is.

“People need to be exposed.”

“So I have to think it’s getting better. It doesn’t mean that people change, it just means that people need to be exposed to the light.”

Sewell plays Judy Garland’s husband alongside Renée Zellweger in new movie Judy.

“What’s great about the film is that you do see her at that stage – this young, impressionable girl.

“Her mum’s hawking her out. As the studio heads said in this film, you have a mother who cares more what I think of you.”

Reflecting on the impact of growing up in Hollywood had on Judy Garland, Sewell adds: “This is just a person who’s been damaged, who needs help, who needs love, who’s got addiction issues.

“So it’s about [how] we need to take care of people.”

Homophobia is “b*******.”

Inspired by his childhood hero, gay icon Quentin Crisp, Sewell says he “absolutely” calls himself a LGBT+ ally.

“I saw the Naked Civil Servant when I was very young and, for me, I identified hugely with him because I felt, in a way, like an outsider,” he explains.

“So that’s how I identified with him and I always had that sense – turns out I grew up straight but it could have been another way.

“And I certainly just experimented with – I looked very Quentin Crisp like – I had dyed hair and painted finger nail varnish, you know.

“Some of the best people in the world are – it’s the world’s made up.

“You lose a lot of really great stuff if you waste time thinking about b******* like that.”

Judy is in UK cinemas now.

More: Hollywood, Judy Garland, Me Too, Rufus Sewell

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