Thandie Newton Protests Violence Against Women, Reveals Casting Couch Abuse

Good Deeds star shared her story as a part of the One Billion Rising campaign, which raises awareness about violence against women

By Brandi Fowler Feb 15, 2013 4:01 PMTags

Thandie Newton is opening up about a "horrific" casting incident she experienced as an up-and-coming actress.

The Good Deeds star revealed that she was sexually exploited by a director when she went to a second audition, a screen test, for a project at the age of 18. 

Chris Joseph/Capital Pictures/Sipa USA

"The director asked me to sit with my legs apart, and the camera was positioned where it could see up my skirt," Newton told CNN Thursday. "[I had to] put my leg over the arm of the chair, and before I started my dialogue, think about the character I was supposed to be having the dialogue with and how it felt to be made love to by this person."

Newton said the director made her touch herself and zoomed the camera between her legs. A female director was also in the room and did nothing to stop it.

"I was thinking, ‘This is so strange, why would I need to do that?' But this is the director, there is the casting director, it must be normal."

Newton said she later discovered that the director had shown the video of her at his home to "interested parties," after she and her husband were approached by a "drunk" producer at the Cannes Film Festival three years later who said he saw the footage.

And that incident wasn't her first experience being "exploited" in a casting situation.

"When I was a 16-year-old fresh from boarding school going out in, you know, the casting couch, I was definitely objectified to an extreme," Newton continued.

The 40-year-old actress shared her story as a part of a One Billion Rising protest campaign event held in the Westminster area of London Thursday, which raises awareness about violence towards women.