Reese Witherspoon felt "guilt for not speaking up" when she was sexually assaulted
The 43-year-old actress previously alleged that she had been assaulted by a director when she was just 16 and had been instructed by agents and producers to keep quiet about it.
9 November 2019
Although Reese eventually found the courage to talk about the experience she does often think she should have said something much sooner, and she has to "sadly" admit it was not an "isolated incident" in her career.
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In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Reese said: "I wish I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career but, sadly, it wasn't. I've had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault."
Although she spoke out about her assault at the Elle Women in Hollywood event in 2017, Reese felt, she added, "guilt for not speaking up earlier".
However, the 'Legally Blonde' star is realistic enough to know that if she'd complained about the assault when she was a teenager it could have cost her all her acting dreams.
She admitted: "Ummm no. It was a culture of silence and silence was a condition of my employment. That's what I was told."
Reese's latest role is playing newscaster Bradley Jackson in Apple TV+ series 'The Morning Show', who sets out to expose the kind of experiences Reese endured when she was younger after discovering the staff on the fictional New York news programme knew about incidents of sexual misconduct committed by fired news anchor Mitch Kessler (Steve Carrell).
The Oscar winner admits that he own experiences of sexual harassment and the experiences of other women inspire her to use her art to "tell stories" about that type of behaviour.
She explained: "When stories [about assault and harassment] come out, I sometimes get really upset and it runs the gamut from sad to heartbroken to extreme anger. I think it probably drives me to tell more stories about it because art is the best antidote."
Meanwhile, Reese and 'This Morning Show' co-star Jennifer Aniston, 50, both opened up about their experiences working with disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
The 67-year-old Hollywood mogul distributed Reese's 2002 film 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and produced Jennifer's 2005 film 'Derailed' before he was accused of numerous incidents of sexual assault.
The two Hollywood stars believe they were spared the same assaults allegedly suffered by so many actresses, including Rose McGowan, Annabella Sciorra and Uma Thurman, by the actions of individuals who never left either of them alone with Weinstein.
Reese said: "I was never alone with him either. But I didn't know why."
Jennifer added: "Me neither. But always someone would stand in the room."
To which Reese responded: "Now I look back and I'm very grateful to those people who stayed in the room with me. What they knew, I don't know."
The 2017 New York Times and New Yorker exposes on Weinstein's decades of alleged sexual misconduct and assault inspired the #MeToo and Time's Up movements which tackled the abuse of women in Hollywood.