Juliana Margulies Recounts Weinstein, Seagal Brushes With Sexual Harassment

Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic.

Actress Juliana Margulies shared two of her own experiences with sexual harassment, one involving Harvey Weinstein and another with actor Steven Seagal, reports Deadline.

Both instances happened early in her career, she told Jenny Hutt while a guest on her Sirius XM show, Just Jenny. The first was at the age of 23 when Margulies claims that a female casting director asked her to go to Steven Seagal's hotel room to go over a scene. After the countless women who have come forward to tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault, the "hotel room under the pretext of official business" setup is sickeningly familiar. She was told that it was between her and another actress for the part.

Margulies was initially hesitant to meet up with Seagal. "I lived in Brooklyn, and I said, 'Oh, I don’t do that. I don’t travel. I don’t have money for a cab.' And I didn’t. And I said, 'And I don’t take subways late at night.'" According to Margulies, the female casting director was very reassuring. "And she said, 'Don’t worry we’ll reimburse you. And I’m here, a woman,'" Margulies recounted adding that when she got to the hotel at 10:40 p.m. ET, the casting director wasn't there, but Seagal was. "He made sure that I saw his gun, which I had never seen a gun in real life," she said. "I got out of there unscathed. I never was raped. And I never was harmed. And I don’t know how I got out of that hotel room…I sorta screamed my way out."

When the second encounter occurred a few years later in 1996, Margulies was much warier when Harvey Weinstein requested a meeting. At this point, the actress was in her third season of ER. Margulies was promised that if she took the meeting, she would get a screen test. She was also promised that the woman accompanying her would be in the room with them. "She knocked on the door, and she was standing behind me," Margulies told the radio show host. "And he opened the door in a bathrobe. I could see that there were candles lit in the room, and there was a dinner for two. And I saw him stare at her, daggers," she recalled. Margulies explained that when she turned to the woman standing behind her, "I caught her in a shrug – like, 'What could I do?' And he looked at me, furious, and took the door and he said, 'Just wanted to say good audition.' And he slammed the door."

Throughout retelling her experiences, Margulies touched on an unsettling but important point in all of this. There were other people who were complicit. If someone knows and keeps quiet, the problem continues. Both of these women were enabling predatory behavior. "These women were leading me to the lion's den," Margulies said of the two encounters. "I swept everything under the rug, and you shrug it off like, '...That's Hollywood.' For years, we all just shrugged it off. It's not to be shrugged off."

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