In the month since The New York Times and The New Yorker published reports detailing decades of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the floodgates have opened. More women have come forward with accounts of sexual abuse at the hands of Weinstein, and others have spoken out about similar sexual misconduct in workplaces ranging from the government to prominent media outlets.
It's clear that in Hollywood and elsewhere, Weinstein is hardly the only alleged predator who used his power to sexually abuse women. And, in what will surely come as a shock to no one, this type of behaviour has been going on for decades. A 72-year-old article has gone viral on social media, in which late Hollywood icon Maureen O'Hara spoke out about sexual misconduct in the industry.
In a 1945 interview with The Mirror, O'Hara stated that producers called her "a cold potato without sex appeal" because she rejected their sexual advances.
"I am so upset with it that I am ready to quit Hollywood. It's got so bad I hate to come to work in the morning," she told the outlet. "I'm a helpless victim of a Hollywood whispering campaign. Because I don't let the producer and director kiss me every morning or let them paw me they have spread word around town that I am not a woman — that I am a cold piece of marble statuary."
"I guess Hollywood won't consider me as anything except a cold hunk of marble until I divorce my husband, give my baby away and get my name and photograph in all the newspapers. If that's Hollywood's idea of being a woman I'm ready to quit now," she continued.
Of course, it's hardly surprising that women in Hollywood have been dealing with sexual harassment for decades. Tippi Hedren has previously stated that Alfred Hitchcock sexually assaulted her in the 1960s and vowed to ruin her career when she fought back. Last month Hedren said that due to her own experiences with sexual harassment, she's not surprised to learn of Weinstein's alleged crimes.
O'Hara's interview is noteworthy because it dates back to the 1940s, when it was even more taboo to discuss sexual misconduct than it is today. She was brave to speak out, but unfortunately it appears that no one listened or rallied to her side.
O'Hara gave a very clear account of what it was truly like to be a woman in Hollywood in 1945 — and it's noteworthy because it proves that, over 70 years later, precious little progress has been made.
If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999.
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