In news that will make your skin crawl, The Hollywood Reporter has come out with a story about a young director named Nick Stewart who cast women in oddly sexual scenes for a TV series he was creating. Several of the actresses are now coming forward to accuse Stewart of taking advantage of them. These women, who were between the ages of 15 and 21 (at least, according to the casting calls for the series, which was titled Cinema Aficionado), accused Stewart of creating an "unhinged" operation that was designed to get "some sort of revenge on women," according to Vera Vanguard, one of the actresses who Stewart cast.
"I’d be reading the script before we’d shoot a scene and he’d start touching my legs and my butt and kissing me," another actress, 18-year-old Madison Willow, told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was inappropriate and I asked him to stop. He would turn to the one cameraman on this tiny shoot and go, 'Let’s start filming.'"
Willow left early and stopped responding to Stewart, but she later saw herself — and a number of other women — in a reel for the series when it appeared online, all depicted in similarly sexual and bizarre scenarios.
"I was really weirded out — again," Willow added.
Actress Denisa Devine was cast in a similar scenario, and ultimately pulled out.
"It was supposed to imply that I was fucking him," she said of the script. "There was choking involved, and he was saying he planned to submit it to Comedy Central. I was like, 'This isn’t funny.'"
It was also suspicious, especially because Nick Stewart kept his real name in the scripts while the women were given fictional ones.
"So if someone were to see the footage, they could think it was a real-life situation," explained actress Janet Lopez about why she refused another role with Stewart. "They wouldn’t necessarily know I’m playing a role."
This all took place over the past year, with the most recent video appearing on Stewart's Facebook page on August 9, but the bulk of the Cinema Aficionado content was posted in December 2016.
The reason the women found themselves in these situations in the first place was because, despite the fact that the gigs were unpaid and non-union, it's essential for young actresses to provide a reel when looking to audition for bigger roles. Stewart took full advantage of this desperation to seemingly live out some kind of sexual fantasy that was ultimately never going to be accepted to Comedy Central, FX, or anywhere else he told the women he was pitching it. There's yet to be any official consequences for Stewart, but these women deserve better.
We've reached out to Stewart for comment and will update this story if we hear back.