The Sex and the City star told NPR’s Fresh Air in a show broadcast last week (listen below) that she didn’t take stock of her uncomfortable dealings with men in show business until several months ago, well after the first wave of Me Too revelations.
“I started recognising countless experiences of men behaving poorly, inappropriately, and all the ways that I had made it possible to keep coming to work or to remain on set, or to simply... just push it down, push it away, find a little space for it and move on,” she said.
Sarah, promoting her third season of the HBO comedy Divorce, said she didn’t know why she wasn’t more courageous in confronting the poor treatment. At the same time, she didn’t know why she wasn’t “more destroyed” by it.
The actress said she sometimes tried to use humour to deflect the problem. For example, she would playfully threaten to reveal a male actor’s choice for president if it was unpopular. But all the while, she was nagged by the feeling that directly calling out the behavior would jeopardise her career.
“I didn’t feel as powerful as the man who was behaving inappropriately, which it just... strikes me as just stunning to say out loud, because there were plenty of occasions where it was happening and I was in a different position and I was as powerful,” SJP said.
She said she finally took action when a “big movie star”, who she didn’t name, crossed a line, explaining that some of his actions included joking about her body and generating inappropriate comments about “what people thought they could talk me into doing”.
Sarah said she sought help from her agent, who stepped in “without hesitation” to call out “the instigator” and other involved parties by noting they were violating contract terms.
“Within hours, everything had changed,” she recalled. “And in fact, I will also say he said to them, ‘If this continues, I have sent her a ticket, a one-way ticket’ out of this city where I was shooting — ‘and she will not be returning’.”
Sarah said she knew she wasn’t going to change the kind of person her castmate was, “but I certainly felt better and safer”.