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Tue Sep 02 11:19:33 SAST 2014

Thandie Newton was abused on casting couch

Bang Showbiz | 15 February, 2013 13:20
Thandie Newton poses as she arrives for the British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London February 10, 2013.
Image by: SUZANNE PLUNKETT / Reuters

Actress Thandie Newton claims she was abused on a casting couch by an unnamed director when she was 18 and trying to get her big break.

The 40-year-old actress says she is still scarred by the "horrific" incident which involved an unnamed male director when she was just 18 and trying to get her big break.

She said: "It was a screen test. There were two other people in the room - the director and the casting director, who was a woman.

"The director asked me to sit with my legs apart - the camera was positioned where it could see up my skirt - to put my leg over the arm of the chair.

“Before I started my dialogue, [I was told to] think about the character I was supposed to be having the dialogue with and how it felt to be made love to by this person.

"I was thinking, 'This is so strange, why would I need to do that?' But this is the director, there is the casting director, [it] must be normal. I'm 18 years old, you know, and I'm thinking this is, obviously... I was in a protected... there were boundaries."

Three years later, she discovered the video was being shown by the director - who she refuses to name - to other showbusiness figures.

Newton - who now has two children with husband Oliver Parker - told CNN International journalist Max Foster: "It turned out the director used to show that video late at night to interested parties at his house - a video of me touching myself with a camera up my skirt."

Newton chose to speak out about her abuse as part of an international campaign to end violence against women, One Billion Rising.

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Tue Sep 02 11:19:33 SAST 2014 ::