In a sign that sexism and exploitation is ingrained in the Hollywood culture, Jennifer Lawrence has recounting her “degrading and humiliating” experiences in the movie industry.
Speaking at the the ELLE Women in Hollywood event on Tuesday, the Hunger Games star said she was forced to take part in a nude casting lineup early in her career and pressured to lose weight.
After acknowledging that the sexual harassment allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein had been “harrowing”, Lawrence told how the producers of an unnamed film pressured her to lose weight.
“One girl before me had already been fired for not losing enough weight fast enough,” she said.
“And, during this time, a female producer had me do a nude lineup with about five women who were much, much thinner than me. And we all stood side-by-side with only paste-ons covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating lineup, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”
Lawrence said she asked to speak to a producer about the unrealistic diet regime “and he responded by telling me he didn’t know why everyone thought I was so fat, he thought I was perfectly ‘f-ckable’.”
— Carly Mallenbaum (@ThatGirlCarly) October 17, 2017
Lawrence’s moving speech comes as women continue to come forward to accuse formerly powerful Hollywood producer Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault and rape dating back decades.
Weinstein, who has been fired from the company that bears his name, has denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex”.
Lawrence, who won an Oscar in 2013 for her role in the Weinstein-produced Silver Linings Playbook has said in a statement to People that she did not experience harassment by Weinstein when she worked with him.
Now one of Hollywood’s highest paid and most influential actresses, Lawrence said that at the time she felt “trapped” due to her lack of power.
“I couldn’t have gotten a producer or a director or a studio head fired,” she said. “
“I let myself be treated a certain way because I felt like I had to for my career. I was young and walking that fine line of sticking up for myself without being called difficult, which they did call me, but I believe the word they used was “nightmare.”
Lawrence said she had been hesitant to speak out about her experiences until now.
“I didn’t want to be a whistleblower. I didn’t want these embarrassing stories talked about in a magazine. I just wanted a career,” she said.
At the same event, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy proposed the creation of a film-industry commission to develop “new, industry-wide protections against sexual harassment and abuse”.
Lawrence supported such a body, saying that: “In a dream world, everyone is treated with the exact same level of respect. But, until we reach that goal, I will lend my ear. I will lend my voice to any boy, girl, man, or woman who does not feel like they can protect themselves.”
“We’re all here for each other. Together, now, we will stop this kind of behaviour from happening. We will stop normalising these horrific situations. We will change this narrative and make a difference for all of those individuals pursuing their dreams.”