Ellen Page is the latest Hollywood figure to come forward with stories of sexual harassment, hers colored by homophobia. In a Facebook post, Page spoke out against Brett Ratner, Hollywood, and systemic violence against women.
Like many child actors, Page says she was harassed, bullied, and propositioned by older men through her teens, but it is Brett Ratner—the disgraced director she worked with on X-Men: The Last Stand when she was 18—whom she directly accuses by name. (Ratner has been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and misconduct, claims he “categorically” denies.) In her post, Page describes the director’s cruel comments about her at a pre-filiming cast and crew meet and greet:
He looked at a woman standing next to me, ten years my senior, pointed to me and said: “You should fuck her to make her realize she’s gay.” He was the film’s director, Brett Ratner.
I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself. I knew I was gay, but did not know, so to speak. I felt violated when this happened. I looked down at my feet, didn’t say a word and watched as no one else did either. This man, who had cast me in the film, started our months of filming at a work event with this horrific, unchallenged plea. He “outed” me with no regard for my well-being, an act we all recognize as homophobic.
This public, aggressive outing left me with long standing feelings of shame, one of the most destructive results of homophobia. Making someone feel ashamed of who they are is a cruel manipulation, designed to oppress and repress. I was robbed of more than autonomy over my ability to define myself. Ratner’s comment replayed in my mind many times over the years as I encountered homophobia and coped with feelings of reluctance and uncertainty about the industry and my future in it.
Page shared other anecdotes from the set of X Men, including a time Ratner made a comment about another woman’s “flappy pussy.”
Page, who has been an actor for two-thirds of her life, revealed a number of other exploitative encounters from her childhood in the entertainment industry, sharing stories of directors and grips, sexual harassment and groping:
When I was sixteen a director took me to dinner (a professional obligation and a very common one). He fondled my leg under the table and said, “You have to make the move, I can’t.” I did not make the move and I was fortunate to get away from that situation. It was a painful realization: my safety was not guaranteed at work. An adult authority figure for whom I worked intended to exploit me, physically. I was sexually assaulted by a grip months later. I was asked by a director to sleep with a man in his late twenties and to tell them about it. I did not. This is just what happened during my sixteenth year, a teenager in the entertainment industry.
Her experience as a teenager in the entertainment industry mirror those of Molly Ringwald, who grew up in the industry 20 years prior. In an October essay for the New Yorker, Ringwald described the ways in which both crew members and directors felt the right to touch her inappropriately.
Page, who starred in Woody Allen’s 2011 film To Rome With Love, described working with Allen as the biggest regret of her career, saying she is ashamed of the choice. She also acknowledged the less privileged women who are disproportionately affected by violence, and her privilege as a “cis, white lesbian.”
Page said that abuse is “ubiquitous” in the industry, with a long list of names still protected by the status quo. She calls on her Hollywood counterparts to get to work.
I want to see these men have to face what they have done. I want them to not have power anymore. I want them to sit and think about who they are without their lawyers, their millions, their fancy cars, houses upon houses, their “playboy” status and swagger.
Read the post in full below: