Justin Baldoni has had his own experiences with sexual harassment in Hollywood.
In a new interview with Glamour, the actor opens up about an uncomfortable moment he had with an unnamed producer when he was starting out in the industry as a 21-year-old actor.
"When I was 21 or so, I was very new in the business. I had just done my first show and a girlfriend at the time had gotten me a spa certificate to go to Burke Williams in West Hollywood," the now-33-year-old actor recalls. "I went and jumped in the hot tub and I saw a guy kind of look over. I saw him look over at me... and he started talking about all of the movies he’s done and all the people he knows. He’s friends with Clooney, Cheadle, and this person and this person, and he slowly started to try to get me to take off my pants because I had my bathing suit on and he was naked."
"And I remember the way he did it, using his power and what he does and who he knows as a way to make me feel less than, like I wasn’t going to be as successful as the other guys who’d been in the same hot tub with him, naked," he added. "I just remember that feeling and having a moment of saying, 'Well, should I do that? And where does that lead?'… I remember a split second [of thought], and then going, 'What? No,' and just leaving."
Baldoni says the experience gives him some perspective on how much harder that experience could have been for a woman in a similar position.
"I could imagine how hard and painful that must be for a woman," he explained. "I mean I was stronger and bigger than the guy, and [then there’s] the fact that no one is going to believe you if you’re a woman because your voice is already not heard."
Baldoni added that he has also experienced harassment from others in positions of power, and not just men.
"I’ve also experienced [harassment] as a man from women of power…. I’ve had my ass grabbed multiple times by powerful women," he reveals.
Ultimately, Baldoni thinks that men need to ask themselves tough questions about their past behavior, as well as actions of others they've turned a blind eye to.
"I just think the system is broken, but thank God we're now at a place where, as gross as it sounds, the infected pimple is finally being popped and healing can actually begin," he explains. "And then the other thing men are going to have to start doing now is recognizing when they did it and didn’t realize it."
"I guarantee, at some point in my life, there is a woman or two that I in some way made uncomfortable by saying something or doing something that was chauvinistic or sexist. There is one million percent probability that that exists, and all I can do is say, 'I’m sorry, I was naive, I was young, I screwed up, and I’ll try to do better,'" he adds.
"The fact is that so many of us men are so terrified of losing our standing with our other male friends or our standing at our jobs because, at the end of the day, it’s a fraternity," Baldoni concludes. "We’ve built in this system—the opposite of accountability—and now it’s time to figure out how, as men, we can break that system, and it starts with showing what a real man is. A real man is someone that says, 'Hey man, we’re still friends, but that’s not cool.'"
Read more from Baldoni's interview here.
His sit-down comes at a time when many in Hollywood are coming forward with their own stories of sexual misconduct. Watch the video below for more.
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