Jessica Chastain Says She Feared Speaking Out Against Sexual Harassment Would Affect Her Career

Jessica Chastain
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The 40-year-old actress admitted that her recent Golden Globe nomination came as a surprise.

Jessica Chastain admits that her fifth Golden Globe nomination came as a surprise.

On Monday, the 40-year-old actress was recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for her lead role in Aaron Sorkin's Molly's Game, but tells The New York Times that she feared her outspoken remarks on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry would have a negative affect on her career. 

"To be honest, I'm mainly surprised about my nomination," she confesses. "As an actor, I have a lot of fear, thinking that if I speak my mind, or something that feels like it deviates from the norm as a woman, am I going to be made to disappear in my industry?"

In October, the Times released an expose where numerous women accused former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. 

Not long after the piece was published, Chastain tweeted: "I was warned from the beginning. The stories were everywhere. To deny that is to create an enviornment for it to happen again."

She later went on the Graham Norton Show and shared that a "well-known actor" told her to "calm down" when it came to speaking out about the Weinstein allegations.

"I've got a good group of girlfriends on WhatsApp, and I said, ‘I'm really terrified I'm destroying my career right now. I wonder if people will still see me as an actress, and want to work with knowing I have these opinions,'" she tells the Times.

Fortunately, Chastain's pals were there to support her. "In the way that only good girlfriends can do, they helped me eliminate fear and understand that the only way to change something that's wrong is to change it, not ignore it," she continues. "And rather than saying it's an industry-wide issue, it's more than that. It's a society-wide issue. We can't ignore farm workers or women who have been invisible."

The actress says she's excited for the "new world" where victims of sexual harassment feel like their voices will be heard if they come forward. 

"We've been since birth in a society that makes us feel like we're easily replaceable, that we need to be grateful for any work, and grateful for what we have," she says. "But what that does is it limit our acknowledgment of the power we have, especially when we work together. It's like what Margaret Mead said, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.' And that's what we're doing."

Chastain also bravely spoke to ET last month about harassment in Hollywood. "I want to be a part of an industry that is very inclusive," she proclaimed. "One that teaches empathy, and the only way you do that is, you learn about someone who doesn't look like you. And I think there's a generation of artists that that is their goal."