Zoe Kazan Recalls on-Set Sexual Harassment, Having to Give ‘Blow Job Eyes’ in Auditions

By
Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Image

Another day, another press tour that has an actress detailing gross sexual harassment she’s experienced from male superiors in the entertainment industry. Today’s installment features Zoe Kazan, who is promoting The Big Sick and recently told The Guardian about what it can be like to live while female when you make movies and TV. “There’s so much sexual harassment on set. And there’s no HR department, right? We don’t have a redress. We have our union, but no one ever resorts to that, because you don’t want to get a reputation for being difficult,” says Kazan, who for contrast adds that her longtime boyfriend, Paul Dano, has “never had to deal with that once.”

What, you ask, has Kazan experienced? “I have a lot of girlfriends who are amazing actors, and many times we’ve talked about having to go into a room and give ‘blowjob eyes.’ You know, be flirty with a director or a producer.” Then there’s the classic wardrobe requests: “There’ll be auditions where they’ll say, ‘Wear something body-conscious’ and then you’re aware that they’re checking out your body. You leave the situation feeling not good about what just happened, but you don’t really have the language for why.”

Or how about the time she was asked about her approach to oral sex? “I had a producer ask me on set once if I spat or swallowed. At work. He’d say, ‘Oh, it’s a joke, ha ha.’ But he was also paying my check and then watching me from the monitor as I made out with another actor — so when he tells me I look good, it feels different.”

You can see Kazan in The Big Sick in theaters now, a project she says was “a very clean job for me,” in which “everyone was super respectful.”

Zoe Kazan Shares Stories of Sexual Harassment In Hollywood