Molly Ringwald Recalls Years of Sexual Harassment Early in Her Career

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Molly Ringwald. Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

In an essay for The New Yorker, Molly Ringwald details the sexual harassment she encountered on sets throughout her career at the hands of directors and crew members. “When I was thirteen, a fifty-year-old crew member told me that he would teach me to dance, and then proceeded to push against me with an erection. At fourteen, a married film director stuck his tongue in my mouth on set,” Ringwald writes. “In my twenties, I was blindsided during an audition, when I was asked by the director, in a somewhat rhetorical manner, to let the lead actor put a dog collar around my neck. This was not even remotely in the pages I had studied … The actor was a friend of mine, and I looked in his eyes with panic. He looked back at me with an ‘I’m really sorry’ expression on his face as his hands reached out toward my neck.”

One example sticks out because of its link to the Harvey Weinstein scandal: While Ringwald says Weinstein kept it professional on the set of the one film they did together, she did have a negative experience with an executive who has recently called him out in the wake of the latest accusations. When Movieline profiled Ringwald in September 1995, this exec gave an inappropriate quote: “In that article, the head of a major studio — and, incidentally, someone who claims himself to be horrified by the Harvey allegations — was quoted as saying, ‘I wouldn’t know [Molly Ringwald] if she sat on my face,’” the actress recalls. “I was twenty-four at the time. Maybe he was misquoted. If he ever sent a note of apology, it must have gotten lost in the mail.” That exec? Looks like it’s former Dreamworks chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who told Variety Weinstein was a monster.

Update: On Wednesday, Jeffrey Katzenberg apologized to Molly Ringwald for that Movieline quote, and suggested that he didn’t say it. “That Molly Ringwald had to read those words attributed to me and believe I said them is horrifying, mortifying and embarrassing to me,” Katzenberg wrote in a statement to the Wrap. “Anyone who knows me now or back then knows I do not use language like that as a matter of course, or tolerate it. Ms. Ringwald, 22 years too late, I am deeply, deeply sorry.”

Molly Ringwald Recalls Sexual Harassment Early in Her Career