Last weekend, Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker went on Fresh Air to promote the third season of her current HBO show, Divorce, and wound up recalling that she was once harassed on set (of which project she didn’t say) by a “very, very big movie star.” This came up in the context of a larger discussion about how the #MeToo movement has recently caused her to reassess her experiences working in the entertainment industry over the past few decades, and all the misogynist conduct she has endured. The actress told host Terry Gross:
It really wasn’t, I would say, until about six or eight months ago that I started recognizing countless experiences of men behaving poorly, inappropriately, and all the ways that I had made it possible to keep coming to work or to remain on set, or to simply … just push it down, push it away, find a little space for it and move on.
Parker said that upon further reflection she rarely felt she had the power to speak out about harassment and other inappropriate behavior at work, even once she’d attained the level of fame she now enjoys:
I think no matter how evolved or how modern I thought I was … I didn’t feel entirely in a position — no matter what my role was on set — I didn’t feel as powerful as the man who was behaving inappropriately, which … strikes me as just stunning to say out loud because there were plenty of occasions where it was happening and I was in a different position and I was as powerful. I mean, I had every right to say, “This is inappropriate.” I could have felt safe in going to a superior.
As for the unnamed co-star who she says harassed her, Parker revealed that in this case she finally asked her agent to intervene and was surprised that the resolution of the conflict came about swiftly:
I will say, when there was a situation with somebody and I did go to my agent — because I felt I was no longer able to convey how uncomfortable this was making me, how inappropriate it was … within hours everything had changed. … He said to them, “If this continues, I have sent her a ticket, a one-way ticket out of this city” — where I was shooting — “and she will not be returning.”
Parker said that while things weren’t perfect on set in the aftermath of that confrontation, “I didn’t have to listen to jokes about me or my figure or what people thought they could talk me into doing … That stopped.”