Actress Ellen Page, in a scathing, extended Facebook post on
Friday, says director Brett Ratner outed her on the set
of “X Men: The Last Stand,” and verbally abused her. She also
says working for director Woody Allen (2012’s “To Rome
With Love”) is “the biggest regret of my career.”
Elsewhere in the post,
she describes being harassed as a 16-year-old actress, and
condemns anyone complicit in the protection of Bill Cosby, Roman
Polanski and Harvey Weinstein.
Ratner was accused in an Los Angeles Times story
earlier this month of sexual harassment or misconduct by six
women. The Times reporter has since said that numerous
other women have contacted him with similar claims. Ratner has
denied the allegations.
After Page’s post, actress Anna Paquin tweeted that she witnessed
Ratner’s comment. “I stand with you,” Paquin wrote.
Here is her entire post (but it’s worth checking it out on
Facebook for the conversation in comments, which include director
James Gunn writing a simple “Thank you, friend”):
“’You should f–k her to make her realize she’s gay.’ He said
this about me during a cast and crew ‘meet and greet’ before we
began filming, X Men: The Last Stand. I was eighteen years old.
He looked at a woman standing next to me, ten years my senior,
pointed to me and said: ‘You should f–k her to make her
realize she’s gay.’ He was the film’s director, Brett Ratner.
I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself. I knew
I was gay, but did not know, so to speak. I felt violated when
this happened. I looked down at my feet, didn’t say a word and
watched as no one else did either. This man, who had cast me in
the film, started our months of filming at a work event with
this horrific, unchallenged plea. He ‘outed’ me with no regard
for my well-being, an act we all recognize as homophobic. I
proceeded to watch him on set say degrading things to women. I
remember a woman walking by the monitor as he made a comment
about her ‘flappy pussy.’
We are all entitled to come into an awareness of our sexual
orientation privately and on our own terms. I was young and
although already a working actor for so long I had in many ways
been insulated, growing up on film sets instead of surrounded
by my peers. This public, aggressive outing left me with long
standing feelings of shame, one of the most destructive results
of homophobia. Making someone feel ashamed of who they are is a
cruel manipulation, designed to oppress and repress. I was
robbed of more than autonomy over my ability to define myself.
Ratner’s comment replayed in my mind many times over the years
as I encountered homophobia and coped with feelings of
reluctance and uncertainty about the industry and my future in
it. The difference is that I can now assert myself and use my
voice to to fight back against the insidious queer and
transphobic attitude in Hollywood and beyond. Hopefully having
the position I have, I can help people who may be struggling to
be accepted and allowed to be who they are –to thrive.
Vulnerable young people without my advantages are so often
diminished and made to feel they have no options for living the
life they were meant to joyously lead.
I got into an altercation with Brett at a certain point. He was
pressuring me, in front of many people, to don a t-shirt with
‘Team Ratner’ on it. I said no and he insisted. I responded, ‘I
am not on your team.’ Later in the day, producers of the film
came to my trailer to say that I ‘couldn’t talk like that to
him.’ I was being reprimanded, yet he was not being punished
nor fired for the blatantly homophobic and abusive behavior we
all witnessed. I was an actor that no one knew. I was eighteen
and had no tools to know how to handle the situation.
I have been a professional actor since the age of ten. I’ve had
the good fortune to work with many honorable and respectful
collaborators both behind and in front of the camera. But the
behavior I’m describing is ubiquitous. They (abusers), want you
to feel small, to make you insecure, to make you feel like you
are indebted to them, or that your actions are to blame for
their unwelcome advances.
When I was sixteen a director took me to dinner (a professional
obligation and a very common one). He fondled my leg under the
table and said, ‘You have to make the move, I can’t.’ I did not
make the move and I was fortunate to get away from that
situation. It was a painful realization: my safety was not
guaranteed at work. An adult authority figure for whom I worked
intended to exploit me, physically. I was sexually assaulted by
a grip months later. I was asked by a director to sleep with a
man in his late twenties and to tell them about it. I did not.
This is just what happened during my sixteenth year, a teenager
in the entertainment industry.
Look at the history of what’s happened to minors who’ve
described sexual abuse in Hollywood. Some of them are no longer
with us, lost to substance abuse and suicide. Their
victimizers? Still working. Protected even as I write this. You
know who they are; they’ve been discussed behind closed doors
as often as Weinstein was. If I, a person with significant
privilege, remain reluctant and at such risk simply by saying a
person’s name, what are the options for those who do not have
what I have?
Let’s remember the epidemic of violence against women in our
society disproportionately affects low income women,
particularly women of color, trans and queer women and
indigenous women, who are silenced by their economic
circumstances and profound mistrust of a justice system that
acquits the guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence and
continues to oppress people of color. I have the means to hire
security if I feel threatened. I have the wealth and insurance
to receive mental health care. I have the privilege of having a
platform that enables me to write this and have it published,
while the most marginalized do not have access to such
resources. The reality is, women of color, trans and queer and
indigenous women have been leading this fight for decades
(forever actually). Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Winona
LaDuke, Miss Major, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, to name a few.
Misty Upham fought tirelessly to end violence against
indigenous women, domestic workers and undocumented women.
Misty was found dead at the bottom of a cliff three years ago.
Her father, Charles Upham, just made a Facebook post saying she
was raped at a party by a Miramax executive. The most
marginalized have been left behind. As a cis, white lesbian, I
have benefited and have the privileges I have, because of these
extraordinary and courageous individuals who have led the way
and risked their lives while doing so. White supremacy
continues to silence people of color, while I have the rights I
have because of these leaders. They are who we should be
listening to and learning from.
These abusers make us feel powerless and overwhelmed by their
empire. Let’s not forget the sitting Supreme Court justice and
President of the United States. One accused of sexual
harassment by Anita Hill, whose testimony was discredited. The
other proudly describing his own pattern of assault to an
entertainment reporter. How many men in the media – titans of
industry – need to be exposed for us to understand the gravity
of the situation and to demand the fundamental safety and
respect that is our right?
Bill Cosby was known to be predatory. The crimes were his, but
many were complicit. Many more chose to look the other way.
Harvey was known to be predatory. The crimes were his, but many
were complicit. Many more chose to look the other way. We
continue to celebrate filmmaker Roman Polanski, who was
convicted of drugging and anally raping a young girl and who
fled sentencing. A fugitive from justice. I’ve heard the
industry decry Weinstein’s behavior and vow to affect
meaningful change. But let’s be truthful: the list is long and
still protected by the status quo. We have work to do. We
cannot look the other way.
I did a Woody Allen movie and it is the biggest regret of my
career. I am ashamed I did this. I had yet to find my voice and
was not who I am now and felt pressured, because “of course you
have to say yes to this Woody Allen film.” Ultimately, however,
it is my choice what films I decide to do and I made the wrong
choice. I made an awful mistake.
I want to see these men have to face what they have done. I
want them to not have power anymore. I want them to sit and
think about who they are without their lawyers, their millions,
their fancy cars, houses upon houses, their ‘playboy’ status
What I want the most, is for this to result in healing for the
victims. For Hollywood to wake up and start taking some
responsibility for how we all have played a role in this. I
want us to reflect on this endemic issue and how this power
dynamic of abuse leads to an enormous amount of suffering.
Violence against women is an epidemic in this country and
around the world. How is this cascade of immorality and
injustice shaping our society? One of the greatest risks to a
pregnant woman’s health in the United States is murder. Trans
women of color in this country have a life expectancy of
thirty-five. Why are we not addressing this as a society? We
must remember the consequences of such actions. Mental health
issues, suicide, eating disorders, substance abuse, to name a
What are we afraid to say and why can’t we say it? Women,
particularly the most marginalized, are silenced, while
powerful abusers can scream as loudly as they want, lie as much
as they want and continue to profit through it all.
This is a long awaited reckoning. It must be. It’s sad that
‘codes of conduct’ have to be enforced to ensure we experience
fundamental human decency and respect. Inclusion and
representation are the answer. We’ve learned that the status
quo perpetuates unfair, victimizing behavior to protect and
perpetuate itself. Don’t allow this behavior to be normalized.
Don’t compare wrongs or criminal acts by their degrees of
severity. Don’t allow yourselves to be numb to the voices of
victims coming forward. Don’t stop demanding our civil rights.
I am grateful to anyone and everyone who speaks out against
abuse and trauma they have suffered. You are breaking the
silence. You are revolution.”