Because late-2017 was the moment Hollywood finally turned on the basement light and acknowledged all the creeps lurking in the shadows, 2018’s awards season was all about the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. The Golden Globes had an all-black dress code and pins, and several high-profile actresses chose to bring Time’s Up activists as their dates. At the Oscars, Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, and Annabella Sciorra presented an award together. It was all very pro-woman. Except according to Thandie Newton’s recent comments about it, it sounds like there might have been a maximum capacity limit to the girl power parade.
A few years ago, Thandie told a gross story about an audition that happened when she first started acting as a teen. A director asked her to return for a second audition, during which he allegedly asked her to sit with her legs apart while he positioned a video camera at her skirt, and asked her to touch her breasts and perform her dialogue as though she was thinking of someone she just had sex with. Three years later, Thandie was approached by a producer at Cannes who creepily told her he’d “seen her recently.” According to Thandie, she later discovered that the director had been playing the video for his friends after poker games at his house, and that they were all getting off on it.
Thandie’s story was the kind of textbook misconduct that Hollywood was finally tackling head-on. So you might think she’d be included in the #MeToo and Time’s Up conversations. But Thandie recently told The Telegraph (via Vulture) that she was shut out from participating in the Time’s Up movement in any official capacity.
“I wasn’t hot enough,” she explained, saying her relative level of fame was the likely factor for being eschewed. “I wasn’t mainstream enough and I wasn’t going to be at the Oscars this year, even though I am having a renaissance in my career.”
She adds that not being asked to participate felt “very painful.” Thandie claims that speaking out in 2013 left her briefly “ostracized” in Hollywood, which we know now used to be a common response when someone pushed back against shitty behavior. Thandie says she only ever spoke out as a warning to any young women getting into the business.
Thandie is one of the stars of Westworld, so she isn’t exactly a no-name actress. And it’s not like she wasn’t popular enough to participate in the beginning. A quick peek at the list of women who signed the Time’s Up open letter published by The New York Times and La Opinion shows Thandie’s name on it. Although, it should be noted that Time’s Up had it spelled as “Thandi“. I don’t know for sure if Hollywood’s branch of Time’s Up is picky about fame levels, but they definitely don’t seem to be snobs about correct spelling.