On Monday night, Jennifer Lawrence was one of eight honorees at Elle‘s Women in Hollywood event in Los Angeles. She took the opportunity to speak about sexism in Hollywood, and her own degrading experiences as an actress coming up in her career.
In a clip of her speech, Lawrence alleges she was once humiliated by producers over her weight.
“When I was much younger and starting out, I was told by producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks," she says, explaining that another actress had already been fired for not dropping the weight. But that wasn't enough.
“During this time a female producer had me do a nude line-up with about five women who were much, much, thinner than me. We are stood side-by-side with only tape on covering our privates,” she continued. “After that degrading and humiliating line-up, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”
Lawrence says she then went to another producer, this time a man, and complained about her treatment. It didn't go well.
“He said he didn’t know why everyone thought I was so fat, he thought I was ‘perfectly f***able.'”
“I let myself be treated a certain way because I felt I had to for my career,” she continues. “I’m still learning that I don’t have to smile when a man makes me uncomfortable. Every human being should have the power to be treated with respect because they’re human.”
Lawrence shared this story in solidarity with the dozens of women who have come forward about sexual abuse they allegedly experienced at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. Unfortunately, Weinstein is just one of many men who allegedly abuse their positions of power in not only Hollywood, but in industries everywhere. Lawrence also gave a statement to People magazine in support of her fellow actresses:
“I was deeply disturbed to hear the news about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior,” she said. “I worked with Harvey five years ago and I did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did I know about any of these allegations. This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting.”
She continued: “My heart goes out to all of the women affected by these gross actions. And I want to thank them for their bravery to come forward.”
As terrible as stories like Lawrence's are, her effort to speak out may protect the next generation from harassment and abuse. Things need to change, and it's already taken too long.