Chloe Sevigny describes being sexually harassed by various directors


Here are some photos of Chloe Sevigny in Cannes this week. She’s been promoting various projects, plus she’s just been attending premieres and having fun. On the red carpet, she’s been wearing all Chanel, and many of the pieces are things that she owns, not borrowed. I was going to write about Chloe earlier this week when I read her Guardian interview, but other stuff came up and I sort of forgot about it. Her Guardian piece was good – go here. She talks about how long she’s been working, and how she’s grown to loathe “auteur” directors and the preciousness that comes with working with self-described artistic geniuses. It seems like Chloe is feeling particularly gossipy these days, because in her sit-down with Variety, she ended up talking about all of the times directors sexually harassed her or said inappropriate, unprofessional things to her. Some assorted quotes:

Directors crossing the line: “I’ve had the ‘what are you doing after this?’ conversation. I’ve also had the ‘do you want to go shopping and try on some clothes and, like, I can buy you something in the dressing room’ [conversation]. Just like crossing the line weirdness.” At another point, the actress remembered, a director told her, “‘You should show your body off more. You shouldn’t wait until you’re as old as this certain actress who had just been naked in a film, you should be naked on screen now….If you know my career, I’ve been naked in every movie.”

Other actresses might have had different reactions: “If you’re young and impressionable and really want the part, it might be a tempting avenue, but I hope not…”

Was it sexual harassment? “I would consider it Hollywood. Was it sexual harassment? It’s such a fine line.”

Men vs women: “When women on set become a little emotional, or impassioned even, they’re labeled as hysterical or crazy and have a hard time getting hired again. The double standard of the man being the wild, crazy, mad director is so embraced. We have to allow women to act out… and just be ourselves.”

She believes actresses are saddled with inferior material, and name-checks the flop ‘The Huntsman’: “It has those three great actresses and then the male lead [Chris Hemsworth], but I was just like they should have had better material for those ladies. Now that movie probably, I don’t think is performing well, and then will they make another movie with three great powerful women after that?”

She still stands by The Brown Bunny: “I’d probably still do it today. I believe in Vincent [Gallo] as an artist and I stand by the film. It was a subversive act. It was a risk. And I think it was a way of me staying outside the business in a weird way, but also doing what I want to do in the business.”

[From Page Six]

One could probably write a master’s thesis on the sexism around The Brown Bunny – while Vincent Gallo’s career never really recovered, Sevingy is the one still getting questions about the film all of these years later. Gallo seemed like a pervert who used his “art” to take advantage of women, and yet… Chloe has always maintained that she went into the project with her eyes wide open, and those were her choices as an actress. It’s legitimately complicated.

As for the rest of it… I think some of her stories do constitute sexual harassment, but I also understand what she means about the fine line. While there’s an inherent power inequality with a director hitting on a young actress, some of the time it might just be considered “flirtation” or genuine interest/attraction by both parties, and it’s a mutual choice. But the whole “I’ll buy you clothes” thing… gross.


Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

30 Responses to “Chloe Sevigny describes being sexually harassed by various directors”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Pamels says:

    A little off-topic, She seems youthful without trying to be young.

  2. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    It is a fine line. I think in order for an act to constitute sexual harassment, it has to create a hostile work environment? So one questionable or inappropriate comment wouldn’t be sexual harassment, but continued comments would be, or an actual sexual advance would be. I think once you have said “that makes me uncomfortable – stop it,” anything that continues would be harassment. Regardless, it’s unprofessional and gross and we shouldn’t have to tolerate it. It just seems to be very widespread in certain industries.

    • HH says:

      With the single line quotes she gave, I agree that it’s a little more nuanced as to whether it’s sexual harassment. I just wish people would understand the concept of being in a position of power and not even taking those risks. With movies and such, these aren’t permanent work environments (such as the average 9-5).. If the director/producer (or whomever) wanted to date an actress they could wait until the project is over.

    • ladysussex says:

      Agreed, GNAT. I, like most women in the workplace, experienced what I would consider to be sexual harassment, but was too young, inexperienced, and not worldly-wise enough to know how to deal with it. If I could go back in time, I’d know better to say “Hey, I’m not comfortable with that, please don’t do/say that kind of thing again.”
      But on a lighter note, the fine line is comically portrayed in an SNL skit starring Tom Brady
      What it amounts to is that she was attracted to Vincent Gallo. So when he said “It will be so artistic and groundbreaking if you give me a xyz on film while I fondle your breasts” and she was like “Ok, yeah cool!”. She was not attracted to the director who said “Hey, what are you doing after work?” and therefore, ewwww! It’s sexual harassment.

    • Nike says:

      This. I’ve been in that situation. Repeated advances after requests to stop define harassment. It took me a long time to come forward, and I was ostracized afterwards. Even had a coworker/friend tell me I was wrong to speak up because one of his kids worked with us.

  3. Naya says:

    Chloe has continued to have a career far better than she deserves post her “risk” in Brown Bunny. As far as I am concerned a drugged up auteur director and his dumb muse thought filming a real sex act was such daring Art as if thousands of people arent filming and sharing that with the world every single day. They were both stupid and she is ridiculous if she still stands by that “artistic” (haa!) choice.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      I haven’t seen the film, I’ve never even heard of the film, I mainly know Chloe from Boys Don’t Cry and Big Love, but why was it so problematic? If everyone was consenting? I mean, I personally probably wouldn’t watch a movie where an actual sex act is happening, and it is trashy, but I don’t really get why it’s so problematic their careers should be ruined?

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Also haven’t seen it or even heard of it and am curious about all of Locke’s questions, too.

      • Naya says:

        Her career WASNT ruined. His career is of course over in any meaningful sense and rightfully so.

        Why should her career have been ruined too? Because Brown Bunny remains at the top of the list of most “pretentious and yet outright awful” films of all time. Its a bad baaaaaaaaad film and even without that scene, should have ended both their careers. Thats what happens when you make a bad film.

        As for the scene, the fact that she actually believed that there was any Art in blowing the director on screen, should tell you this woman knows nothing about Art. I read an article about how their camp tried to peddle it as a brave choice, like they should win festival awards because “how brave”. By that logic Chloe should be at the forefront campaigning for Kim Kardashians sex tape to win a Palme d’Or. I havent seen the Kardashian movie but it cant be much worse than Brown Bunny.

      • Truthful says:

        Intimacy by Patrice chéreau is an another movie, where actors are performing a real sex act… and it is a masterpiece … but hey it’s Chéreau. I don’t think it’s problematic as long as everyone was consenting… even the public that pays to see such a movie.

        In Chéreau movie it’s not trashy at all, it’s kind of digging the whole” intimacy” questioning .

      • Nike says:

        All you need to know^

        Could throw in a link to Gallo selling his sperm/escort services online, but it’s probably unnecessary.

    • Jenna says:

      Do you not think there’s something fundamentally wrong with saying that because you didn’t like a movie, the people involved in it should lose their careers? Like what even is that?

      She wanted to do it, the movie exists, her career hasn’t suffered since, and she still stands by it. Who cares?

      • Raven says:

        You should really just watch the movie Jenna. It’s not a normal movie.

        He rides a motorcycle around in circles, then gets a blow job at the end. That is the entire movie. I am not kidding or exaggerating.

  4. Nicole says:

    Yes it’s a fine line. The clothes one definitely screams harassment and general grossness. The asking if they want to go out after work? Eh that seems normal in any environment if they are into you. Now if they get turned down and the set turns into something uncomfortable then both situations are harassment. That’s where the power imbalance comes into play. Also if the director is pressuring newbies into things then again harassment. Either way we know she has a point about men pressuring women so they can keep their work.
    The rest is spot on loved what she said about “hysterical women” vs “artistic directors”. Look at how DOR has had work all these years even after getting into fights on several sets like Three Kings, AH and Joy. If a female director did that she wouldn’t have a career.

  5. tallo says:

    Brave lady I hope she isn’t blacklisted after this

  6. Miss M says:

    I thought She was his girlfriend when they shot the brown bunnie, wasn’t she?!
    I never saw the movie, but I heard it had real sex scenes, non?

    • Don't kill me I'm French says:

      She was not his girlfriend at this time but I read they used some prothestic and her real boyfriend to film THE scene

      • Miss M says:

        Thank you for the clarification!

      • Chelly says:

        No. Absolutely no prosthetic was used, it was all him & it was absolutely real. Also, they werent exclusive but were seeing each other. Lastly, there wasnt anyone else but them in the room filming w the use of remote camera(s)

      • Don't kill me I'm French says:

        @Chelly : it is what Claire Denis ( Trouble Every Day’s director) said on the movie.
        In more ,A Dlisted commentary said also ( on the real boyfriend)

      • Naya says:

        They have been peddling away from what happened for years. All through promotion and even after it was screened they said it was the real act between the two of them. The AD confirmed that. When it became clear that nobody was impressed, they began claiming that he wore a prosthetic. There was also the story that the act was real but they were actually a couple at the time of filming so it was ok. Later her actual boyfriend of the time claimed it was him and then backtracked. Its all smoke screen. They thought it would go down as a brave moment in cinema and instead the movie was panned. So of course, they and especially she, have tried to distance themselves.

    • Saks says:

      I might be missing information but I’ll never understand what got people so weird about this movie, like to destroy someone’s career.

      Even if the movie was terrible, both of them knew what they were doing and Chloe has always said she was convinced about it, and it is not the first movie to feature real sex on screen. I mean it is hardly the first film to be bad and gross.

  7. Chelly says:

    I remember the hit she took for the Brown Bunny. Idk if that was the smartest thing to do (i found it somewhat distasteful) but if it was 100% her decision & did it for the “sake of art” then she shouldnt continue to be judged or harassed by others for it.

  8. Talie says:

    A lot of people said her career would be over after Brown Bunny, but she only went UP. She definitely has great longevity for being outside the mainstream for so long. I mean, compare her with someone similar like Parker Posey.

  9. Bettyrose says:

    Never heard of Brown Bunny. I really only know her from Big Love, but we saw plenty of her goods in that show. Not sure why a director would think she hasn’t dobe lots of nude scenes.

    Really mixed feelings about her. She always comes across as smug and entitled to me.

    In one interview, she was asked something like what advice would she have for someone interested in a career like hers, and she basically said leave the comfort of your posh suburban upbringing and move to Manhattan. Like, she ‘s so enmeshed in privilege that she’s truly unaware not everyone grew up like her.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      I’ve seen her in a lot of films and a few tv shows, and I’ve always felt that we’re supposed to take her seriously as an actress because she’s all hipster and not conventionally attractive. To me, she’s just a clotheshorse who is a pretty awful actress, except in one or two films I’ve seen her in, and is very very pretentious and out of touch.

      But no one deserves to be sexually harassed, and I’m glad she’s speaking out about it.

  10. Coconut says:

    I remember when she was first the “it girl.” She reminds me of Alexa Chung, but with a film career. I don’t remember too much of her films but she was good in Boys Don’t Cry and American Psycho.

  11. Karla says:

    There’s something about Chloe that I really love.

    She has this aura of masculinity and she’s very non conformist and doesn’t seem to give much of a S what people say or think of her.