Jessica Chastain apologizes for Thandie Newton feeling excluded from Time’s Up

Thandie Newton, 45, told her #MeToo story years ago, before it became a movement. She was exploited by a director who made her masturbate for the camera under some sh-tty pretense. The director saved the recording and showed it to men at parties. It was awful, she was exploited and she had to live with the fact that the video had been seen by who knows how many people. She also revealed, back in 2011, that she’d been in a relationship at just 16 with a 39 year-old director. In a recent interview, Thandie brought up the fact that she hadn’t been asked to join the Times Up movement and called it “very painful” considering the fact that she’d been open about her own experiences. Here’s what she said:

“I have been an activist for 20 years. It’s been a long time coming…

“I certainly agitated for it to happen sooner, but no one was interested and people thought I was a bummer. Even my publicist told me to stop talking about it because it was bad for my reputation.” Newton, 45, says she was abused during an audition aged 18, and has spoken of being “coerced” into a relationship with a much older film director.

I wasn’t seen as a f—able member of a movie set and I was passed over for roles because of it… I was ostracised because I wouldn’t stop talking about it.”

“When Time’s Up was put together, to not be invited to be a part of it, was very, very painful… It’s hard for me, as someone who has been talking about it for a long time… it’s lonely.

“[I wasn't asked because] I wasn’t hot enough. I wasn’t mainstream enough and I wasn’t going to be at the Oscars this year, even though I am having a kind of renaissance in my career.”

[From The Herald Sun via The Telegraph]

It’s clear that Thandie felt left out and like her story wasn’t valued or heard. She said she was hurt. Someone pointed this interview to Jessica Chastain, and she apologized to Thandie. Amber Tamblyn got all pissy, as she is wont to do when someone has an opinion that doesn’t precisely mirror hers. Here are their tweets [via People]

Jessica handled this the right way. She made it clear that Times Up was more of a grassroots movement and wasn’t an invitation-only organization. She also explained how she got involved. Amber, on the other hand, acted like she was personally offended, like Thandie was wrong to bring it up and was setting them back or something. Amber needs to put a cork in it and not act like she’s the hardest working activist ever. There’s room for everyone and they’re all on the same side. She should have told Thandie she was sorry she felt excluded, maybe even say she must have misunderstood how it started, but it’s obnoxious to say they shouldn’t even be talking about it. I’m sure these women reached out to each other somehow and no one did that for Thandie.

I agree with this tweet below telling Amber and Jessica to fix this now that it’s been brought to their attention. It’s not about telling Thandie she was wrong to be hurt it’s about recognizing her feelings and being more inclusive. I can’t imagine the bullsh-t cliques that these Hollywood women have to deal with. It sounds worse than high school.

Also I finally watched Westworld’s Season two premiere and Thandie is the standout as always. She’s amazing.

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54 Responses to “Jessica Chastain apologizes for Thandie Newton feeling excluded from Time’s Up”

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  1. Renee says:

    Not surprising that Amber somehow felt the need to express that she was “disheartened”. She seems to like to make it more about herself than others.

    • Purpleandwhite says:

      I agree. Jessica seems to get the tone right. Isn’t Amber’s hubby, David Cross, a proven racist? Shouldn’t the “hardest working activist around” be calling her husband out? I love Jessica and Thandie, both in films and as public figures.

  2. BaronSamedi says:

    I do love the message of the last tweet. I was afraid this would all just once more devolve into calls for Time’s Up to be #cancelled which really wouldn’t help anyone.

    I agree: Just invite them NOW, make room for those people who feel they can’t just show up – who might not have the phone number of anyone involved or might just not be the first person you think of.

    I can imagine that many of the front and center faces of Time’s Up simply had not heard about Thandie’s story. I certainly hadn’t.

    • HK9 says:

      Yes. Her challenge to them to ‘Fix the problem’ is important because there’s a reason Thandie felt she couldn’t just show up-it’s time to look at what that is.

      • Bridget says:

        I don’t think it’s nefarious, or specific hierarchy. I think it’s just important to remember that not everyone is someone who will feel comfortable speaking up and demanding to be included. Everyone has different boundaries, and this is a great reminder that if they don’t see someone it’s because she may feel that she needs to be invited. In I don’t think it’s nefarious, or specific hierarchy. I think it’s just important to remember that not everyone is someone who will feel comfortable speaking up and demanding to be included. Everyone has different boundaries, and this is a great reminder that if they don’t see someone it’s because she may feel that she needs to be invited. In general, a personal invitation is a VERY powerful thing – we all want to be wanted and included.

      • Shotcaller says:

        But let’s be honest about why many woc can not take their inclusion for granted, whether they arevnaturally reticent or not.

      • Bridget says:

        I don’t disagree. And that adds another layer to it – Thandie came forward before Times Up was a thing. She didn’t get the righteous indignation on her behalf, and we can’t deny that black women’s abuse isn’t taken as seriously as white women’s (otherwise R Kelly would be rotting in a jail cell). It may not have been intentional, but I can absolutely see how she felt excluded.

  3. Ferdinand says:

    I’ve always loved Thandie’s work in Guy Ritchie movies. But she’s killing it in WestWorld. One of the best in that show by far.

  4. Umyeah says:

    It sucks that Thandie felt left out but im wondering if anyone was “invited” or if it was a matter of who came forward to try and help, i dont know what the situation was so just wondering. Once again women are pitted against each other, sighhhhhh

    • KLO says:

      Yeah, I think Jessica gave an adequate response.
      I also feel for Thandie because it is tough to go through something and never get support and just a little bit later see someone else get loads of support and acknowledgement for the exact same issue.
      Thandie will be ok. I also think it was good that she expressed how she felt. I personally DO remember very well that she spoke about having an “affair” as a teenager with a much older director and developing an eating disorder because of it.

      I did hear your story, Thandie. Even when you were alone. Thank you for speaking up.

    • KLO says:

      @Umyeah I can`t forget how Lena Dunham got ostracized by the commenters here for trying to join the other women at some #TimesUp event because she was not “invited” or “hadn`t done the work” etc

      So yeah, It is not wrong to assume that some people would perceive #TimesUp kind of as an “invites only” event.

      • Alisha says:

        @KLO Lena got criticized because she only showed up for the photo op. She is also not a friend to the timesup movement. She publicly criticized a victim and defended the accuser by saying “well he never acted that way with ME.” She also once got caught lying when falsely accusing someone. She was clearly only there for publicity. I think it is fine to call her out for that.

      • Bridget says:

        Let’s not use Lena Dunham as an example of anything.

      • Merritt says:

        Lena tried to discredit Aurora Perrineau. It was gross and proved Lena is not someone who should be a part of it.

      • Shark Bait says:

        Lena wrote passages in her own book about predatory (by her own admission) behavior towards her little sister. SHE chose to include that in HER own book. She also smeared Aurora Perrineau and defended Aurora’s accused rapist because she knew him “a half decade.” She also said many offensive things and refused to apologize and learn from them.
        Then Lena decides she wants to go to a photo op for Times Up and pose with women of color. THAT is why Lena was called out. And Amber Tamblyn is Lena lite IMO.

    • QueenB says:

      Stop it with the women pitted against each other. Thats always coming out when white women get called out. You could have also said: Its again white women only focusing on themselves and getting hyper defensive when called out. This isnt pitting anyone against each other, its valid criticism.

      • Umyeah says:

        Ok chill, many women of color were included in the #metoo movement. As YOU mention below Asia also felt excluded and she is a white woman. Maybe instead of crticizing the fact she wasn’t specifically invited Thandie could have offered her help to the movement.

      • Athyrmose says:

        @queenb That’s white feminism for you. Also seeing it, unsurprisingly, in some of the responses to your comment. They will never learn to be intersectional.

      • Umyeah says:

        @athyrmose facts are facts but your reply speaks volumes.

      • Bridget says:

        I disagree with that assessment. For example, Jessica Chastain has proven herself someone that is ready and willing to listen and learn – and as we saw with Octavia Spencer, put her money where her mouth is. It’s not a perfect movement, as Amber is so helpfully demonstrating.

        I do however also disagree with the idea that Thandie speaking up is pitting women against each other. Her feelings are valid. Even if it wasn’t intentional, she is telling us that she feels like her voice wasn’t wanted. The last thing we need to do is silence her.

      • Shark Bait says:

        Thandie and Asia are giving legit criticisms to the movement. Legitimate and non hateful criticism can help things to become better. Even though Jessica can be problematic sometimes, or act as if she is skewing towards white feminism, she still acts as if she is willing to listen and grow from this.
        Amber is running her mouth and being smug. Instead of taking the criticism to heart and using it to better the movement, she is being reactionary and spiteful.

  5. QueenB says:

    A movement lead by super privileged people that picked their jobs based on their need for attention and money will always have problems. Its not too surprising that they pull rank and make it all about the A-listers.
    I think Jessica means well in general but she often looks very tone deaf and in this case like she is trying to defend herself instead of engaging Asia.

    And Amber Tamblyn needs to STFU forever. What a thoroughly obnoxious person.

    • Tiffany says:

      For people who were wondering why she and David are together. Well…..

      • QueenB says:

        Ugh he is such trash. He just also defended Jeffrey Tambor. Amber is just way too self important and the company she keeps (Hi @ your good friend Quentin for whom she acted like a spokesperson) is very telling. And her anti semitism…

    • Shark Bait says:

      QueenB, I really actively dislike her. Travelling pants girls, please come collect your sister.

  6. Bridget says:

    Someone says that they felt excluded, whether intentionally or not. It’s not rocket science – you tell them that they’re wanted and valued and then invite them to stuff. It’s not that hard.

    Not everyone feels comfortable asking to join in; we all have different social boundaries, especially when it comes to people that you may not know well. Some people prefer to be invited. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s also to remember that victims of sexual abuse may have different boundaries.

  7. Neha says:

    I feel bad for Thandie and think that Amblyn’s reaction was unnecessary, but I also don’t really think she’s wrong. I don’t think people were “invited” and I think that can cause problems, when you’re inviting someone to join a moment talking about their sexual assault, when they might not want to or be ready. It’s possibly putting (unintentional) pressure on them and I don’t know if inviting women to speak out is really the best route. I think it’s best just to say “we want to hear everyone’s stories whenever they’re ready to speak” and have all different types of women at the forefront, so more feel comfortable and safe joining in.

  8. Jussie says:

    I think Thandie is being a little odd about this. She was invited at the start, she couldn’t make it, and she apparently never tried to get involved again after that. There were dozens of open houses throughout awards season, agencies have been connecting people, and many actresses just started talking about Times Up on their own. It’s not a private club. She could have gone ahead and held her own Times Up events if she’d wanted to!

    There’s a real mix of actresses involved in Times Up. Some A-list, some barely B-list, some hot right now, some who haven’t had any success in quite some time. The A-list actresses got it off the ground, because they donated a lot of money, but there’s been plenty of people at Thandie’s level or lower heavily involved.

    • Jenns says:

      That tweet was to Asia Argento, not Thandie, who also explained she had not idea what the lunch was for.

  9. Jenns says:

    That top tweet is to Asia Argento, who apparently felt a similar way. She tweeted after it that she was unable to make it to the lunch Chastain invited her to, saying she thought it was just lunch, not the beginnings of the movement. I wonder if women unable to make it to informal gatherings (or unaware of what was happening) were then not included in the more formal ones. That’s happened to me at work, and it’s hurtful. It’s kind of a bummer to have to chase down someone and say, can I come too?

    I agree with Bridget. People felt left out. Ask Thandie why she felt that way, ask what you can do so she doesn’t feel that way, because I’m sure there are many women feeling the same. Implement her suggestions to make sure more women on the sidelines feel included (I think “invited” is a poor choice of words). Put out more chairs. DON’T tell her that her feelings are invalidated because you think that it’s obvious everyone is included. Amber Tamblin needs to listen for listening, not wait until the person stops talking so she can begin again.

    • Down and Out says:

      “I wonder if women unable to make it to informal gatherings (or unaware of what was happening) were then not included in the more formal ones. That’s happened to me at work, and it’s hurtful. It’s kind of a bummer to have to chase down someone and say, can I come too?”

      I relate to this so much. Also I think that sort of mentality has perpetuated a lot of doors being closed for women in terms of professional networking as we are (generalization, here) less socially aggressive. My male boss never saw anything wrong with grabbing drinks with the men of the office, but he didn’t see how those happy hours translated into real opportunities being offered to male colleagues because of the perception they are somehow more engaged or more of a team player. So it’s disheartening to see that attitude recycled in the Times Up movement.

  10. MellyMel says:

    I read the whole exchange between Jessica, Thandie, Asia Aregento and Amber. Amber came off like an ass who didn’t want to hear that two victims and woc didn’t feel welcome or invited to the Times Up campaign. They felt left out and instead of listening to them, she calls what I felt like was constructive criticism, a disheartening dialogue. Girl bye!

  11. Mina says:

    I believe and support Thandie Newton completely BUT I take exception with one thing she said: that she wasn’t “hot” enough. The woman is and has always been breathtakingly beautiful. Love her.

  12. Lizzie says:

    amber tamblyn has lost the thread on this message. completely.

    she needs to take a breather b/c she is alienating people.

  13. Merritt says:

    A lot of women, particularly those in low income jobs feel excluded. There was a report on it with Diane Sawyer last week.

    • Shark Bait says:

      Honestly, I’ve been down that road and it’s not as easy as “go to HR” or “quit and find another job.” Then you get victim shamed/blamed about why you stayed at the job or why didn’t you speak out. I’d love for someone like Amber Tamblyn or Lena Dunham, heck even Jessica (who I like and I think she has good intentions) to take a backseat and help to get those stories out there.

  14. Digital Unicorn says:

    Thandie’s story just gets me every time I hear about it, esp as she knew that this director was showing it at parties as entertainment – name and shame him.

    • bella says:

      I hadn’t heard that story about when she was first starting out, but just reading it, makes me sick. I can not image how this must have affected her! This director is a monster. I have a feeling that he is still working and is why he wasn’t named.

  15. Nicole says:

    This is why I cannot with Amber either anymore. Her response was frankly ridiculous and insulting. Yet something I expect from white feminists. She with a questionable dude anyways so I side-eye her involvement.

  16. lucy2 says:

    I was under the impression this was grass roots thing, and that people who wanted to be involved should reach out and let that be known, rather than expect an invitation. But who knows.
    No one should feel excluded from this conversation, and if Thandie, Asia, and others felt they were, that’s terrible, and I hope they feel they can participate now. We need everyone on this, working together.

    I don’t remember hearing Thandie’s story before about the video, that is horrific, and I’m so sorry that she’s gone through that. And when she has the courage to speak out about it, they tried to shut her down further. Infuriating.

  17. Ali says:

    This is getting a little ridiculous. Good grief, act like adults and not children bickering during recess about feeling left out.

  18. Kitten says:

    That is literally one of the crappiest responses Amber could have come up with. She basically shamed Thandie for her very valid feelings about being excluded. Gross.

  19. Jenn says:

    Can’t stand Tamblyns response. Yuck. Chastains was gracious.

    I’ve always appreciated Thandie Newton sharing her stories before #metoo. There are other women who have told stories before #metoo like Jewel the singer, Jessica Alba, Robin Wright and of course Dylan Farrow pop into my mind.

    Newton’s experiences especially being sexually expolited in that way as an African American in a white society (Australia) as well as a minor – I think they continue to haunt her and she was extremely brave to share them especially before #metoo.

    So I understand why she wanted an invitation in a way … though people can be brave they can still be tender and vulnerable about their stories —- like I bet she would have liked that respect and affirmation that she had been heard and appreciated for being a forerunner. But most people kind of forget forerunners and their bravery.

  20. IsaidwhatIsaid says:

    Amber acts like she’s the CEO of the #timesup brand! STFU, Amber! Have a seat, Amber! Your actions are going to destroy the movement if you can’t learn to act mature and be respectful to other women. Maybe it’s time for Amber to have a #timeout until she learns to behave.

  21. HollyGo says:

    But Thandie is the one disparaging the movement, and while Chastain put it more eloquently, she’s right. It was exactly what I thought when I first read what Thandie said. There was no ‘they’ in this. Women took the initiative to get involved. To start things. There was nothing stopping Thandie from doing either. No one received an invitation. And while she’s probably in the states for Westworld, she’s British. Frankly, the UK could have used someone like her at that time. Still could.