The actress Thandie Newton has spoken out about the abuse that she suffered as a teenager, on a casting couch. The 40 year old British actress was speaking as part of the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence to women. She revealed how she had been exploited by an unnamed director at the age of 16, whilst speaking to a CNN International journalist.

“When I was a 16 year old fresh from boarding school going out in, you know the casting couch, I was definitely objectified to an extreme,” she explained and added “The way I was made to feel. The way I was exploited and the kind of role and the kinds of things I was expected to do in auditions.” When asked whether or not she was abused as a 16 year-old, she responded with a “yes” and added that she did not know how to respond to the situation as it was taking place in a professional environment, with a director (male) and casting director (female) present. The director had ordered Newton to sit with her leg over the arm of the chair, with a camera positioned where it could see up her skirt and instructed her to “think about the character I was supposed to be having the dialogue with and how it felt to be made love to by this person.” 

Thandie Newton

Thandie Newton at the One Billion Rising event, London

Newton later learned that the director “used to show that video late at night to interested parties at his house – a video of me touching myself with a camera up my skirt.” She refused to name the director in question, or to say i she knew whether he was still working in the film industry. 

Thandie Newton

Thandie Newton revealed that she had been abused on the casting couch, as a teenager