Dear Black Actress,
By reading the title of this post you already know what I’m going to write you about
The “casting couch” basically refers to the shady and unethical practice of trading sexual favors for professional advancement.
But first let’s get one thing straight- the casting couch is prevalent in ALL industries.
I often like to say “People are people”, by this I mean no matter what profession, gender or creed a person may be there’s good and bad amongst us all.
In our industry the unethical practice of trading sexual favors for professional advancement, happens to have a title “the casting couch”. It is my belief that as a woman unwanted solicitations for sex or sexual favors are something that we’ve encountered at least once before, however it is also my firm belief that there are more people in this industry that are legitimately interested in creating genuine art and content for audiences rather than those who are looking to take advantage.
Years ago I found myself in a situation on set where I was getting unwanted attention from a very important crew member.He was just touching me more than I felt necessary, and I wanted to dismiss it as part of his “eccentric character” but, I was young and was more afraid to offend anyone than to state that I was feeling uncomfortable. I hadn’t found my voice yet. Luckily someone else on set noticed and talked to me about it. Eventually word got out about how I felt about this crew member’s conduct and the producers who were off- location that day came on to the set and had a talk with me. I’m still not sure how word got out, but I’m glad it did. I continued to work with this individual until the end of production and they ended up apologizing for their behavior. Writing this now I just wish that I could have spoken up for myself and just said “I’m not comfortable with this” or “You are making me uncomfortable” or maybe even “I know you probably don’t mean anything by it but when you do that, it makes me feel uncomfortable”… I could word it any number of ways now but I wish I had just said something then.
More recently I found myself on a set that I found to be very unprofessional in terms of how the crew were treating the cast, it was a music video. I despised how one of the crew members made sexually explicit comments and sexist remarks. Needless to say I was pissed the f*** off! I’m more pissed off at myself for not saying anything to him while I heard him talk about the girls in front of and too me. (Yes, he thought it appropriate to tell me his thoughts)
I found myself amongst a group of girls bitching about him later that day. None of us spoke up to him.
Even though these two narratives do not specifically explore the casting couch, I do touch on unwanted sexual exploitation that can exists within the industry. I believe that nothing is worth feeling uncomfortable or taken advantage of and as I continue to navigate my pursuit of success in my career path and work towards establishing my voice, here is a woman who has found hers and is willing to share her story:
What I take away from this post is to trust my gut and to trust in my ability to turn down a job despite my fears in
order to preserve my self worth. The casting couch doesn’t need to be a part of my success. As I mentioned
before the number of professionals willing to provide quality entertainment greatly outnumber those who are
willing to take advantage and conduct themselves in a less than professional manner.
Black Actress, if you have ever found yourself in a compromising position, I just want you to know you are not alone.
Lots of love,
#thandienewton #castingcouch #charliecakes #blackactresscastingcouch #sexualexploitationinhollywood
#thandienewtoncastingcoiuch #hollywoodexploits #sexualharassmentatwork