Oscar winner Octavia Spencer has advised young actresses to keep a fork in their purse, so they can attack Hollywood predators without killing them.
The Help star has become the latest actress to heap praise on the women who are using last month’s (Oct17) Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal to speak out about abuse and harassment in the industry.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman, Natasha Henstridge, and Rose McGowan are among the many stars who have opened up about their sordid experiences in recent weeks, and Spencer has applauded them for coming forward with their stories.
“What people fail to realise is it’s never easy to speak up,” the actress says. “You don’t gain anything by speaking up but you realise that people who are speaking up are regaining a little of the dignity they were robbed of to speak up and to speak out. While it is seriously taxing to read, imagine what it was like for them.”
Octavia believes any actor, director, producer or executive who “holds another person’s dreams hostage” should “lose their livelihood”, but she urges other women not to take a compliment or a friendly gesture too far.
“I think it’s important that we don’t go on witch hunts…,” she adds. “I’m all for this airing out, but I think we have to be careful in ‘such and such smiled at me’ situations and stop digging… I believe in flirting. I’m a big flirt. It’s one thing to flirt. But if the person doesn’t respond, you don’t make physical contact. You don’t keep pushing the situation. It means they’re not interested.”
And she suggests all actresses should make sure they are armed if they ever find themselves alone with a Hollywood heavyweight who acts inappropriately.
“I tell every woman I know to keep a fork in your purse,” she explains. “A knife is too dangerous but a fork will give you enough umph because you can grab it to get away; hit a vital organ without killing anybody. Keep a fork in your purse!”