Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Ellen Page Posts to Facebook About Abuse From Brett Ratner, Calls for Focus Beyond Cis White Actresses

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In a passionate Facebook post on Friday, Ellen Page has alleged that director Brett Ratner verbally abused her on set, and outed her in front of cast and crew. She also claims to have been assaulted on set by a grip, and says that working on a Woody Allen film was an “awful mistake.”

Director Brett Ratner has been accused by at least six women of sexual abuse and misconduct, allegations which he firmly denies. In her post, Page alleges that on the set of X Men: The Last Stand, Ratner made explicit comments about her sexuality:

“You should fuck her to make her realize she’s gay.” He said this about me during a cast and crew “meet and greet” before we began filming, X Men: The Last Stand. I was eighteen years old. He looked at a woman standing next to me, ten years my senior, pointed to me and said: “You should fuck her to make her realize she’s gay.” He was the film’s director, Brett Ratner.

Page says that her relationship with Ratner continued to deteriorate. He pressured her to wear a shirt reading “Team Ratner.” She refused, saying, “I am not on your team.” Producers then approached Page in her trailer and told her she “couldn’t talk like that to him [Ratner].”

I was being reprimanded, yet he was not being punished nor fired for the blatantly homophobic and abusive behavior we all witnessed. I was an actor that no one knew. I was eighteen and had no tools to know how to handle the situation.

In another disturbing section, Page listed multiple altercations she had with men in Hollywood as a 16-year-old, including an assault:

When I was sixteen a director took me to dinner (a professional obligation and a very common one). He fondled my leg under the table and said, “You have to make the move, I can’t.” I did not make the move and I was fortunate to get away from that situation. It was a painful realization: my safety was not guaranteed at work. An adult authority figure for whom I worked intended to exploit me, physically. I was sexually assaulted by a grip months later. I was asked by a director to sleep with a man in his late twenties and to tell them about it. I did not. This is just what happened during my sixteenth year, a teenager in the entertainment industry.

Woody Allen hired Ellen Page for his film To Rome With Love in 2012. Page writes joining the cast is the “biggest regret” of her career. She claims to be ashamed of her choice, but adds that she felt pressure from people insisting “of course you have to say yes to this Woody Allen film.” She admits that it was ultimately her decision, saying, “I made an awful mistake.”

A significant portion of Page’s statement is dedicated to the disproportional attention that white actresses in a position of relative power are receiving in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s scandal breaking. Page encourages people to remember that though she suffered abuse, she has a support network that many other more marginalized people do not, in the face of much worse:

Let’s remember the epidemic of violence against women in our society disproportionately affects low income women, particularly women of color, trans and queer women and indigenous women, who are silenced by their economic circumstances and profound mistrust of a justice system that acquits the guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence and continues to oppress people of color. I have the means to hire security if I feel threatened. I have the wealth and insurance to receive mental health care. I have the privilege of having a platform that enables me to write this and have it published, while the most marginalized do not have access to such resources.

She highlights particularly the case of Indigenous activist and actress Misty Upham:

Misty was found dead at the bottom of a cliff three years ago. Her father, Charles Upham, just made a Facebook post saying she was raped at a party by a Miramax executive. The most marginalized have been left behind. As a cis, white lesbian, I have benefited and have the privileges I have, because of these extraordinary and courageous individuals who have led the way and risked their lives while doing so. White supremacy continues to silence people of color, while I have the rights I have because of these leaders. They are who we should be listening to and learning from.

Of the women who have accused Weinstein of assault or misconduct, Lupita Nyong’o is the only black woman and, not coincidentally, the only woman whose account of events Weinstein directly contested. Page is correct in her analysis that the allegations against Weinstein were likely only taken seriously when so many well-known white cis women were attached to the story. Her remarks are similar to that of Jane Fonda when speaking with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in late October as a spokesperson for the Women’s Media Center.

“It feels like something has shifted,” Fonda said. “It’s too bad that it’s probably because so many of the women that were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein are famous and white and everybody knows them. This has been going on a long time to black women and other women of color and it doesn’t get out quite the same.”