While it wasn’t totally shocking for a Shonda Rhimes show to have an abortion scene, that episode of Scandal last year was a significant moment for primetime TV. Kerry Washington talked about its impact in an interview with WWD this week.
In the episode, which aired last November, Olivia Pope has an abortion after finding out she’s pregnant with (presumably) President Fitz’s baby. Despite getting criticism about the scene from crazies on Twitter, Washington told WWD how crucial it is to see realistic scenarios like that portrayed on TV.
“[Abortion is] a reality, and more often than not, it’s a really difficult choice to make. The same was true for Olivia,” she says. “But by not having those moments represented in media, we add to the idea that there’s something shameful to be talked about. It’s always important that our storytelling reflects the real experiences of human beings, because it allows us to not feel as alone.”
While promoting her OPI nail collection in the interview, Kerry also explained her role as Anita Hill in HBO’s Confirmation, out later this year. Hill’s sexual harassment accusations against Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas were “a huge topic of conversation at home, a very complicated issue,” says Washington.
“The question we often ask ourselves with the whole he said/she said — who was telling the truth? I had the feeling that more was going on, and the more research we did, the more complicated it got,” says Washington “We all need to remember this story. The hearings put sexual harassment on the table and changed our cultural conversation around gender and sexuality at work and around victims’ rights—and about racism—on a national stage.”
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