Rebel Wilson revealed this week that she was sexually assaulted by a former male co-star who then made attempts to “destroy” her career.
Wilson told People that, years ago, the perpetrator “called me into a room and pulled down his pants.” She said he then proceeded to make an inappropriate request, in front of his friends, for her to perform a lewd act. Wilson chose not to reveal the man’s name or the film they worked on.
“It was awful and disgusting,” the 42-year-old Aussie said. “And all the behavior afterwards — this was all before #MeToo — where they kind of tried to destroy me and my career.” She revealed she was torn over whether to stay on the project or leave, noting that if the incident happened after #MeToo “then I could have just blasted them.”
However, Wilson has a law degree, which came in handy when deciding what action she should take—or if she should even take action at all. “Because I’m a lawyer, I documented it,” she said. (She received her law degree from the University of New South Wales.) “I called my rep. I got certain things in writing about what happened.”
Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to make her feel comfortable about speaking up. “I thought even complaining to my agency was a big step,” she recalled. Wilson did confide in fellow industry colleagues, making sure his behavior was known among entertainment circles—and eventually discovered she wasn’t the first actress he’d harassed. “I found out I was like the fourth person to complain about the guy. Such gross behavior, but a lot of women have had it way worse,” she explained.
Against her better judgment, Wilson chose to tough it out until the film wrapped, but said she wishes she left when it happened because “it wasn’t worth it.” The decision is one she continues to question herself about to this day but, at the time, she believed she was being professional by finishing the movie.
But like an Elle Woods protégé’, the lawyer says she’s vowed to do things differently if she ever finds herself in a similar situation. Thanks to the #MeToo movement (and that law degree), she’s confident she has the tools she needs to speak up in the future so other women won’t go through what she did.
“If it happened again, I would probably stand up for myself even more,” she said. “Just because of the bravery of the other women that have stood up and now allowed me an opportunity.”