In the ongoing fallout over the extensive and damning allegations attached to Harvey Weinstein, a spotlight has been placed on the issue of sexism, harassment and abuse of power in Hollywood. Actresses and actors have increasingly come forward to speak on the subject (often recalling the abuse they personally received) with more upsetting stories about inexcusable behavior arriving by the day.
Tales of action film star Steven Seagal being wildly inappropriate are nothing new with allegations of rape and assault attached to the actor. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Inside Edition correspondent Lisa Guerrero has come forward to recall her own experience with Seagal when she auditioned for his 1997 film Fire Down Below. Guerrero says she’s told friends, colleagues and actresses about what happened, although it was the Harvey Weinstein story that pushed her to go public.
“I’ve told friends, colleagues — I’ve warned young actresses in acting classes and projects I’ve worked on. I said, ‘Don’t go to Steven Seagal’s home alone. This is what happened to me,’ explained Guerrero. “But the Weinstein story, specifically the part about him answering the door in his robe, that triggered my memory and brought up those images again of what happened with Steven Seagal. It triggered my revulsion at what it feels like to be an actress and having a powerful star and executive producer answer his door in a robe.”
Guerrero recalled a private audition she participated in at Seagal’s home. At the insistence of Guerrero and her manager, the film’s casting director Shari Rhodes was also present. Seagal watched the audition in a robe on a “throne” and while nothing physical took place, Guerrero wondered why it couldn’t be held like a regular audition. After she was asked to return for a “private rehearsal,” Guerrero says she declined and quickly found her part had been cut from a lead role to a very small part with the refusal to submit to the private rehearsal as the reason cited.
Other actresses have spoken to her about their own experiences with Seagal.
Yes, a girl in my acting class years ago. I was on a soap opera called Sunset Beach and was with a group of young, attractive actors every single day — and a couple shared stories about Steven Seagal. After the Inside Edition piece aired, an actress reached out saying she was once asked to come in for a “chemistry test” for Under Siege 2. The audition was at Steven Seagal’s hotel room and he answered the door in nothing but a robe. I read that and started crying. All these memories came flooding back.
Expect stories like these from Hollywood (or any workplace) to continue to pour in as the nation is being forced to evaluate the culture that has allowed this sort of abuse and harassment to occur.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)