On January 14, actor Sharon Stone sat down with the anchors of CBS Sunday Morning to chat about the next phase of her career.
After decades as a Hollywood A-lister, Stone dropped out of the limelight when she suffered serious brain hemorrhaging after a stroke in 2001. “There was about a 5% chance of me living,” she explained to CBS correspondent Lee Cowan. Now healthy and ready to turn a new leaf, the single mom of three is ready for her next act.
The conversation soon veered toward what’s become the elephant in the room in nearly every conversation about Hollywood these days: The film industry’s sexual harassment problem. After four decades as a public figure, Stone didn’t shy away from the fact that she has more than a few stories to tell.
When asked by Cowan if she’d ever been sexually assaulted or harassed, Stone immediately broke into a laughing fit for a full 10 seconds.
“I’ve been in this business for 40 years, Lee,” she explained with a knowing look on her face.
“Can you imagine the business I stepped into 40 years ago — looking like I look, from nowhere, Pennsylvania? I didn’t come here with any protection.”
As a fresh-faced young woman new to the scene, you can bet Stone was targeted by men all too willing to cross the line, as she suggested in the clip below shared by journalist Yashar Ali:
Obviously, Stone has seen and experienced a lot. And by now, it’s clear she isn’t in the minority, either.
Hollywood has a serious sexual harassment problem to fix.
The October 2017 bombshell report exposing Harvey Weinstein as a serial sexual predator set off a domino effect of survivors coming forward, toppling heavyweights like Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer.
The #MeToo movement — a term originally coined by activist Tarana Burke but recently popularized by actor Alyssa Milano — burst into headlines, as millions of women joined the conversation surrounding sexual abuse.
Though #MeToo is publicly linked to the film industry, the movement stretches far beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
In the months since the Weinstein bombshell, dozens of powerful men in industries stretching from news media and filmmaking to politics and music have been accused of sexual misconduct. The moment has also given a voice to millions of women who’d previously had no public platforms to speak out — and finally be believed.
Survivors have been attacked and their stories have been questioned, to be sure. Backlash to the movement has been swift (and expected). Yet we’ve still taken meaningful steps toward a culture that empowers women to speak their truths.
“It’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry; it’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace,” Oprah Winfrey said during her recent widely-praised Golden Globes speech. “They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia, engineering, medicine, and science.”
Far too many women share Stone’s sentiment when it comes to sexual harassment: “I’ve seen it all,” she concluded to Cowan on Sunday Morning.
Hopefully, future generations won’t be able to say the same.