Jennifer Lawrence gave a powerful speech at Monday night’s Elle Magazine Women in Entertainment event in Los Angeles in which she spoke of the bravery of those women who have shared their alleged experiences of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, and shared her own “humiliating” experience during the early days of her career.
“When I was much younger and starting out, I was told by the producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks,” said Lawrence, adding that another actress before her had already been fired for not losing the weight in time. “During this time, a female producer had me do a nude lineup with about five women who were much, much thinner than me. And we all stood side-by-side with only paste-ons covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating lineup, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”
The actress, 27, noted that when she tried to complain of the unrealistic expectations to a male producer, “he responded by telling me that he didn’t know why everyone thought I was so fat, he thought I was perfectly fuckable.”
After attempting to speak up for herself, Lawrence adds that she was labeled “difficult,” a “nightmare” even, and that she felt trapped as a young actress just getting her footing in the business. “Like so many young actors and actresses starting out, I couldn’t have gotten a producer or a director or a studio head fired,” she said. “I let myself be treated a certain way because I felt like I had to for my career.”
Years after the incident, by the time Lawrence was considered a “movie star,” she noted that she finally had the power to speak up herself. “But what constitutes this power? Every human being no matter how successful they are, should have the power to be treated with respect because they’re human.”
She concluded by offering a tearful thanks to her “strong and awesome girlfriends who have supported and loved me and celebrated my success.”
Several of the women being honored at Monday’s awards also came forward to condemn the actions of Weinstein and pledge to continue to lift up their female peers in the industry, including Reese Witherspoon, who revealed that she experienced harassment from a director at the age of 16.