Julianna Margulies on Friday morning spoke candidly about her harrowing experience with Steven Seagal during a visit to Sirius XM’s Just Jenny.
Speaking to host Jenny Hutt, the former Good Wife star revealed she narrowly escaped a hotel room meeting with Seagal, who has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, before things could take a turn for the worse. Margulies, then 23 years old, said she was persuaded to meet the actor late at night by a female casting director who insisted he wanted to go over a scene.
“I lived in Brooklyn, and I said, ‘Oh, I don’t do that. I don’t travel. I don’t have money for a cab.’ And I didn’t,” Margulies recalled. “And she says, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll reimburse you.'”
The actress claims Seagal was armed with a gun when she arrived.
“I got to the hotel around 10:40, and she [the casting director] wasn’t there. And he was alone and he made sure that I saw his gun, which I had never seen a gun in real life,” Margulies continued. “I got out of there unscathed. … I never was raped, and I never was harmed. I don’t know how I got out of that hotel room.”
Margulies told Hutt she felt she had been “set up” by the casting director, and learned from the experience that she should never go into private meetings alone.
The actress added, “Because of my experience with Steven Seagal in that room, which was horrific, I refused to meet Harvey Weinstein in his hotel room when another woman brought me, saying, ‘You will absolutely get [a] screen test.'”
On a separate occasion, Margulies claimed the film mogul, whose accusers now total over 70, attempted to lure her to his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills through a female assistant to discuss a film role she had auditioned for.
“She said, ‘I’m going to drop you off at the Peninsula,’ and I said, ‘I’m not going up there alone.’ I saw how she started to sweat. She was like, ‘Don’t be silly, I’m just going to drop you off. It’s going to be fine.’ And I said, ‘Nope, then I’m going home,”” the actress recalled.
When the assistant reluctantly agreed to escort Margulies up to Weinstein’s room, he opened the door in a bathrobe.
“I could see that there were candles lit in the room, and there was a dinner for two. And I saw him stare at her, daggers. And I turned to see what she had done to deserve that, and I caught her in a shrug, like, ‘What could I do?'” said the actress. “He looked at me, furious, and he took the door and he said, ‘Just wanted to say, “great audition.”‘ And he slammed the door. Of course, I didn’t get the part.”
Margulies admitted that if she hadn’t experienced that initial meeting with Seagal and didn’t have an established career at the time, “I would’ve gone in, absolutely.”
The actress slammed the notion of victim-shaming, saying, “It’s not to be shrugged off.”
Turning the focus to women who enable men to abuse their power, Margulies noted, “It’s not always the men that are awful. … We have to start holding these people accountable.”