In tweets posted around 12:37 a.m. last night, James Van Der Beek, the film and TV actor who started his career as the titular lead of the WB teen drama Dawson’s Creek, said that he had experienced sexual harassment at the hands of “older, powerful men” when he was younger.
His tweets come amid the ongoing claims of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and similar claims made by other well-known actors.
James Van Der Beek’s admission reflects other similar stories
Van Der Beek’s tweets said:
I’ve had my ass grabbed by older, powerful men, I’ve had them corner me in inappropriate sexual conversations when I was much younger… I understand the unwarranted shame, powerlessness & inability to blow the whistle. There’s a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome
Van Der Beek did not disclose the name or circumstances of his harassment. But his admission comes at a time when more male actors are also sharing tales of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.
Late last week, former pro-football player and comedic actor Terry Crews also came forward with a story of sexual harassment, stating that an unnamed Hollywood executive groped his crotch in front of his wife at a party last year.
Crews said that he and his wife immediately left the party, and the unnamed person called him the next day to apologize, but he never explained his actions. In a series of tweets, Crews wrote:
I let it go. And I understand why many women who this happens to let it go. Who’s going to believe you? (Few.) What are the repercussions? (Many.) Do you want to work again? (Yes.) Are you prepared to be ostracized?
I understand and empathize with those who have remained silent. But Harvey Weinstein is not the only perpetrator. Hollywood is not the only business where this happens, and to the casualties of this behavior — you are not alone.
Todrick Hall had an experience similar to James Van Der Beek’s
Comedian Rob Schneider and actor Michael Gaston have also shared similar sexual harassment stories. Schneider’s involved a now-dead executive asking him to crawl on the floor and Gaston’s involved having his crotch grabbed by a theatre director.
Earlier this year, openly gay actor and musician Todrick Hall admitted that his Straight Outta Oz song “Papi” was about a real-life incident in which “a very influential person in the entertainment industry who had the power to give people jobs … [was] very aggressive with me.”
“I wrote the song because it is a very real part of Hollywood,” Hall says. “Sometimes people think that it’s just a cinematic obstacle that people put into movies, but it really is a real thing and it’s really difficult.”
He said that he felt torn because when you’re a young aspiring star, a job can mean the difference between being able to eat, pay your bills, form a decent resume or join an actors union. He added that the coercion happens between men and women, queer and straight alike.
“I know people who are my friends who have [succumbed to sexual coercion] and who are very successful,” Hall said. “I don’t consider them to be weak, I consider them to be victims.”