Casting couch is one of many ills that has bedeviled Hollywood and indeed many other industries where it thrives unabated. In Hollywood, the practice dates back to as far back as 1921 when the act entered the public record and ended up claiming the life of its very first victim. In the years that followed, the practice went on silently with the victims being too ashamed to speak up. However, everything that has a beginning definitely has an end. In recent times, actors and more especially actresses in Hollywood have started speaking up about their horrible experiences with film producers and directors in the industry. The topic has been so talked about with lots of revelations coming out such that a lot of people have begun to wonder who else will have their name mentioned as a perpetrator in this shameful casting couch stories.
While the media is ever ready to give a listening ear to any actor or actress who decides to speak up about his or her experience/s with this evil, a lot have already spoken up and today serve as an inspiration to others. In the paragraphs below, we will be looking at such casting couch stories, their famous perpetrators and victims.
Casting Couch Stories That Rocked Hollywood
1. Virginia Rappe and Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle
One of the most famous casting couch stories that is still told today is the very first publicly recorded occurrence of the incident. The day was 5th September 1921, on the 12th floor of St Francis Hotel in San Francisco with the victim being Virginia Rappe while the perpetrator of the dastardly act was comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle.
Virginia was screaming out in pain which led people to force themselves into the room the shout was coming from. After the incident, Virginia died days later whispering the words: “He did this to me”. Roscoe was arrested but later got acquited. Though his career suffered for it, the death of Virginia didn’t nip the casting couch malady in the bud.
2. Natasha Henstridge and Harvey Weinstein
In recent times, whenever casting couch stories come into a discussion, one name that will readily come to mind is that of Harvey Weinstein. He has been accused by more than 30 women of sexually abusing them; one of them is Natasha Henstridge.
The Canadian actress is one of the first 6 women to accuse the now-former film producer of sexual abuse. According to Natasha, the encounter happened during the Sundance Film Festival when they met for a business meeting. Harvey became flirtatious and resorted to pleasuring himself in front of her.
3. Jenny McCarthy and Steven Seagal
In a 1998 interview with Movieline, Jenny McCarthy narrated her casting couch experience with Steven Seagal. According to her, she was the last girl to audition for a role in Under Siege 2 on the said day. When she entered the room and indicated she was ready to read, Steve told her to remove her dress but she objected, Steve insisted that there is nudity for the role to which she objected again stating that if it was so, she wouldn’t be here. She ended up leaving the office in tears.
4. Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron narrated her casting couch story to have happened when she was 19 years old and just getting started in Hollywood. She was invited over to a casting director’s house on a Saturday night which she did think was odd at the time. However, being naive at the time, she didn’t attach much meaning to it. She got to the director’s house, was ushered in and given a drink. It seemed way too obvious to her that the director was somewhat inappropriately dressed for a meeting of such. She said she remembered thinking ‘Not going to happen! Got the wrong girl, buddy!’
5. Anthony Rapp
Though many who have told their casting couch stories are mostly ladies, it does not mean that the victims of these heinous acts are all females, some of their male counterparts have also been victims as well.
Anthony Rapp is one of such and the perpetrator was Kevin Spacey. According to Anthony, it happened in Spacey’s apartment when he was 14 years old. He narrated that Spacey placed him on his bed and lay on top of him. In response, Spacey claimed in a Twitter post that he doesn’t remember the encounter but if it did happen, he owed Rapp the sincerest apology. He also termed it an “inappropriate drunken behavior”. Spacey rounded off the Tweet stating that he is now a gay man.
6. Helen Mirren and Michael Winner
In Helen Mirren’s casting couch story, she revealed that film director Michael Winner treated her “like a piece of meat”. It happened way back in 1964 during a casting session, the director ordered her to turn around and show him her physique. In his defense, Michael claimed that Helen wasn’t having a casting audition with him at the time but rather he was advising her to change her “unflattering casting photos” which according to him and her agent, made her breasts appear saggy.
7. Lisa Rinna
Last on our list of casting couch stories of famous Hollywood celebrities is that which involved Lisa Rinna and a yet to be named film producer. While speaking with Popeater (now Huffington Post Celebrity) in 2010, she revealed that as a 24-year-old lady, she lost a role on a big television series because she wouldn’t bend over for a “quickie” with the show’s producer. According to her, the producer said: “Just pull your panties down and bend over and the role is yours”. But since she declined, she lost the role. However, Lisa revealed to gossip columnist Rob Shuter that years later when she was filming Melrose Place, she met the producer and gave him a piece of her mind.
Despite the graphic details she disclosed while narrating her casting couch story, Lisa Rinna has refused to reveal who this film producer is, not even to her husband.