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Viola Davis Speaks Out About Her Own Experiences With Sexual Harassment

Viola Davis Speaks Out About Her Own Experiences With Sexual Harassment

Viola Davis is on the cover of the latest issue of PorterEdit, out now.

Here’s what the How To Get Away With Murder actress had to say…

On how women of color are typecast: “I’m 52 and darker than a paper bag. Women who look like me are relegated to the back of the bus, auditioning for crackheads and mammas and the person with a hand on her hip who is always described as ‘sassy’ or ‘soulful’.”

On how Jessica Chastain helped Octavia Spencer get five times her pay: “I don’t want to tell anyone what to do, but I think Jessica Chastain did a really boss move with Octavia Spencer [on their upcoming movie, yet to be announced] by saying Octavia’s got to be paid the same as her. She actually upped Octavia’s quote for that movie because she took a salary cut. I think Caucasian women have to stand in solidarity with us. And they have to understand we are not in the same boat. Even a lot of female-driven events in Hollywood, like power luncheons, which I’ve been to, and are awesome by the way, there will be 3,000 women in that room and five of them are women of color. And it’s by invite! So, you’re not even inviting us.”

On her personal experiences of sexual harassment: “Oh no, not only do I have my own story, I have my own stories. I am telling you, I have had men touch me in inappropriate ways throughout my childhood. I have had men follow me on any given day, and I am saying during the day, at one o’clock in the afternoon, and expose themselves to me. I remember one day, when I was 27, waiting at the bus stop in Rhode Island for my niece to get out of pre-school. I was probably there 25 minutes, and I am not lying because I counted, 26 cars drove by with men in them who solicited me, harassed me, yelled at me, verbally abused me. Some of these men had baby seats in the back. And yeah, it makes you feel like crap, it makes you feel like, what would a childhood be if that were removed? And it’s hard to separate that stain from who you are. You tattoo it on yourself. Those personal experiences have allowed me to feel compassion for the women who have spoken up.”

For more from Viola, visit

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Credit: Virginie Khateeb; Photos: PorterEdit
Posted to: Viola Davis

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  • moody

    How horrible for Viola to have had to endure this. She’s a terrific actress and I’m happy for her success.

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