James Van Der Beek: ‘I’ve had my ass grabbed by older, powerful men’

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Yesterday we covered Terry Crews’s story of being sexually assaulted, at a party, in front of his wife. After the mad grabbed him hard in the crotch, Crews felt powerless to respond, either immediately by retaliating or in the long term by exposing the man, whom he described as “a high level Hollywood executive” who was not Harvey Weinstein. He perfectly and tragically explained the barriers to women reporting this type of assault and why they often have no recourse against their attackers. Now James Van Der Beek has told his own story, he was vaguer about it but he said he’s been targeted in multiple incidents, and he showed a similar amount of understanding of the way that victims are silenced and dismissed.

James Van Der Beek took to Twitter Wednesday evening to relate his personal experiences with sexual harassment and express support of the women who’ve come forward to expose sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein.

“I’ve had my a– grabbed by older, powerful men,” the “What Would Diplo Do?” actor wrote. “I’ve had them corner me in inappropriate sexual conversations when I was much younger…”

Van Der Beek continued, showing support for women who delayed their allegations. “I understand the unwarranted shame, powerlessness & inability to blow the whistle,” he said. “There’s a power dynamic that’s impossible to overcome.”

Earlier in the evening, he commented on Weinstein specifically, calling his behavior “criminal” and “unacceptable,” and adding that he applauds everybody speaking out.

“For anyone judging the women who stayed silent, read this for perspective,” he wrote, retweeting an article in which a woman relates her experience of being harassed, and calls out Hollywood for normalizing abusive behavior.

[From Variety]

Van Der Beek’s story makes me wonder how many other men in the film and music industry have similar stories or worse of being abused by predatory managers, agents and executives. Remember that ‘NSync and Backstreet Boys manager, Lou Perlman, was accused of molesting boys and that Lance Bass hinted as much. (Perlman ultimately died in federal prison, where he was serving a sentence for running a Ponzi scheme.) Director Bryan Singer has also been accused in multiple lawsuits of sex abuse against teen boys. We’ve also heard from Corey Feldman that his co-star and friend Corey Haim was raped by an older man on set and that this type of abuse was common. So it’s prevalent, it affects men and boys, and we’re talking about it now that Weinstein is finally being exposed. Maybe some of the victims will get justice. I would like to see more lawsuits and more charges brought.

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66 Responses to “James Van Der Beek: ‘I’ve had my ass grabbed by older, powerful men’”

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  1. island_girl says:

    Of course he has been groped. If Terry Crews, an former NFL player was groped, James and many, many other young men have been to. Let us not forget the Bryan Singer stories. I hadn’t heard about the deviant behaviors of Weinstein, but I have heard about Singer.

  2. slowsnow says:

    WHO goddamit. Name names, protect the younger ones who are being groped right now.

    Or will we wait until those guys commit another kind of crime Iif they do) or are outed by their partners who no longer want to work with them like HW?

    • Red32 says:

      He might also be restricted by an NDA. We don’t know.

      • Kit says:

        I cannot understand any kind of criminal justice system that would uphold an NDA over protecting society from a dangerous offender. It makes no sense.

      • Lizard says:

        @ Kit: ITA, shouldn’t committing a crime make an NDA invalid?

      • PPP says:

        @Kit – yeah, I wish there were a way of challenging or re-negotiating NDAs. If that hero Rose McGowan is being held back by hers, I can’t imagine the shit there is to divulge.

      • Bread and Circuses says:

        I agree; if an NDA causes a person to be victim of a crime, or forces them to allow a crime to occur, then the NDA should be null.

        In other words, under no circumstances should corporate interests get to circumvent or supersede the law.

    • MousyB says:

      I dont know, the more stories I hear the more I’m understanding I am of why people werent speaking out. Its NOT an excuse by any means. But think about how people treat victims? Think about the fact that even NBC didnt want this story to run. Think about how this story didnt really get HUGE until more and more women spoke out against Harvey. Its incredibly scary to be the first one to speak out against someone. Not only emotionally but legally and professionally.

      I really hope this starts a revolution within not only the entertainment industry but in all industries. Wishful thinking but at the very least, I hope its just the beginning.

      • slowsnow says:

        @Red32 There were several instances, not all protected by a NDA for sure

        @Mousy ITA with you regarding the past. I SO understand, believe me. Been there. But now is the time to come forward isn’t it? That was my point. And not, by any stretch of the imagination, to blame victims for not coming forward.

      • Red32 says:

        @slow – but my point is we don’t know the details. Several instances but maybe all involving the same person or employees of the same company could fall under one NDA. If there is anything to learn from the last week, it’s that these freaks are masterful at covering their tracks and silencing the victims.

    • K says:

      Ok that is easier said then done, I mean look at the model in the Weinstein case who did everything “the right way” she went straight to the police and agreed to be on tape and nothing happened except Weinstein found out and ruined her career.

      I am not saying to not name names, I encourage it and would support them if they did. But I think bashing them or saying they are the cause of this happening to others is incredibly unfair and putting the act of the predator on the victim.

      These perverts who assault people are responsible for their actions not their victims and James deserves and much support as Rose.

      • slowsnow says:

        @K This was an agghhhhhhh moment. Come on now, I am not blaming or shaming James. On the contrary, I think he is extremely brave.
        Let’s keep our common sense here. It’s just terrifying that James and Sedoux state very clearly that there are others. Doesn’t it upset you?

    • Marianne says:

      Without proof, they could be sued for defamation.

    • shiba says:

      An actor naming names, to then be dragged into an (expensive) lawsuit and/or forfeiting his career, is not the answer to this HUGE, mult-industry, multi-level problem. Only other people on their level or higher, can stop powerful predators. That is why influence, whether due to connections or wealth, also has responsibility. Not just perks.

  3. Wilma says:

    It’s toxic masculinity that needs to be ended, because it’s harmful for women and a lot of men. I’m grateful so many people are telling their stories now. It did me a world of good when I started to share my experiences and was met with compassion and understanding and I hope that the people who now speak out will feel the same relief.

    • HoustonGrl says:

      Exactly! Toxic masculinity is rampant. At least people are talking about it openly now. It’s unfortunate that some segments of the population feel empowered at the moment and sometimes it can feel hopeless. But all this has started a very important conversation.

  4. Erinn says:

    God I love James Van Der Beek. I haven’t seen his Diplo show, but he was absolutely hilarious on The B in Apartment 23.

    I’m so glad that there are men coming forward as well. I know a lot of men hold onto these things for a different reason than women do. It’s hard for them to admit they were taken advantage of or were vulnerable because there’s so much of that toxic masculinity issues going around. I hope more and more people feel safe coming forward and continue naming names and really make some positive change.

    Just the fact that so many more victims feel comfortable enough to come forward is such a great outcome from such a tragic event.

    • Kitten says:

      He’s so effin great and I never understood why his career wasn’t bigger as he was seen as a promising and gifted young actor when he was on Dawson’s (also one of the most annoying characters of all time but not his fault).

      Not to get carried away, but I can’t help but wonder if his tepid career has any correlation to the situation he describes here.

      • Ash says:

        But I loved that James poked fun at how annoying and pretentious Dawson was.

        As an actor, he’s underrated.

    • BrandyAlexander says:

      The B in Apartment 23 was one of my favorite shows of all time. I couldn’t believe it was cancelled! And yes – he was brilliant in it!

  5. Amide says:

    James Van Der Beek would have fit the young, blonde stereotype that’s so fetishized by the **** creeps like Bryan Singer.
    Same thing happened with River Phoenix.
    I have always wondered about the experiences of those with the looks of the deceased Jonathan Brandis and his contemporary Leo DiCaprio in this environment.😞😶

    • H says:

      I had forgotten Jonathan Brandi’s killed himself. Between him, Haim and all the other abuse victims, Hollywood has blood on their hands.

    • manta says:

      Christopher Pettiet, who died at 24 from a drug overdose in 2000, comes to mind too. Fitted that sam young blonde stereotype.

    • Happy21 says:

      Brad Renfro comes to mind…

    • Ladidah says:

      This is probably extreme, but seeing that list of young actors who are dead from various reasons makes me think children as entertainers should be outlawed.

      The suicide rate, substance abuse rate, and abuse of child/teen actors, musicians and models has got to be at least ten times higher than the general population…how can it not be, when you are emotionally immature and poorly supervised, not as able to be around your own peers, and often pressured into supporting your family from a young age.

      I think Matt Damon’s mom forbade Matt from child acting as she had seen what the potential damage as a child psychologist or something.

  6. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Until we get to the point where people aren’t afraid, ever, to speak out, those in power (or simply anyone who’s dangling something you need) will always manipulate from their podium, their management office , those hiring, those selling or buying, and on and on and on. It’s a crime that’s always been. It’s a crime that permeates society at all levels, in all fields anywhere and everywhere. It’s a ubiquitous horror that we’ve all lived with in order to protect ourselves because of the guilt and embarrassment. It’s time to shame perpetrators. It’s time to assault them with their own atrocities and drown them in their own guilt and embarrassment.

  7. Tila says:

    Cory Haim >>>> Rob Reiner

  8. Who ARE These People? says:

    Naming names is the next step, but it seems to be a Rubicon, a difficult line to cross because of fear of recrimination, “what? not X!” community responses, and slander or libel lawsuit.

  9. Sixer says:

    I like the way he spoke about this. To the point. Honest. Understands the power structures involved. It’s NOT a helpless women thing. It’s a power and entitlement thing.


    I. Am. So. Tired. Of. It. All. Deeply, despondently, exhausted.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Oh Sixer, me too, us too, all of it. It’s good that this is all coming out but honestly, this is like the universe vomiting everything disgusting in Western society out on the laps of the downtrodden for months on end.

      I want to know that Netflix and other streaming services offer good working environments for women so we can continue to subscribe and take down conventional Hollywood.

      But it’s probably the same.

      • Sixer says:

        It all feels so hopeless and crushing. We have all the knowledge and understanding we need. We already know the solutions. But power means that nobody with the ability to change things has any intention of listening – all that happens is they offer up vomitous platitudes and carry on.

        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

  10. marnie says:

    3 words —> John Wesley Shipp.

    • Caitlin Bruce says:

      I remember reading very old forums and old blind items about James And John and always wondered if there was any truth to them.

    • H says:

      The original Flash? Wow. I’d never heard that.

      • cf86713 says:

        He played his dad on the show and this his character died in a car accident via ice cream but he’s not an executive though.

  11. TyrantDestroyed says:

    I remember a recent story from Elijah Wood, who mentioned that in Hollywood there are many “snakes”. I hope these stories keep coming out and those men are exposed.

  12. Ann says:

    Corey Feldman was my first thought after reading Terry Crew’s story yesterday. Feldman has given several interviews where he discusses how much of a problem pedophilia is in the entertainment industry and I’ve always believed him. Look how many child stars grown up to be horribly broken adults. Weinstein is a pig but this whole situation could be an opportunity to bring to light all of these disgusting abuses that men, women, and children are being forced into. It’s been painful to read these stories but more people should come forward because this abuse needs to end.

    • kaiko says:

      The actor who played Reece on Malcolm in the Middle wrote a thread on reddit some time back about how his life was ruined by being passed around a pedophilia type ring in Hollywood during the heyday of the show. It’s sickening and part of me just chose to block out what I read, I will admit. What’s to be done? Power is power.

  13. cindy says:

    So basically Hollywood is a sex offender mecca. His story makes me think of Corey Feldman and his claim that pedophilia is rampant in HW. Pedophiles, rapists and sexual harassers all welcome. AAAAAAAnd……..trump is president. 2017 is a nightmare.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Trump is the ultimate outcome — more showbiz than biz biz.

    • Malika says:

      2017 is sometimes unbearable, but it also feels intensely liberating. I am in tears as i read the stories of all these brave men and women who have come forward. Finally, our experiences are not being swept under the carpet.

  14. lucy2 says:

    Again I am thankful for Terry Crews opening the door for men to speak about this right now, and James speaking up as well. This is about abuse of power, and my hope is that with male victims sharing their stories too, more men might listen and learn. I hate to put it that way, the women victims should be enough for everyone to condemn this behavior, but let’s be honest, many men are dismissive of women when they speak up, or can’t understand it unless they can picture themselves as a victim too.
    These men speaking up are also helping to make it easier for abused boys to speak up as well.
    I’m sorry James experienced that, but I’m glad he’s adding his voice to Rose, Lea, Cara, Gwenyth, Asia, Angelina, and on, and on, and on.

  15. Radley says:

    So many people have stories like this. I’ve mentioned I have a friend that works in the business with mostly younger celebs and is aware of how they’re groomed to be used up and tossed aside. And used up includes sexually. There’s a lot of coercion and sometimes the young celeb is so indoctrinated that they consent and feel like they’re playing the game the way it’s meant to be played.

    My friend encourages parents to stay involved, keep a watchful eye, come to the set, come to the studio. But some of the parents are so awful themselves that it doesn’t provide much protection. As far as going to the police, she hasn’t witnessed any crimes. Predators are more careful than that. She just strongly suspects some young artists are being groomed to be complicit with much older power player’s demands.

    I see boybanders have been mentioned. I was told a story of one boybander whose manager had (has?) a thing for him. He hit on him frequently and made excuses to see him without his bandmates. I was told he successfully resisted. But then the manager tried to thwart the boybander’s other aspirations. Basically, it’s a story of ongoing harrassment and attempts to coerce him into sex. 😞

    There’s other stories on the internet about manager guy being an all around a-hole and creep. But he’s still working.

  16. Anna says:

    It happens to men, women and children of all ages in Hollywood, as we have seen this week. I do hope other newspapers follow suit and get Singer, Rudin, etc.

  17. Felicia says:

    I think sexual harassment is rampant in every sector of society. I said this in a different thread in response to someone who stated they had been sexually harassed in every job they had ever had. Until I started working for myself, so had I. I had one guy fired for it, but that was one of a dozen or more.

    How many other the other commenters here have had at least one experience of sexual harassement? I’ll bet most of you…

    • Kitten says:

      Yes I shared my story of harassment a couple days ago but I was telling my BF last night that there is not a single woman I know who hasn’t been harassed in the workplace. One of my best friends was even raped.

      It’s not specific to Hollywood.

    • Erica_V says:

      I’ve been sexually harassed to some degree at every job I’ve ever worked at going back 19 years to working as a cashier at a drug store at 14. Ranging from sexual “jokes” about my lips to actually being touched “accidentally” to being told during a performance review that if I wanted to “get further” I needed to “go further” said while rolling back in his desk chair while adjusting himself. (His meaning was clear no matter how much HR said I had “misinterpreted”.)

      Some times I complained. Sometimes I did not. But it’s happened at every employer. And every single female friend I have conversations about harassment with have shared similar experiences of some degree of harassment.

    • I Choose Me says:

      First job, the boss tried to give me an unsolicited massage. I told him if he tried that sh-t again, I would tell his wife. He apologised. Next thing I know his wife is lecturing me about my clothing choices on the days I worked half-day. I would wear more casual outfits on those days. She all but said I was tempting her husband and the male guests. I asked why all of sudden my clothes were a problem after a year and a half and through her responses found out that he sent her to do this. His petty way of getting back at me for rejecting him.

      Second job, my boss’s husband and co-owner of the business made inappropriate passes at me all the time. Said stuff like, “Call me if you need anything,” and “I like the way your ass looks in that pants.” I requested a meeting with both of them about another matter then confronted him about his sexual remarks right in front of her. You should have seen his face. She blamed me. Left the job soon after.

  18. happyoften says:

    The whole industry ignores, enables, and protects these predators. What is going to change? Unless the public decides enough is enough, and just refuses to buy their product, probably nothing. It is just too entrenched.

    Thank you James and Terry for sharing your stories. That the sexual predation of those with too much power crosses gender lines is an important part of the full story. Everyone and anyone can be subjected to this sort of abuse from people that believe they have a right to someonelse’s body.

  19. Katherine says:

    Okay, people, listen up, now is the time EVERYONE talks. Let’s take the sexual predators down, even if it’s just their reputation.

  20. BJ says:

    I really wish people would stop acting like this just happening in entertainment industry.I am so tired of hearing about Hollyweird as if this doesn’t occur in every industry,every aspect of life.I know athletes(male and female) who have been groped or harassed by coaches.Waitstaff(men and women) who are being harassed by management.People working at hospitals being sexually harassed.
    How many people do you personally know who have been sexually harassed? I know dozens and none of them work in entertainment industry.Most of them have not reported the harassment.Just like these people in Hollywood they discuss it amongst each other.Hollywood is no different than the rest of the country,IMO.

  21. The New Classic says:

    I will admit, I never really thought that men could be recipients of sexual harassment or assault. Or maybe I just thought that they might process it differently than a woman would? That they would most likely laugh it off and consider it no big deal. Maybe because I’ve seen so many men try to minimize the harmful effects that sexual harassment can have on a woman. How, more often than not we are told to get over it or that having our space and bodies violated is in some way a “compliment”. Also, to be honest, I’d never really heard of any situations of grown men being targeted that way.


    I am a huge fan of a popular indie singer/songwriter. He is an immensely talented artist who also happens to be an incredibly nice guy. Mid 20’s, really good looking.. like strikingly good looking. I don’t know if it’s because he’s so good looking or because he’s so soft spoken and has such a gentle demeanor, but I have seen people violate his personal space in a way that made me feel really uncomfortable on his behalf. Nothing too out there but I noticed that the intrusive behaviors toward him started to increase as his popularity grew. I didn’t really consider it a big deal until my friend sent me a link to a video that a “fan” of his shot at one of his shows that actually made me cry. He was on stage, interacting with the crowd, singing his heart out, having a blast. He went up to the edge of the stage and was doing his thing and I swear to god, this chick reached up and grabbed his crotch. Full on grabbed him. I will never forget his reaction. He jumped back, stumbled over the lyrics and the look on his face just said it all. He knew exactly what had happened in that moment and you could literally see him shrink into himself. His shoulders actually sunk down and he had the most shocked and confused look on his face. And then he quickly walked off to the other side of the stage and didn’t come back to that area of the crowd again. And this woman who violated him actually put the video up online and was bragging about it! It wasn’t until multiple people called her out that she finally took it down, but the damage had already been done. I could not imagine being assaulted like that in frontnof a crowd and having the video of it made public. But the worst thing about it was the large group of people that were on the assaulter’s side, claiming that it was no big deal and that it was just a joke.

    I feel terrible that I never really thought of men being susceptible to that kind of abuse until I saw it happen with my own eyes. The shame and humiliation that flashed over his face in that brief moment will stay in my mind and forever influence the way I think about male victims of harassment. He never spoke out about it, or acknowledged that it happened. It made me wonder how many other men have been victimized in a similar way and have bottled it up? I applaud Terry and James for coming forward and shining a light on this issue. I think there is a lot to be learned from hearing each other’s stories.

    • I Choose Me says:

      Tim McGraw was groped on stage while singing next to his wife Faith Hill. His wife was right there and yet this woman felt entitled to put her hands on him. Faith was pissed and rightly called her out.

  22. Wren33 says:

    Yuck. In some ways it is even harder for men to speak up. Like, women are supposed to be powerless objects, but men are not.

  23. Reindeer says:

    Heads up, y’all, Rob Schnieder has also come out about being groped by a famous Hollywood director (who passed away in the past few years). It’s all over the news.

  24. mina says:

    David O Russell also allegedly molested his transgender neice; revealed in the Sony Hacks. I’ll never forget

  25. Lauraq says:

    I’m a bartender. I have multiple regulars that I count as friends. A few of them I will hug as they leave. A few months ago, a regular that I counted as a friend (we started our goodbye hugs when he was going through a really rough time. I hugged him and he burst into tears and clung to me for a few minutes) turned me as we hugged and squeezed my left breast. I was so shocked I couldn’t believe it, and said nothing. Like-if a stranger grabbed my boob I would pop him. But someone I thought I knew and could trust?
    My point being, don’t disbelieve women or men who didn’t say anything when it happened. They were probably busy wondering what they did to encourage it.