Julianna Margulies: Harvey Weinstein tried to get me alone in a hotel room


I remember, a long time ago, reading a profile of Julianna Margulies, and they made her early days as an actress sound rather glamorous. Like, she was one of the most famous struggling actress-waitresses in New York, and everyone knew that it was just a matter of time before someone hired her for some big project and it would change her life. And boom, and it happened with ER. She was around 27 years old when she was cast in ER, but it’s clear that she was auditioning like crazy for years and truly a struggling actress throughout her 20s. As with so many struggling young actresses during that time, Margulies had some bad experiences with Harvey Weinstein and someone else in those years:

Actress Julianna Margulies said in an interview that producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Steven Seagal both tried to sexually harass her earlier in her career. The star of TV’s The Good Wife claimed that she was led to their rooms by female assistants ostensibly for business reasons. However, “These women were leading me to the lion’s den.”

Speaking to Sirius XM’s Jenny Hutt on her Just Jenny show, Margulies recounted now-familiar tales of being taken to hotel rooms on the pretext of some official business. In the Seagal case, Margulies was 23 when a female casting director asked her to go to the actor’s hotel room at 10:00 pm to go over a scene. She was told it was between her and another actress for a role that would get her the coveted Screen Actors Guild card.

Margulies said when she arrived at the hotel, the casting director wasn’t there, but Seagal was. When she entered his hotel room, “I saw his gun, which I had never seen a gun in real life.” Somehow, Margulies said, she got out of the room “unscathed. I never was raped. And I never was harmed. And I don’t know how I got out of that hotel room…I sorta screamed my way out.”

Shaken by the encounter, a far more wary Margulies recounted a 1996 encounter with Weinstein. She was in her third season of the TV series ER and told that if she met with Weinstein, she would get a screen test. She was also promised that the woman accompanying her would be in the room at the Peninsula hotel with them.

“She knocked on the door, and she was standing behind me,’ Margulies recalled. “And 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.”

Margulies turned to look at her companion. “And I caught her in a shrug – like, “What could I do?” And he looked at me, furious, and he took the door and he said, ‘Just wanted to say good audition.’ And he slammed the door.” Margulies did not get the part. And although she is now established enough to avoid future such incidents, she asked, “What’s a sixteen-year-old actress supposed to do?’ she asked.

[From Deadline]

“What’s a sixteen-year-old actress supposed to do?” That’s a question that’s been haunting me this past month. It’s clear that Weinstein “got away” with a lot of terrible and criminal predatory behavior – we know that from the famous women who have already come forward. Weinstein was an equal opportunity predator, assaulting and harassing famous women and non-famous women. Is it such a stretch to imagine that there are many women who have yet to come forward and tell their stories, because Weinstein (or someone else) abused them when they were just starting out, when they were on their first audition or whatever? As for Steven Seagal… God, every story about him is so gross. And the woman – and all of the men and women – who led actresses to Weinstein’s hotel room need to be thrown out of Hollywood too.

Producers Guild Awards

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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11 Responses to “Julianna Margulies: Harvey Weinstein tried to get me alone in a hotel room”

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  1. marc kile says:

    No surprise with those 2 pigs. but off topic i’ve always found her very attractive in a unique
    sort of way.

  2. Lady D says:

    She used to be so beautiful, now she looks plastic and tight.

    • lucy2 says:

      She really did a lot of something in the last few years of TGW.

      Both of these stories are terrible, but sadly she was one of the luckier ones.

    • Handwoven says:

      It seems unfair to blame women in their 40s and 50s (and sadly, even 30s sometimes) who do that… it tends to be their only chance at getting roles.

      What else would you do if you’d been an actress for years, and were simply told to either lose all you wrinkles, or wait another decade or so until you could play old ladies?

  3. PIa says:

    I really do miss The Good Wife, a diverse, well written show with great female characters! I know The Good Fight is now airing, but that was OK, and pales a bit in comparison.

  4. kimbers says:

    “what’s a sixteen yo to do?”
    who’s she talking about? she was like 30 when the pigstein did that. I don’t get the best vibes from her, and while she may have had this happen, now i just feel like some ppl are saying things to be a part of the drama.

    • Handwoven says:

      Read for comprehension. She’s saying these are the situations she went through, and she can’t imagine what a sixteen-year-old, without knowledge of the whole scene and a support system, would be able to do.

  5. Lorelai says:

    Honestly, I wish someone would also start naming the complicit women who delivered these actresses to Harvey’s hotel rooms, knowing exactly what was going to happen.

    As you said in your last sentence, Kaiser, they don’t deserve to be working in Hollywood (or, um, anywhere, for that matter) either. They were willing to throw other women right into that heinous situation to protect their own jobs. F*ck that.

  6. Ladidah says:

    At this point, I am sure a Hollywood survey would show there is no woman who hasn’t been harassed like this. It really seems like every woman who works in that industry has been threatened and seems kind of traumatized by it.

    That is my issue with say, Heidi Klum’s “this (sexual harassment) happens in every industry” – it does, and yet in what industry are people regularly meeting strangers one on one for interviewing in hotel rooms??

    • emma33 says:

      ITA with your last point, yes, this kind of abuse happens in every industry, but there are things that we do in all sorts of settings to minimize the chance of it happening, (for example, male doctors having a female nurse in the room when doing examinations of patients).

      Also, the benefit to establishing norms like ‘no meetings in hotel rooms’ is that if there is one person who is always trying to arrange these meetings they stand out…their behaviour is suspicious and notable. (It is the same thing with rules in schools where teachers can’t be behind a closed door with one other student.)

    • Kosmos says:

      Not only women, but men and young boys are used sexually by the powerful men in Hollywood and elsewhere. It’s difficult to come forward when your name and face will be plastered everywhere, but I’ve read how much it happens to men as well. And yes, all the people who were enablers are also at fault. No one has to say YES to anyone’s advances. No one has to say YES to keep their job. Just report these people and find another job if need be. This is how it all starts, when people prefer to stay and enable something that they know is wrong, including the wives.