Laverne Cox is sharing her own story of sexual harassment.
In a new interview for The Katie Couric Podcast, the actress and LGBTQ activist opens up about her own negative experience with a man who behaved inappropriately.
“I got to confront a man that I’d had a sexual encounter with that the encounter was consensual, but then something happened that wasn’t consensual. And I was able to recently confront him about that,” she said. “And what was interesting to me in the confrontation is that he had no idea that his behavior was predatory, that he didn’t have consent.”
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Cox—like many victims of harassment have recently done—brought up the fact that there are blurred lines when it comes to consent and what is and is not invasive. “I think so often the idea of consent is something that men aren’t really clear about. And I’m very clear that what happened was not consensual and was not OK and I was able to assure that to him,” she said. “But that’s a different kind of conversation, what does consent look like?”
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She moved on to explain why it’s important to have conversations about consent. “We have to be really careful about the messages we’re sending to our young people of all genders about what consent is,” she added. “And so those kinds of conversations, men should be having with themselves, with each other, and then, ultimately, with women, and then listening more. And then we all have to be engaged in changing the culture.”
In addition, Cox opened up about whether or not she thought the #MeToo movement—and reactions toward stories of sexual harassment—was inclusive enough.
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“I think we can always be more intersectional. We can always include more people. I don’t just experience the world as a trans woman. I experience the world as a black person. I have multiple identities,” she shared.
“I think what we have to look at, with [Harvey] Weinstein for example, I remember all the actresses came out and said that he had assaulted them and done the things he’s accused of doing. First person he challenged was Lupita Nyong’o. A black woman,” she said.
In October, Nyong’o wrote an op-ed in The New York Times about her uncomfortable moments with Weinstein and described an event in which he took her to his house and asked her to give him a massage following a lunch meeting. She wrote that she rubbed his back to “buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation,” before he stated that he wanted to remove his pants. She told him she wasn’t comfortable and made an exit.
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Weinstein replied with a statement denying the accusation.
“Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry. Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show Eclipsed,” a spokesperson for Weinstein said in a statement to People.
Cox referred to the fact that Weinstein specifically chose to release a statement and react to Nyong’o’s story of harassment, and not to that of other women who had previously spoken out against him.
“All of these other women, he didn’t say anything. He didn’t say I didn’t do it. But the first person he challenged was Lupita Nyong’o. And I think, this can’t be a coincidence. Her blackness can’t be a coincidence. I notice when some trans women have come forward and say that they have been sexually assaulted there has been a different tenor in terms of the ways they’ve been believed as opposed to other women who are not trans,” Cox said.
In January, Nyong’o told The Hollywood Reporter staying silent was not an option.
“I felt uncomfortable in my silence, and I wanted to liberate myself from it and contribute to the discussion,” she said. “That was just what I felt I needed to do, quite viscerally. I couldn’t sleep. I needed to get it out.”
Listen to the podcast above.