Following a string of sexual assault allegations against director Brett Ratner, actress Ellen Page has accused the Hollywood exec of using homophobic abuse to out her on the set of X-Men: The Last Stand when she was only 18-years-old.
"He looked at a woman standing next to me, ten years my senior, pointed to me and said: 'You should fuck her to make her realize she’s gay,'" wrote the now openly-gay actress in a detailed Facebook post.
"I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself," explained Page. "I knew I was gay, but did not know, so to speak. I felt violated when this happened. I looked down at my feet, didn’t say a word and watched as no one else did either. This man, who had cast me in the film, started our months of filming at a work event with this horrific, unchallenged plea. He 'outed' me with no regard for my well-being, an act we all recognize as homophobic."
Page says the comment affected her for years to come:
"We are all entitled to come into an awareness of our sexual orientation privately and on our own terms. I was young and although already a working actor for so long I had in many ways been insulated, growing up on film sets instead of surrounded by my peers. This public, aggressive outing left me with long standing feelings of shame, one of the most destructive results of homophobia. Making someone feel ashamed of who they are is a cruel manipulation, designed to oppress and repress. I was robbed of more than autonomy over my ability to define myself. Ratner’s comment replayed in my mind many times over the years as I encountered homophobia and coped with feelings of reluctance and uncertainty about the industry and my future in it. The difference is that I can now assert myself and use my voice to to fight back against the insidious queer and transphobic attitude in Hollywood and beyond. Hopefully having the position I have, I can help people who may be struggling to be accepted and allowed to be who they are –to thrive. Vulnerable young people without my advantages are so often diminished and made to feel they have no options for living the life they were meant to joyously lead."
Page goes on to detail explicit sexual abuse from an even younger age, just 16-years-old:
"When I was sixteen a director took me to dinner (a professional obligation and a very common one). He fondled my leg under the table and said, “You have to make the move, I can’t.” I did not make the move and I was fortunate to get away from that situation. It was a painful realization: my safety was not guaranteed at work. An adult authority figure for whom I worked intended to exploit me, physically. I was sexually assaulted by a grip months later. I was asked by a director to sleep with a man in his late twenties and to tell them about it. I did not. This is just what happened during my sixteenth year, a teenager in the entertainment industry."
Page believes sexual abuse is all about power, and that Hollywood is corrupt with men like this:
"They (abusers), want you to feel small, to make you insecure, to make you feel like you are indebted to them, or that your actions are to blame for their unwelcome advances. she explains . Women, particularly the most marginalized, are silenced, while powerful abusers can scream as loudly as they want, lie as much as they want and continue to profit through it all."
She calls out Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, and even Woody Allen, saying that acting in his film To Rome With Love was "the biggest regret of [her] career." They can't get away with their wrongdoings anymore.
"I want to see these men have to face what they have done. I want them to not have power anymore. I want them to sit and think about who they are without their lawyers, their millions, their fancy cars, houses upon houses, their “playboy” status and swagger.
"What I want the most, is for this to result in healing for the victims. For Hollywood to wake up and start taking some responsibility for how we all have played a role in this. I want us to reflect on this endemic issue and how this power dynamic of abuse leads to an enormous amount of suffering. Violence against women is an epidemic in this country and around the world."
The reckoning for these offenders is finally here, says Page, and believes that outing these men is the just the beginning.
"I am grateful to anyone and everyone who speaks out against abuse and trauma they have suffered. You are breaking the silence. You are revolution."