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James Van Der Beek shares his own experiences with Hollywood sexual harassment

‘There's a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome.’


Christine Friar


Posted on Oct 12, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 2:31 pm CDT

Yet another actor has stepped forward to add his account to the dozens of sexual misconduct allegations coming out of Hollywood this week.

After an investigation by the New York Times revealed the film tycoon Harvey Weinstein had been using his position at the Weinstein Company to sexually harass and allegedly assault women for decades, a larger conversation has opened up online about exploitation in the entertainment industry.

Wednesday evening, linking to an essay about the struggle of speaking up in New York Magazine’s the Cut, James Van Der Beek (of Dawson’s Creek) sent out a series of tweets about his own experience with sexual harassment in the workplace.

“What Weinstein is being accused of is criminal,” Van Der Beek first explained. “What he’s admitted to is unacceptable — in any industry. I applaud everybody speaking out.”

He then shared that he was no stranger to the kinds of experiences his peers were describing. He described having his “ass grabbed by older, powerful men,” and having them “corner [him] in inappropriate sexual conversations” when he was younger. Van Der Beek also pointed out the importance shame played in those scenarios.

“I understand the unwarranted shame, powerlessness & inability to blow the whistle,” he wrote. “There’s a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome.”

Among fans, the tweets opened up speculation as to who from his career Van Der Beek could have been referring. So Thursday afternoon he replied with some additional thoughts.

“[For the record], the harassment I tweeted about was by people 99.9% of you don’t know… apologies to any mentors & champions and wonderful friends I’ve made in this industry who may have been pulled into wrongful speculation.”

Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Terry Crews also spoke about his experience with sexual harassment this week.

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*First Published: Oct 12, 2017, 1:57 pm CDT