Jurnee Smollett is shedding more light on Hollywood's long-standing problem of sexual misconduct.
During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 33-year-old actress candidly spoke about the hurdles she's faced as a Black woman working in entertainment. She spoke about pay disparities, the subliminal and overt efforts to erase Blackness, and the sexual harassment she's experienced throughout most of her career.
Smollett told reporter Lacey Rose that her upcoming HBO series, Lovecraft Country, was one of the few productions in which she did not experience sexual harassment from the time she was child.
"I don't know that I can confidently say that I worked on one job prior to Lovecraft—from the time I was 12 on—where I hadn't been sexually harassed, whether it was by an [assistant director], a co-star, director, producer..." she said.
Smollett later clarified there were number of other film and TV sets where she did endure this kind of abuse, but emphasized it was quite common.
"Like, a guy saying before we're about to do this love scene, 'Hey, your tits are going to be hanging in the wind,' is not OK," she said, before revealing she had stepped away from a project because the misconduct was so bad. "And they let me out."
Smollett said she has learned how to navigate the industry and never hesitates to make her voice heard. She told THR that after signing on to Lovecraft Country, she told the producers that all sexual banter would be off limits.
"And I don't apologize," she said. "I'll be like, 'Listen, this fake-ass sexual harassment meeting that we're having, I'm going to raise my hand now and let you guys know that the standards that they're setting are bare minimum.'"
You can read Smollett's full interview here and catch Lovecraft Country when it premieres Aug. 16 on HBO.