Justin Baldoni is opening up about being sexually harassed multiple times throughout his career. After speaking at a TEDWomen conference in New Orleans in November, the Jane the Virgin star, 33, revealed to Glamour in an interview published on Monday, December 4, that he’s experienced sexual misconduct since the early days of his career.
“When I was 21 or so, I was very new in the business. I had just done my first show and a girlfriend at the time had gotten me a spa certificate to go to Burke Williams in West Hollywood,” he recalled. “I remember there were hot tubs and steam rooms and all kinds of stuff, and it’s kind of fancier people, wealthier guys. I went and jumped in the hot tub and I saw a guy kind of look over … jump out of the other hot tub, and jump in with me, and he said, ‘Oh what do you do?’ And I said, ‘Oh I’m an actor,’ and he said, ‘Oh I’m a producer,’ and he started talking about all of the movies he’s done and all the people he knows. He’s friends with Clooney, Cheadle, and this person and this person, and he slowly started to try to get me to take off my pants because I had my bathing suit on and he was naked.”
“I remember the way he did it, using his power and what he does and who he knows as a way to make me feel less than, like I wasn’t going to be as successful as the other guys who’d been in the same hot tub with him, naked,” Baldoni continued. “I just remember that feeling and having a moment of saying, ‘Well, should I do that? And where does that lead?’… I remember a split second [of thought], and then going, ‘What? No,’ and just leaving.”
He added: “I could imagine how hard and painful that must be for a woman. I mean I was stronger and bigger than the guy, and [then there’s] the fact that no one is going to believe you if you’re a woman because your voice is already not heard.”
The actor, who was speaking on the panel on the subject of “toxic masculinity,” also told Glamour that he has been sexually harassed by women in the industry. “I’ve also experienced [harassment] as a man from women of power,” he said. “I’ve had my ass grabbed multiple times by powerful women.”
Baldoni is hopeful that as more people have spoken out publicly about harassment in recent months, that real change will begin to be implemented. “I just think the system is broken, but thank God we’re now at a place where, as gross as it sounds, the infected pimple is finally being popped and healing can actually begin,” he told Glamour. “And then the other thing men are going to have to start doing now is recognizing when they did it and didn’t realize it. I think that’s when the other side of the ‘Me Too’ movement is ‘I’m Sorry.’”
“I guarantee at some point in my life there is a woman or two that I in some way made uncomfortable by saying something or doing something that was chauvinistic or sexist,” he admitted. “There is one million percent probability that that exists, and all I can do is say, ‘I’m sorry, I was naive, I was young, I screwed up, and I’ll try to do better.’”