Ellen Page has come forward to recount a time when director Brett Ratner verbally abused her on the set of X-Men: The Last Stand. In doing so, Page joins her fellow actors in casting a spotlight on inappropriate behavior in Hollywood, which began last month with reports of sexual assault allegations against producer and executive Harvey Weinstein.
The actor shared a lengthy, detailed story on her Facebook page of Ratner making lewd comments suggesting her and another woman had sex during a "meet and greet" with cast and crew before filming on the 2006 movie began. Page was 18 years old at the time, and the woman was 10 years her senior.
"I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself," Page said in her statement. "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."
She added, "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 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."
Many times, women and men are afraid to speak publicly about their abusers for fear of backlash and intimidation, since many of the abusers are people with power. According to Page, this was the case with Ratner when another incident took place.
"I got into an altercation with Brett at a certain point," she said. "He was pressuring me, in front of many people, to don a t-shirt with 'Team Ratner' on it. I said no and he insisted. I responded, 'I am not on your team.' Later in the day, producers of the film came to my trailer to say that I 'couldn’t talk like that to him.' I was being reprimanded, yet he was not being punished nor fired for the blatantly homophobic and abusive behavior we all witnessed. I was an actor that no one knew. I was eighteen and had no tools to know how to handle the situation."
Page ended her statement by calling this current climate of public outing "a long awaited reckoning," with the hope that her fellow colleagues will continue to speak out against any abuse and trauma they've experienced.