Star’s shocking behaviour during sex scene
AMERICAN actress Sarah Scott accused co-star Kip Pardue of sexual misconduct while filming a sex scene together - and despite the best efforts of the Time's Up and #MeToo movements, she says she has seen very little progress in any action being taken to rectify the situation.
Scott, 35, claims that while filming an intimate scene for a TV project called Mogulettes - during which she was clad in just underwear and nipple covers - Pardue, 43, grew aroused and grabbed her hand and placed it on his penis, she told the Los Angeles Times.
Though Scott says she was horrified, they continued filming the scene. She alleged that afterwards, Pardue called her into his dressing room, where he proceeded to masturbate in front of her.
"I literally froze. I said, 'What are you doing?'" Scott recalled. She says that he replied, "'This isn't a #MeToo thing. I'm not your employer. It's not like I can fire you.'"
Scott also claims that Pardue said he masturbated in front of her because she's "'just so hot'".
The incident occurred in May, more than six months after sexual assault and harassment allegations had been levied against the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. (who admitted to masturbating in front of women with whom he worked) and others.
Pardue admitted to putting Scott's hand on his groin, but denied masturbating in her presence.
"I clearly misread the situation during a sex scene on set and have apologised to Sarah," Pardue told the Los Angeles Times in a statement from his rep. "I never intended to offend her in any way and deeply regret my actions and have learned from my behaviour."
Scott claims to have immediately told her husband about the incident, then reported it to Mogulettes director Dave Fraunces and producer Mandy Henderson, who said they never suspected anything and were shocked at the allegations.
Mogulettes executive producer Bennett Talsky said she asked both Scott and Pardue about the incident, telling the Los Angeles Times, "(Pardue) was trying to justify it, saying they had really good chemistry and he got carried away. It didn't get anywhere, and I didn't really confront him - I was just trying to feel him out and see if he felt like he had screwed up."
Scott also quickly reported the incident to SAG-AFTRA and says that she was encouraged to do so, but says she was frustrated by the union's inaction.
The actress, who's appeared on True Blood, Castle, The Orville and other series, also sought help from friends, including comedian Kevin Kane, who referred her to his own close friend Amy Schumer, because of Schumer's work with Time's Up.
"Most actresses I know have experienced violations on set of a sexual nature, including myself. You can be shooting a scene - or even auditioning a scene and your scene partner can take it too far," Schumer said. "And if you speak up about it, you're made to feel difficult."
Schumer introduced Scott to Time's Up COO Rebecca Rottenberg Goldman, who then put Scott in contact with lawyer Katherine Atkinson, who'd volunteered her services for Time's Up. Scott discussed her options with Ms Atkinson and decided against a civil suit - and was shocked when she was expected to pay Ms Atkinson a $2500 retainer, believing the lawyer had been working pro-bono.
A Time's Up director explained to the LA Times that not all lawyers will charge a retainer. Scott says she was told that Time's Up may or may not reimburse her for the fee, at which point she decided to not work with a lawyer anymore due to the financial risk involved.
Scott eventually contacted SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, who responded immediately and thanked her for sharing her story. She was then sent a questionnaire asking about the incident, any witnesses and evidence she may have. She says she filled it out and returned it the same day to file a member-to-member complaint through SAG-AFTRA on June 11.
SAG-AFTRA said in a statement to Variety on Monday evening, "Confidentiality protects members. In certain cases, our members choose to initiate member-to-member disciplinary proceedings in response to an incident. Our mission is to support the member who is reaching out to us for help in responding to an incident, while also providing fairness and due process.
"In order to protect our members, we must protect their privacy and uphold confidentiality during the course of the proceedings."
By late August, a frustrated Scott reported the incident to local police.
The parties eventually agreed to mediation for the incident, with Ms Atkinson representing Scott without a retainer fee, but the hearing was postponed after Ms Atkinson couldn't fly to Los Angeles from Washington in time for the hearing.
Pardue's lawyer told the Times in a statement that the Remember The Titan s star "would welcome a SAG hearing or any other fair process to resolve this matter".
"I am disappointed that Kip has chosen to hide behind his actions. Speaking out about this has been extraordinarily difficult for me, and now I understand why so many people don't," Scott said. "My goal remains the same - my wish is for Kip to take full responsibility for all of his actions."
Pardue is slated to star in season 2 of Marvel's The Runaways, which is slated to premiere on December 21, Deadline reports.