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James Van Der Beek says he was sexually harassed by ‘older men’ as a young actor

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James Van Der Beek has revealed his experience of sexual harassment in Hollywood.

As shocking allegations made about producer Harvey Weinstein continue to emerge from the film industry, numerous actors have been inspired to speak out against the abuse they’ve faced in the workplace from other perpetrators.

Van Der Beek, who rose to fame after starring in teen drama Dawson’s Creek, took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to offer support for all the women who have spoken out against Weinstein.

“What Weinstein is being accused of is criminal. What he’s admitted to is unacceptable – in any industry,” he wrote, condemning the disgraced producer. “I applaud everybody speaking out.”

He then went on to recount his own personal experience of sexual harassment as a young actor, where “older, powerful men” would touch him inappropriately, leaving him feeling “powerless”.

“I’ve had my ass grabbed by older, powerful men,” he explained. “I’ve had them corner me in inappropriate sexual conversations when I was much younger.

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

Van Der Beek isn’t the only male actor to speak out against sexual harassment in the wake of allegations against Weinstein.

White Chicks and The Expendables star Terry Crews, also a former NFL player, said the stories emerging were ‘giving him PTSD’ as he himself had experienced sexual harassment just one year ago.

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

“My wife and I were at a Hollywood function last year and a high level Hollywood executive came over to me and groped my privates. Jumping back I said ‘What are you doing?’

“My wife saw everything and we looked at him like he was crazy. He just grinned like a jerk.”

Crews said he would have retaliated or spoken out at the time, but was worried about the potential consequences that such a move would have on his career.

“I was going to kick his ass right then,” he continued, “but I thought twice about how the whole thing would appear. ‘240 lbs black man stomps out Hollywood Honcho’ would be the headline the next day.

“Only I probably wouldn’t have been able to read it because I WOULD HAVE BEEN IN JAIL.

“I decided not to take it further because I didn’t want to be ostracised – par for the course when the predator has power and influence… I understand why many women who this happens to let it go.”

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