Stage, screen and TV actor Cheyenne Jackson, who’s currently starring in “American Horror Story: Cult,” spoke frankly earlier this week about sexual harassment that male actors face.
Jackson and Martha Plimpton, with whom he co-stars in the new musical film “Hello Again,” currently in limited release nationwide, spoke with me on SiriusXM Progress about the stories of sexual harassment and assault coming out of Hollywood, from Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey.
Plimpton said the reports resonated with her, as she’s experienced harassment ― “I have stories” ― though she hasn’t felt victimized in the way others who’ve spoken out have. And she also noted that there’s harassment by “women against men, sometimes.”
That prompted Jackson to share a bit about his thoughts and his own experiences.
“Yes, I have to echo, kind of verbatim, what [Martha] said. I have stories too,” Jackson said.
“I mean, definitely, I have felt like a piece of meat so much. And part of it, you start to think, like, maybe it’s – because the first couple of parts I did are so based sexually on how I look ― and is it my fault? And maybe like I’m putting that out there that I’m like this hunky thing.”
Then he recounted a story about fans who felt they had liberty to touch him in ways that crossed a line.
“I remember playing Elvis on Broadway and then afterwards, at the stage door, women like, fully putting their hands down my pants,” Jackson said. “And grabbing my leg and grabbing my butt. It’s like, ‘Because you’re playing Elvis I’m allowed to touch you and grab you however I want.’”
Jackson also discussed harassment in the entertainment industry.
“And, in the industry, yeah, I’ve got stories, for sure,” Jackson said. “But like [Martha] said, I haven’t felt personally victimized, or like I can’t do my job correctly, and I know how to deal with it. But thank God this lid has blown up, because things are changing.”