We are currently being inundated with stories of sexual harassment and assault from the entertainment industry, and part of the reason there are so many is that this has been going on forever. For instance, in 1945, Maureen O’Hara spoke out about being harassed on set.
Business Insider points to this snippet of an interview with O’Hara, shared by pianist James Rhodes, from The Mirror. In it, O’Hara alleges that she was being blackballed for refusing to comply with a producer and director’s desire to manhandle her on set, and that they were calling her a “cold potato without sex appeal.”
“I am so upset with it that I am ready to quit Hollywood. It’s got so bad I hate to come to work in the morning. I’m a helpless victim of a Hollywood whispering campaign. Because I don’t let the producer and director kiss me every morning or let them paw me they have spread word around town that I am not a woman — that I am a cold piece of marble statuary.”
“I guess Hollywood won’t consider me as anything except a cold hunk of marble until I divorce my husband, give my baby away and get my name and photograph in all the newspapers. If that’s Hollywood’s idea of being a woman I’m ready to quit now.”
O’Hara didn’t quit Hollywood; she continued making movies through the 70s according to her IMDB page, with a few smaller parts in the 90s. She died in 2015, and her Guardian obituary mentions this celebrated monologue from Dance, Girl, Dance, in which she yells at a bunch of dudes leering over her dance performance. That was in 1940, five years before she had to complain about harassment in her real working life. If only people had listened to her then.