This article contains descriptions of child sexual harassment.
Bella Thorne is opening up about her experiences with being sexualized as a child in the entertainment industry. In a Dec. 27 episode of Emily Ratajkowski’s podcast “High Low With EmRata,” Thorne discussed her experiences growing up in Hollywood, revealing some of the tough situations she found herself in as a kid.
“I started modeling at 6 weeks old,” Thorne shared, revealing she had a Pottery Barn gig booked “before I got out of the womb.” She began experiencing sexualization at a young age, saying it was “f*cking stressful” with “not only the whole world watching you, but specifically men, and people and women around you telling you this is the box you have to fit in.”
She went on to share a disturbing story about an experience she had as a 10-year-old. “I had a director give me feedback once, and I was 10. The casting director calls my agent, and the agent calls my mom, and they’re like, ‘So, she’s not moving forward because the director felt like she was flirting with him, and it made him really uncomfortable,'” she said. “What the f*ck are you talking about, man? I don’t give a f*ck what I said. I don’t care if I said, ‘Eat my p*ssy right now’ — she is 10 years old! Why ever would you think that? Why?”
Ratajkowski responded, “Just putting that on a 10-year-old child and making it like they made an adult man uncomfortable is insane. And then that was relayed to a casting director who was happy to relay that to your mom. If you need a more f*cked-up story about Hollywood and, like, pedophilia and the sexualization of children, I don’t know that there is one.”
“Also you’re in a director session. You can’t really say or do much,” Thorne said. “You do the scene, you say hello, you walk out. There’s no time to like, lemme go sit on your lap or make you feel uncomfortable. What the f*ck are you talking about, man?”
Thorne said that for a long time she blamed herself for what happened. “I’m trying to find, almost, fault in myself,” she said. “Like, ‘What did you do, Bella? What did you do that made him feel like this?’ And every time I’m like, ‘Bella, stop it. Even that thought right there is becoming part of the problem. Don’t even think that thought.’ It does drive me crazy.”
Ratajkowski told Thorne to “forgive” herself, saying she was a “f*cking kid” and “didn’t do anything” and adding that she hopes the unnamed director “rots in hell.”
Both Ratajkowski and Thorne have been open about their experiences with being sexualized at a young age in the entertainment industry. “I developed very young, so I was more conscious of sexuality and being a pretty girl-woman,” Ratajkowski told the Los Angeles Times in 2015. “Having men look at you and really having no idea what sex is a very strange experience.”
For Thorne, coming to terms with her sexuality has been a journey of empowerment. “I’ve rocked the word ‘sex’ for a long time, and I’ll always keep rocking this word,” she said in the podcast. “It’s been put on me since I was so little, but I’ve taken so much power back by owning that word.”
Watch a clip from the episode below.
Today on High Low w/ Emrata, @bellathorne
♬ original sound – Emrata