Jane Seymour: Women have to learn how to express 'no' from 'I'm not sure'

Writer, Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle
Yahoo Lifestyle

Jane Seymour is one of the many actresses who has shared her #MeToo story. The Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman star, who is returning to television on Pop TV’s Let’s Get Physical, spoke with Yahoo about the movement sweeping the nation.

Last year, Seymour revealed that a powerful producer attempted to take advantage of her at age 22 when she came to America to audition for a movie. When she rebuffed his advances, he threatened to destroy her career.

Jane Seymour attends the Bloomberg 50 celebration at Gotham Hall on Dec. 4, 2017, in New York City. (Photo: Getty Images)
Jane Seymour attends the Bloomberg 50 celebration at Gotham Hall on Dec. 4, 2017, in New York City. (Photo: Getty Images)

“The reason I told my #MeToo story is that it was very specific,” she tells Yahoo. “Because of that, I stopped acting for a year. I was at the height of my career. I just quit. Because of it, I had to lie, and because of it, I realized my own agent and another producer fed me to the lion’s den.”

The actress believes her agent and another producer were complicit in putting her into the bad situation. “If you think about it: Were they thinking to themselves, ‘Oh, she’ll nail it if she screws him’? Right? Or what else could have happened? It could have only gone wrong.”

She continues, “I have nothing wrong [against] being flattered, especially when I was younger. People would say, ‘Oh, my God, you look great,’ or ‘I wish I could go out with you,’ or something like that. That’s completely different from ‘You will not work unless you have sex with me right now.’ That’s a bit different.”

The actress is grateful the situation didn’t have a different ending.

“Mercifully, I haven’t been raped, but I have very close friends and people around me who have,” Seymour adds, calling those stories “the most horrendous, horrible things you can possibly imagine.”

Still, she cautions women to be careful about the signals they put out there to men by the way they dress or behave.

“I really think that the #MeToo movement is important in that women realize that when they put themselves out there — the way they dress and come across in a certain way, especially if they are inebriated — you know, to kind of say, ‘Hey hey hey … I’m highly available.’ They can expect to be requested and be thought they are available,” she explains. “I think you have to — the same way that men need to — think twice [about] the way they behave or the way they listen to the word ‘No.'”

Seymour adds, “‘No’ doesn’t mean ‘yes.’ It doesn’t mean ‘maybe.’ It means ‘no.’ Women have to learn how to express ‘no’ from ‘Oh, well, I’m not sure.’ Be clear. My young kids tell me it’s all done digitally anyway. … We’re so far beyond what I know.”

Sexual harassment scandals have been rocking Hollywood for about four months now, but Seymour says she’s optimistic about where women are headed in the industry.

“I am [optimistic], actually,” she says. “I speak to women in the workplace who say that there is definitely a significant shift and people are a lot more aware that the ol’ boys [club] thing is dangerous. People are looking around and saying, ‘This is how we used to do this, but a lot of people are concerned.'”

Seymour’s grandchildren — ages 2 and 5 — are already marching for change. Her daughter and two grandchildren participated in the Women’s March last weekend.

Additional reporting by Hilary Sheinbaum

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