Justin Baldoni is a proud feminist who uplifts women every chance he gets. Now that Hollywood has been rocked by women coming forward with their accounts of sexual assault and harassment by powerful men in his industry, the "Jane the Virgin" star is moving the conversation forward by sharing an uncomfortable moment he went through early in his career in an eye-opening interview with Glamour.
Baldoni talked about an incident that happened when he was just 21 years old, fresh off his first show.
A girlfriend he had back then gave him a gift certificate to a spa called Burke Williams in West Hollywood. He recalled that it had hot tubs and steam rooms, and that the crowd there had "fancier people, wealthier guys." It was in that environment that a predator tried to take advantage of him.
"I went and jumped in the hot tub and I saw a guy kind of look over," Baldoni told Glamour.
"I saw him look over at me, jump out of the other hot tub, and jump in with me, and he said, 'Oh what do you do?' And I said, 'Oh I’m an actor,' and he said, 'Oh I’m a producer,' and he started talking about all of the movies he’s done and all the people he knows. He’s friends with Clooney, Cheadle, and this person and this person, and he slowly started to try to get me to take off my pants because I had my bathing suit on and he was naked."
Baldoni reflected on how the aggressor used his power to try to make him feel small and threaten his success. For a moment, he debated what to do before ultimately getting away.
"'Well, should I do that? And where does that lead?' … I remember a split second [of thought], and then going, 'What? No,' and just leaving," he said.
But Baldoni didn't tell his story without thinking about the countless women who have been through the same situation.
"I could imagine how hard and painful that must be for a woman. I mean I was stronger and bigger than the guy, and [then there’s] the fact that no one is going to believe you if you’re a woman because your voice is already not heard… "
He gets it!
But the hot tub incident wasn't the only time Baldoni was harassed. "I’ve had my ass grabbed multiple times by powerful women," he told Glamour.
This is completely unacceptable!
The actor admitted that he has not been perfect, but had the right response men should have to women's #MeToo movement.
Baldoni feels that men need to come to terms with the times they could have offended a woman without even knowing it. "I think that’s when the other side of the 'Me Too' movement is 'I’m Sorry.' I guarantee at some point in my life there is a woman or two that I in some way made uncomfortable by saying something or doing something that was chauvinistic or sexist. There is one million percent probability that that exists, and all I can do is say, 'I’m sorry, I was naive, I was young, I screwed up, and I’ll try to do better.'"