Actor James Van Der Beek joined actor Terry Crews in trying to explain why women who are sexually harassed remain silent. Van Der Beek, like Crews, went public with the story that he had been groped by a powerful Hollywood executive when he was a young actor. Van Der Beek said he understood “the unwarranted shame, powerlessness & inability to blow the whistle. There’s a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome.” It’s a statement that matches what Crews, a 240-pound former NFL player, said. Don’t blame the women, and don’t doubt the women — it happened to us, too, is their message.
But Van Der Beek, like Crews, still didn’t name the offender and that led to obviously predictable speculation. As a result, Van Der Beek experienced the difficulty of trying to champion the women without putting his own accusations down concretely. When the speculation began, Van Der Beek implored his followers not to cast aspersions by connecting dots that shouldn’t be connected. He apologized to “any mentors & champions and wonderful friends I’ve made in this industry who may have been pulled into wrongful speculation,” saying that the harassment was by “people 99.9% of you don’t know. 2 were charged (by others) & punished. The other has since died.” But he still didn’t say who they were. Despite Van Der Beek’s noble intentions, his refusal to name his harassers cast a shadow over many of powerful people he’s worked with — people who are innocent, he says. It’s a lesson in how complex the issue of coming forward can become — because of fear.
I realize I left a door open by not initially naming, but please don’t impugn innocent people w/out cause. That’s not fair. Or right.
— James Van Der Beek (@vanderjames) October 12, 2017