The actor says he and InStyle were as baffled as viewers to be included in a parody of his interview on Fox News
In the wake of Gretchen Carlson’s New York Times article on sexual harassment in Hollywood, this summer saw an astonishing new wave of celebrity accusers coming forward. The People v OJ Simpson actor Sarah Paulson, in conversation with Lauren Corrao for InStyle, told the publication how she had attempted to reach out to Brett Ratner after her agent sent her an audition script he’d co-written, in which the character was “obviously sexually aggressive and rich”.
In response, InStyle called their writers and asked if there were any actors out there who also felt sexually harassed while being auditioned. Included in the list was Penn Badgley, who plays adulterer Finn Hudson in the TV series Gossip Girl. In a segment that went viral, his name and interview were spliced together by the Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham.
Speaking to Elle, Badgley said it was difficult to know what to make of the segment. “I didn’t know what to think, first of all,” he said. “What was the real story of Lauren Corrao’s experience? What was the story I was talking about? It was tough, being the character and being an actor and all that, but the bottom line is all of that stuff happens, and it’s crazy to think it got anything. I was like, ‘Oh wow, it didn’t even reach my ears. It was going to come across in a way that I would just be like, ‘Wow, everyone is really hard up.’”
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Badgley also praised Colson for coming forward with her story and said: “My very emotional support for her as an artist and also as a human being was so important.”
In addition to being an outspoken critic of President Trump and a vocal defender of victims of sexual abuse, Badgley has also spoken out about being bullied online about his appearance after he’d opted to shave off his scruffy beard for the role. “The aggressive response that I saw online … coming up online the response that I saw online was like, ‘Look, you’re not fucking famous, this is not important to you,’” he said. “Then I came up [as my] own best equaliser. It took away the legitimacy, one by one, of all those comments … I just tried to call people to consider that when I was actually in the moment I was in, no one cared about my beard, and also my look … I really tried to come up with practical stuff, instead of feeding it back.”