‘He dry-humped me in the office’: Writer reveals how she quit the film industry after being bullied and harassed on-set by an Oscar-winning director and his producers


A writer has revealed that she spent years working behind-the-scenes in the film industry before one terrible experience at the hands of an Oscar-nominated director and an A-list movie producer made her get out for good.

New Yorker Holly Raychelle Hughes says she was berated, cursed at, belittled, pressured to forge documents, and even sexually harassed by top figures while working on a huge film twenty years ago.

The accusations of horrendous behavior, which she’s made in an essay for xoJane, are so shocking that they’ve inspired a guessing game over which film she was plugging away on at the time — and several people have suggested it was on the 1999 movie Election.

Holly had just gotten divorced and wanted to get out of town when a friend offered her a three-month job as a production coordinator in Omaha. She took it, thinking it was what she needed and that she’d be helping out a friend. She never realized what a nightmare the job would turn into.

First, there was George, the assistant director, who sexually harassed her in front of a crowd of people — some of whom stood by and laughed.

‘George hoisted me up on top of a plastic picnic table in the middle of the front office and began dry-humping me,’ she recalled. ‘He pinned me in place as the table legs scooted back against the wall with his bodily force.’

Later, people in the room privately told her how shocked they were by George’s actions, noting that ‘anywhere else, he’d be fired’.

George made plenty of other inappropriate comments, asking if she wanted to ‘act’ in the porn movie that a character in the movie was watching and calling her ‘stupid’ and an ‘idiot’.

Then, there was Jake, one of the film’s producers. Holly said he didn’t seem to know what he was doing — but that didn’t stop him from telling other people how to do their jobs.

Perhaps most egregiously, this involved pressuring Holly to forge Screen Actors Guild papers, changing the number of hours that actors said they worked. When Holly protested — because, after all, that was criminal — he told her, ‘Just do it’.

 He pinned me in place as the table legs scooted back against the wall with his bodily force

Jake also flipped out at her when they ran out of film on set, though stocking the set with film wasn’t one of her responsibilities.

‘How could you let us run out of film?’ he yelled over the phone. ‘What the f*** is wrong with you?’

Once, she had the opportunity to throw Jake under the bus, when she came up head-to-head with the film’s director, Alexander.

Alexander — who already didn’t like Holly because she’d refused to forge those SAG sheets — got angry with Holly for sending an entire script for the film to a minor.

The film had some scenes, including lesbians kissing and characters watching porn, that Alexander worried would make the minor’s parents pull out. He was right to worry, because they saw those scenes and did pull their child out.

‘Tell me Jake made you do it,’ he demanded over the phone. Holly took responsibility, assuming the truth was important. It wasn’t, and Alexander went off: ‘Who the f*** do you think you are?’

‘He called me a every nasty derogatory term and anything else his quick wit thought of. He drowned me under his tidal wave of rage,’ she recalled. Finally, she lost her cool for the first time, telling him that no on speaks to her that way and hanging up with a curse of her own.

 I thought I could take it. I wanted to prove I was strong… But having something to prove is a waste of time and energy

Rather than fire her on the spot, Alexander waited until the day before Thanksgiving, when Holly’s mom was visiting, to punish her. Holly had been invited to sit in as an extra that day, and Alexander waited until all the rehearsals were done to kick her own and make her leave the set — all in front of her mom.

‘I thought I could take it. I wanted to prove I was strong. I could handle all the bulls***. I was smart. I spent years learning all about each department so I could help solve problems. I had something to prove. But having something to prove is a waste of time and energy,’ she explained.

Shortly after, there was a car accident involving a member of the crew driving a truck and a local teenager who attended the high school they were filming at. Holly broke, crying over the poor kid who died ‘because of a movie’.

She said she lost her taste for the business, and left the film industry immediately after filming wrapped.

After reading her account, commenters began speculating over who the infamous George and Alexander really are. Holly hadn’t said that names were changed, and her story left plenty of clues to lead people to the truth.

Several suggested that the film, made nearly two decades ago, was the Reese Witherspoon hit Election. The film was indeed shot in and around Omaha, the set included a high school, two characters have a lesbian relationship, and Matthew Broderick’s character watches porn in one scene.

It was also put out by Paramount, which was mentioned in the article. Holly later posted about her xoJane piece on her personal website, including ‘Election’ in the tags.

The film’s director, Alexander Payne, has been nominated for several Oscars, while the assistant director, George Parra, went on to work on The Fast and the Furious, Sideways, and The Switch.

Neither Alexander nor George have spoken out on the matter, however, and Holly has not confirmed that Election was the film to which she was referring.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3593616/Writer-reveals-quit-film-industry-bullied-harassed-set-Oscar-winning-director-producers.html

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