Jane the Virgin‘s Justin Baldoni is spearheading change to improve the lives of women in the entertainment industry. The actor recently rallied for women’s advancement in Hollywood in an interview with the storytelling platform MAKERS and is also developing a weekly talk show titled Man Enough to explore and challenge “what it means to be a man today.” Now, the actor is shedding light on a pressing topic in the media over the last few months: masculinity and sexual harassment.
During the TedWomen conference, Baldoni told Glamour magazine that he stands with all the individuals who have come forward with sexual harassment stories because he experienced it himself during his early years of her career. “When I was 21 or so, I was very new in the business,” he said. “A girlfriend at the time had gotten me a spa certificate… I remember there were hot tubs and steam rooms and all kinds of stuff, and it’s kind of fancier people, wealthier guys. I went and jumped in the hot tub and I saw a guy kind of look over.”
“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 explained, “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.”
The father-of-two said that as soon as he understood what was happening, he left the hot tub. But that wasn’t the end of his experiences with harassment. “I’ve also experienced [harassment] as a man from women of power,” he revealed. “I’ve had my ass grabbed multiple times by powerful women.”
Baldoni also admitted that he’s been on the giving end of inappropriate conduct toward women: “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….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.'”