During an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show on Wednesday, Laura Dern explained that her mother helped her realize she had experienced sexual harassment and assault when she was just 14

By Maria Pasquini
October 19, 2017 11:17 AM
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Laura Dern has come forward with her own story of sexual harassment.

During an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show on Wednesday, the Big Little Lies actress explained that her mother, actress Diane Ladd, helped her realize she had experienced sexual harassment and assault when she was just 14.

Dern, who had just attended Elle’s Women in Hollywood Awards — where both Jennifer Lawrence and Reese Witherspoon told powerful stories of their own experiences with sexual harassment throughout their careers — said that “a very interesting thing happened this morning, which was I woke up and I realized that in that space, I talked about how I was one of the lucky ones because I was raised by actors who told me their stories and told me what to look out for, and I realized that I was still justifying behavior.”

“It was my mom who said, ‘No, no, no, Laura. That was sexual assault. That was harassment, that was assault. No, you were 14 then,’” added Dern, 50.

“And you realize how in our culture how we have justified and even condoned behavior as if it’s the norm, and I felt very moved by people being honest and direct,” the actress continued, adding that in addition to feeling “moved by people being direct and honest” that night, she was excited that there had been talk “about a forming of a commission, which Kathleen Kennedy presented, to have a place where you can feel safe, even anonymously, to reach out and say, ‘There’s an abuse of power here, and something is not okay.”

RELATED VIDEO: Laura Dern: Sexual Harassment ‘Seemed Like A Prerequisite’ To Working In Hollywood

Dern’s comments come after Harvey Weinstein, 65, was fired from his powerhouse film studio, The Weinstein Company, after eight women — including actress Ashley Judd — spoke out against him in the New York Times report, accusing him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. The paper also reported that Weinstein reached private settlements with eight women, including actress Rose McGowan, who later accused him of rape on Twitter. Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and several other women also added their own accounts of alleged mistreatment, and more than two dozen women have now come forward.

Following the initial NYT report about the allegations, Weinstein said in a statement that he was working with therapists and planned to “deal with this issue head-on.” He has also left Los Angeles and checked into a luxury resort in Arizona.

A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”

Harvey Weinstein in 2016.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Samsung

On Tuesday, Weinstein’s younger brother and longtime co-chair of The Weinstein Co., Bob Weinstein, was accused of sexually harassing a female TV showrunner. Amanda Segel told Variety that while executive-producing the Weinstein Co. drama The Mist, Bob “repeatedly made romantic overtures to her and asked her to join him for private dinners.”

Bob’s attorney, Bert Fields, responded to the article in a statement to PEOPLE.

“Variety’s story about Bob Weinstein is riddled with false and misleading assertions by Ms. Segel and we have the emails to prove it, but even if you believe what she says it contains not a hint of any inappropriate touching or even any request for such touching,” Fields said. “There is no way in the world that Bob Weinstein is guilty of sexual harassment, and even if you believed what this person asserts there is no way it would amount to that.”