‘The Birds’ Actress Says Hitchcock ‘Punished’ Her For Refusing Sex
10:45 am, August 3rd | by Laura Donovan
Sexual harassment at work may be punishable by law now, but it wasn’t quite as frowned upon in the 1960s, when director Alfred Hitchcock came out with terror flick, “The Birds” and reportedly made star Tippi Hedren’s life a living hell for refusing to have a sexual relationship with him.
At the Television Critics Association press tour, 82-year-old Hedren talked about the painful reality of serving under a sexually manipulative boss and how women today should know they’re not obligated to abide by the requests of a manager like Hitchcock.
“People have said, ‘Was he in love with you?’ No, he wasn’t. When you love someone, you treat them well,” Hedren said of the movie man, who allegedly told her that he would ruin her career if she did not have a sexual relationship with him. “I think he was an extremely sad character. We are dealing with a brain here that was an unusual genius, and evil, and deviant, almost to the point of dangerous, because of the effect that he could have on people that were totally unsuspecting.”
Hedren, whose awful story influenced upcoming film, “The Girl,” said it was tough to watch the film adaptation of what she endured:
“Actually viewing the film, I have to say that when I first heard [actor Toby Jones's] voice as Alfred Hitchcock, my body just froze. I had not talked about this issue with Alfred Hitchcock to anyone. Because all those years ago, it was still the studio kind of situation. Studios were the power. And I was at the end of that, and there was absolutely nothing I could do legally whatsoever. There were no laws about this kind of a situation. If this had happened today, I would be a very rich women.”
But the happy ending for women of today is that they don’t have to cave into the creepy demands of pervy bosses, said Hedren:
“I hope that young women who do see this film know that they do not have to acquiesce to anything that they do not feel is morally right or that they are dissatisfied with or simply wanting to get out of that situation, that you can have a strength, and you deserve it. I can look at myself in the mirror, and I can be proud. I feel strong. And I lived through it beautifully. He ruined my career, but he didn’t ruin my life.”
Sienna Miller, who portrays Hedren in “The Girl,” agrees:
“I think it’s a very different world for women in film today than it was for women then.”