Screen legend Tippi Hedren, who was one of Alfred Hitchcock’s muses, spoke to a panel and discussed the sexual harassment she endured from the famed director.
“I think he was an extremely sad character,” Hedren said on a HBO panel discussing “The Girl,” a new film about her life with Hitchcock. “We are dealing with a brain here that was an unusual genius, and evil, and deviant, almost dangerous because of the effect he could have on people that were totally unsuspecting.”
Hedren was one of those people Hitchcock affected. According to Hedren, not only was he a demanding director, but he also ruined her career and subjected her to sexual harassment.
Hedren was working as a model when Hitchcock picked her to star in the now infamous film “The Birds.” The relationship between Hedren and Hitchcock is the basis of the “The Girl,” and contains scenes that portray the harassment she endured.
In one scene, Hitchcock can be seen forcefully kissing Hedren in the back of car during the filming of “The Birds.” Later, Hitchcock demands that Hedren make herself sexually available to him. The film implies that Hedren was punished for refusing his advances.
Since Hedren was under contract she was forced to work with Hitchcock again on “Marnie,” but she refused to work with him again, which affected her career.
“He ruined my career, but he didn’t ruin my life, “Hedren said, “If this had happened today I would be a very rich woman.”
The contentious relationship between Hedren and Hitchcock was well-known by their peers.
Abuse of power is common in cases of sexual harassment. Sometimes people in high positions use that power to obtain sexual favors or get away with subjecting their subordinates to inappropriate behaviors.
Women didn’t have the same protections against sexual harassment in those days as they do now. With the assistance of a sexual harassment attorney, victims of this kind of misconduct can seek compensation.