Mayim Bialik, the Big Bang Theory star who was accused of “victim blaming” Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, addressed the controversy Monday in a Facebook livestream in which she said she is “deeply hurt” over the backlash and insisted her words were taken out of context.
Bialik, who portrays the geeky Amy Farrah Fowler on the popular sitcom and as a teen starred in Blossom, penned an op-ed for the New York Times on Friday about what it is like to be a feminist in Hollywood and work in an industry “that profits on the objectification of women.” In the piece, Bialik says she has rarely experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in part because she doesn’t flash her sexuality and try to be a “perfect ten.”
“As a proud feminist with little desire to diet, get plastic surgery or hire a personal trainer, I have almost no personal experience with men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms,” she wrote.
“I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise,” Bialik added in the op-ed. “I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.”
Many people were offended by Bialik’s words, which some said insinuated that women subject themselves to sexual misconduct because of the way they look or dress.
In a tweet Sunday, Bialik said her words were taken out of context. During a live chat with the New York Times on Monday, she defended herself fully, saying she was not victim blaming or “passing judgment” on women who don’t dress as modestly as she does. “There is no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave. I really do regret that this became what it became,” Bialik said.
“Absolutely I am deeply, deeply hurt if any woman in particular who has been assaulted, or man, thinks that I was victim blaming,” she added.
Bialik wrote the New York Times op-ed as several women in Hollywood were coming forward with claims that Weinstein sexually harassed or raped them. Weinstein has denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex,” according to his spokesperson.