Wednesday, 17 Apr 2024

Casualty actress Mhairi Morrison reveals she was sexually assaulted

Casualty actress Mhairi Morrison claims she was drugged and sexually assaulted by a French film director just weeks after leaving drama school in Paris

  • Scottish actress Mhairi Morrison said she was sexually assaulted in France
  • She claims she was attacked by French director after leaving theatre school
  • Now based in Los Angeles, she has produced a music video to support #MeToo
  • Features more than 40 survivors of sexual abuse speaking about experiences
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Former Casualty actress Mhairi Morrison claims she was drugged and sexually assaulted by a French film director when she was 24.

The comedienne, who studied drama in Paris, said the attack happened just two weeks after she graduated in the early 2000s. 

The Scottish actress revealed her ordeal in a blog post and said the attacker was a director and she was the ‘envy of every actress in France’ when introduced to him.

It comes as Ms Morrison, now based in Los Angeles, has produced a music video called Don’t Silence Me to support the #MeToo movement.

She appears alongside 40 other sexual assault survivors including women who made allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and actor Bill Cosby, who was jailed for sex crimes last year.  

Former Casualty actress Mhairi Morrison, pictured left and right, claims she was sexually assaulted by a French director after leaving drama school in Paris in the early 2000s

Ms Morrison, pictured right in New York in 2015 at a fashion festival with producer Holly Payberg, left, said she woke up in the man’s bed with no memory of how she got there

Writing in her blog post, Ms Morrison said the director made her feel ‘special’ and she believed her career was about to take off. 

She said: ‘I thought that was it–my career was beginning. He gave me a handful of names and production companies I could call and use his name to ask for a meeting. It was like being handed the golden ticket.

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‘After struggling to get an agent or any kind of work as an actress after drama school, it felt like a dream come true. 

‘To be able to call production companies and agents using his name as a reference opened doors. He then invited me to dinner parties at his house where everyone around the table was in their forties and successful in their glamorous careers of film composing, dancing, writing, and the like. 

‘I was 24, in awe of their world and wanted to be apart of it.’

The actress, centre, has now produced a music video, pictured, to support the #MeToo movement featuring women who made allegations against Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby

She added: ‘He soon began to push our friendship to an uncomfortable level. He would push himself up against me and try to kiss me. 

‘I’d push him away saying that I didn’t want to sleep with him, that I wanted to work with him. That became a repeated mantra.

‘An actress friend of mine warned me, asking why I thought he invited me to all these parties. 

‘I ignored her, choosing to believe that he found me interesting and that he saw how talented I was. I was sure I could keep pushing him away and keep the friendship line drawn. I believed that he would get the message.’

Ms Morrison said their professional relationship was ‘wonderful’ but that several months later she woke up naked in his bed with no memory of how she got there.

What is the #MeToo movement?

In the wake of sexual misconduct revelations about Harvey Weinstein, millions shared their stories about being sexually harassed and assaulted.

The movement began in October 2017 after actress Alyssa Milano followed on a suggestion from a friend of a friend and tweeted: ‘If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.’

The hashtag was tweeted nearly a million times in 48 hours. 

The slogan came after activist Tarana Burke first began using the phrase a decade ago to raise awareness about sexual violence.

It is linked to the Time’s Up movement, which was set up last year after #MeToo to provide funds for women taking legal action against alleged abusers. 

Time’s Up also wants to introduce legislation across the globe to penalise companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims. 

It is backed by more than 300 women in Hollywood including Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams, Laura Dern and Oprah Winfrey. 

She wrote: ‘I don’t know how I got there. I don’t remember anything. It was certain that he drugged and sexually assaulted me.

That morning I walked back to my house in a daze, feeling dizzy as I passed the many newspaper kiosks in Paris that were displaying magazines with his face on the cover. I felt so ashamed; feeling that I had some how brought this upon myself. How could I have been so short sighted, so gullible. 

‘I felt I had let myself down, that straight out of drama school I had ruined everything. My friend had been right all along. 

‘I felt so stupid. I was in so much pain that I had to take painkillers for 3 days just to be able to stand up straight. I wanted to forget it, to blot it out of my mind completely.

‘As I will never know what happened during the time I was drugged I chose to shut it out of my mind, working on the premise that if I didn’t think about it, it wouldn’t affect my life. 

‘I’ve lived many years shoving the memory into the darkest parts of my mind.’

She added: ‘This has been without a doubt the hardest and yet the most important year of my life as I struggle to come to terms with what happened and at the same time consider whether or not I should come forward publicly.

‘The depth of the damage done as a result of that one incident has been extremely far reaching, much more than I could ever have imagined. I’ve realized that I had never again fully trusted myself since this incident, never been able to believe that my instincts were right. 

‘It’s only been in the last couple of months working intensely with my therapist, dismantling all the behavior patterns and beliefs I have which are a result of the incident, that I have been able to fully believe that it wasn’t my fault.’

Ms Morrison said the rise of the #MeToo movement and the allegations made against Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby inspired her to tell her story and help other women come forward.

Her singer/songwriter friend Sadie Jemmett wrote the song for her last year and the pair have been working on the video for the past few months.

In the footage, women are shown removing tape from their mouths to speak out, while lyrics include ‘make him stop but I don’t want to lose my job’. 

Ms Morrison, pictured, said she hoped her story would empower women and help other survivors of sexual abuse come forward

Ms Morrison added: ‘I want to tell my story of the #metoo movement. Of how I went from feeling isolated to empowered and stronger than ever. I have been brought back to life by the people who walked with me and lit my way. Now it’s my turn to pass that on.

‘Don’t Silence Me is about standing up as a survivor and taking back your voice. It’s a reminder that, although you may feel it, you are not alone. 

‘I want the video to empower, to encourage and to offer solace to anyone who has found themselves in a similar situation.’

Twenty per cent of the profits from the song will go to the Time’s Up Fund, which is linked to #MeToo and supports victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. 

Ms Morrison initially earned a BA in Acting at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland before going on to study at Jacques Lecoq School of Theater in Paris.

After leaving school she formed a clown company in France and performed across the country before moving into film and television, appearing in Casualty, ITV series Missing and football hooligan film Green Street with Elijah Wood.  

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