Disrespect for Acting - Sexual AssualtsteemCreated with Sketch.

in art •  last year

photograph by Tony Jones (2005)

The first time I was assualted...

I was barely a few months out of college. This wasn't the first time I was assaulted in my life. Maybe one day I'll write about those as well.

(From my manuscript)

I nervously walked into a boutique hotel in midtown. It was one of those buildings that is impossibly skinny and crusty from the outside. The neon pink sign glowed back at me as I glanced back through the door I had just walked through. I walked over to the elevator and punched the floor. The doors shut.

photo Brandon Ruckdashel

I’d learn later that they call these hooker hotels.

His room was as small as the building led me to believe. There was just enough space to open the door before it hit the bed.

“Ever heard of ATA kid?” he asked me.

I feigned recognition and nodded and smiled. I was good at that.


“These are the other guys I’ve seen on my trip to New York. I’m scouting talent. Most of these guys will be in Abercrombie’s next catalogue.”

I thumbed through the dozen or so pictures of half naked guys standing up against a white wall. I wanted to be in Abercrombie’s next catalogue.

“They’re called polaroids. Do you want to take some polaroids?”

I was game. He seemed legit. He talked with confidence.


I backed up against the closest wall and put on my pout. I knew I needed to come across like a wounded animal. Exposed, but still very much alive.

“Great. Now take off your shirt.”

I did. That’s what you do.

“Unzip your pants. Get yourself a little hard.”


The alarm bells were sounding. I tried, but my midwestern side got the best of me.

“Your kind of tense, why don’t we sit down for a second and get to know each other. How does that sound.”

In these games you always try to play along. Is there anything I can gain from this?


My pants were unzipped and his hand was rummaging through my shorts. He was practiced at this.

The alarm bells blared.

I made excuses, and beat my retreat.

I still remember those polaroids. There is always a sliver of doubt questioning my retreat. Maybe that was my shot.


I think we all go through that Marlon Brando moment everyone so often. It is the forever question which becomes the statement "I could have been a contender."

It wasn't the first time it happened to me in New York and it wasn't going to be the last.

I would eventually learn it became harder when it was a trusted friend.

Images featured were polaroids taken by a friend of mine for a Korean Modeling Agency I worked for back in 2007

Photographer Tony Jones passed away a few years ago and his family destroyed what they could find of his work. All photos are fair use

This post is a part of an ongoing series where I am fleshing out my manuscript for my memoirs entitled Disrespect for Acting. Part 1 can be found here

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Thank you for sharing your story.


Thank you for reading it.

Really confused by this series, what is your motive?


I'm laying bare many of my experiences so that others who go through them understand they are not alone. I'm also working through pieces of my memoir. Many of these experiences also worked their way into my film Grinder, which is currently in festivals.

So you are male and was sexually harmed by a scout? Just want to make I got that right.


Yes. I should have seen it coming when he wanted to meet at the hotel. Like many other young aspirational actors I fell for the game he played.


There are things we can do to better protect ourselves but never blame yourself for not knowing or expecting more from people. You didn't do anything wrong. I admire you for being able to talk about with others.


Thank you and I completely agree. Part of what I am trying to do with Disrespect for Acting is blow through all of the lies we are told in acting school. I think it is important to illustrate and accurate image of what the real world of entertainment looks like.

It's sad how people feel they can take advantage of aspiring artists. You hear so much about how women are sexualised in the industry, but it's almost like men are overlooked and for what reason?


The story from the men's perspective is never told. This is mostly due to the stigmatization that homosexuality saw until only recently. I made my first movie Grinder out of some of my stories and many young actresses have made the same comment. It is also heartening for them to see that men deal with the same issues and none of us are alone.


It's just such a shame that all of this is step under the rug with the other fear that if you say something it will cost you your career. This is definitely something that people should talk about more and shed light on the situation that is going on.


it happens everywhere. What is important is that no one feels alone in having a human experience.


Totally agree with you. Unfortunately, it is very much a cycle and has happened for centuries in the arts.