Mayim Bialik Apologizes After Being Accused of Victim-Blaming Sexual Assault Survivors

Mayim Bialik is apologizing after receiving backlash for a New York Times op-ed she wrote about the allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein.

In the piece published on Friday, October 13, Bialik, 41, wrote that as a way of being “self-protecting and wise,” she has 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 readers, including fellow actresses Emily Ratajkowski and Gabrielle Union, were quick to condemn the Big Bang Theory star for the essay, in which she also described the “luxury” of being an “average-looking” person in Hollywood, noting that it appeared she was blaming victims of sexual assault for their wardrobe choices.

Mayim Bialik
Mayim Bialik attends the People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

During a Facebook Live video with The New York Times’ opinion section on Monday, October 16, the actress apologized for the way her words were perceived.

“I have stayed off social media, but it has become clear to me that there are people who think that I either implied or overtly stated that you can be protected from assault because of the clothing that you wear or the behavior that you exhibit,” she said. “That is absolutely not what my intention was, and I think that it is safe for me to start this conversation by saying there is no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave.”

She added: “I really do regret that this became what it became, because literally I was trying to speak about a very specific experience I had in a very specific industry — I was not looking to speak about assault and rape in general.”

“I’m a human being, and there’s a lot that I’ve chosen not to share, but absolutely I am deeply, deeply hurt if any women who has been assaulted — or man — thinks that in any way I was victim-blaming,” she continued. “In 900 words, I did the best I could to describe an entire, very complicated dynamic that is really best left for a thesis or an hourlong talk.”

Bialik mentioned Weinstein by name in the text. As previously reported, The New York Times and The New Yorker published investigative pieces that detailed multiple alleged accounts of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein spanning more than three decades. While Weinstein has denied rape allegations against him, many celebrities including Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Minka Kelly and more have come forward with alleged personal accounts of harassment from him. In the wake of the news, Weinstein was fired from his own company and his wife of 10 years, Georgina Chapman, announced she was leaving him.  

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