“Extra’s” AJ Calloway sat down with Julianna Margulies and activist Erin Merryn, who is the president of Erin’s Law.
Julianna, who has been working with Erin and her child abuse prevention program, opened up about her experiences with sexual harassment in Hollywood.
She shared that she once had an encounter with Steven Seagal, saying, “I wasn’t physically harmed — I want that to be heard loud and clear — but absolutely I had a horrible experience with Steven Seagal in a hotel room... when I was 23 years old that involved a gun and a casting director who lured me to his room with the promise that she would be there. And when I got there, she wasn’t there… I did end up doing the movie, but I made sure there were people around me.”
She explained, “I got out of there because I talked my way out of it. I was in a hotel room alone with a 6’4” black belt, if he is one really. But he made sure to show me that he had a gun by asking me to sit on a specific part of the couch and I sat down and felt something hard underneath me and I jumped up and he said, ‘Oh, sorry, I must have left my gun.’ I had never seen a gun in person before. I was this naive little actress living in Brooklyn. So you are in a room with a tall guy and a gun and he is asking to read my palm and told me he was a healer and wanted to give me a massage. I got out and he didn’t harm me physically, just mentally, because you feel like you are being preyed upon.”
“Extra” has reached out to Seagel’s reps for comment, but have yet to hear back.
Her experience with Seagal led her to be extra cautious when it came to meeting Harvey Weinstein. She recalled, “I had just screen-tested for a film in London. We flew to New York, and another woman, who was with me in the car, said, ‘Harvey loved your screen test. I think that you are going to get the part. I’m going to drop you off at the Peninsula Hotel. He wants you to go to his room to meet him.’”
Julianna went on, “This point I was three years in to ‘ER’ and I already had my career going and I had this horrific experience five years earlier with Steven Seagal. I said, ‘No, I don’t go into hotel rooms with men that I’ve never met.’ I said, ‘I’ll go if you go with me and she said, ‘No, just go.’ And I said, ‘No, I’m not going alone,’ and she started sweating visibly on her forehead and she said, ‘I can’t go with you, just please, just go,’ and I said, ‘I’m going home.’”
Margulies continued, “So she came with me and we went up to his room and he answered the door in a bathrobe.” She added, “And he looked at me pissed and he said 'great audition' and shut the door — and I didn’t get the part, which is fine, but the truth is that I already had a career. Had I not had a career, I probably would have gone. I can back other people up because I can say I saw it, too, as behind him there was dinner set for two and candles. I walked away unscathed. But had I been younger and without any means to pay my rent, would I have gone in? Sure.”
Margulies won Emmys for “ER” and “The Good Wife,” which ended in 2016. She said her life now is “restful.”
“I’m in my kids’ face every day… I miss the people, I just don’t miss the grind.”
She teased AJ that she is about to start a new show, but didn't say what it is. The actress laughed it off when AJ suggested it could be a reboot of “ER.” She joked, “I think it’s a terrible idea.”
Erin also opened up about Erin’s Law, which was her idea after being sexually abused as a child, saying, “I made it my mission to put a face and voice on this silent epidemic.”
She continued, “Seven years now I have gone state capitol to state capitol… It has now been passed in 31 states.” Julianna added, “She is tireless.”
For more information, visit ErinsLaw.org.