As It Happens

The Birds star Tippi Hedren says Harvey Weinstein reminds her of Alfred Hitchcock

Tippi Hedren, who says she was sexually assaulted by Alfred Hitchcock when she was a young actress, is applauding those who are speaking out against Harvey Weinstein.
Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren explore Cannes together after the premiere of The Birds' in 1963. Hedren later published a memoir accusing the director of grabbing her. (Keystone/Getty Images)

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The story of powerful men in Hollywood preying on young actresses is as old as the film industry itself, says Tippi Hedren.

In fact, the 87-year-old actress says "this kind of situation is as old as Adam and Eve," and "it doesn't just keep [inside] the boundaries of Hollywood."

"It's been going on forever and I'm delighted that attention is being brought on to this subject because every young woman should know that she does not have to put up with this in any way, shape or form," Hedren told As It Happens host Carol Off. 

Hedren, who starred in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964), published a memoir last year accusing the director of grabbing and threatening her. 

"I'll simply say that he suddenly grabbed me and put his hands on me. It was sexual, it was perverse, and it was ugly, and I couldn't have been more shocked and repulsed," she wrote in Tippi: A Memoir.

"The harder I fought him, the more aggressive he became. Then he started adding threats, as if he could do anything to me that was worse than what he was trying to do at that moment."

Hedren told Off: "This, unfortunately, happens to a lot of young girls, and older women as well."

She said she shut him down right away, despite his alleged threats to ruin her career. 

"I said, 'If this is the way it's going to be, I'm walking out,'" she said. "I was very firm and I said, 'This is not the way it's going to be.'"

She said Hitchcock would stare at her all day long during the filming of Marnie.

"When somebody pulls that on you and they're watching you every minute, it becomes very disconcerting, very annoying, and you know the whole crew noticed that this whole thing was going on," she said.

"It was an embarrassment to me. I hated it there. I was under contract to him." 

The actress said she's glad women have started to speak up about studio executive Harvey Weinstein, who has been fired from his company and is the subject of criminal investigations by London and New York police.

Harvey Weinstein, co-chair of the Weinstein Company, has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by various women in Hollywood. (Steve Crisp/Reuters)

About 30 women — including actresses Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Montreal's Erika Rosenbaum — have accused Weinstein of inappropriate sexual conduct, ranging from comments to rape.

"None of these girls or women have to put up with any of that," Hedren said. 

"When you say no and you walk out on that situation, you are going to feel like you own the world, because you do own your world."

Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister said "any allegations of non-consensual contact are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."

The Birds star says walking out on a bad situation made her feel empowered. (Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

— With files from Associated Press