Childfree actress and director Kathy Burke says powerful men in the movie business showed no interest in her as she is not “conventionally pretty”

By Nina Steele 

I never thought I would live long enough to witness what’s currently happening in the movie industry. It’s fair to say that many of us have heard of the infamous ‘casting couch’. Sadly, because the people on the receiving end of such abuses felt too intimidated to speak out, the conventional wisdom was that it was part and parcel of the business of being an actor. Well thank goodness that this is no longer so and that this most shameful and despicable side of the movie industry is now being exposed. Those once powerful men will finally heed the age-old advice that “those to whom much is given, much is also expected”.

While promoting ‘The Retreat’, a play currently showing at the park theatre and for which she is the director, Kathy Burke was asked if she had been on the receiving end of sexual harassment. Her answer was an emphatic “No”. She went on to say: “I was never the sort of girl that those sorts of men were interested in. I’m not conventionally pretty and I’m also quite coarse and I’ve also got a very big mouth, and if anyone had tried that with me I would have probably head-butted them and reported them to the police”. With so much anger directed at these men right now, I doubt many people will be offended by her choice of words.

She also explained that her decision to become a director instead of just an actress, was partly so she could have some power in the industry, since just being an actress meant being continuously at the mercy of other people. She feels for ever indebted to the late Swedish actress and director Mai Zetterling for giving her a “life-changing piece of advice” on how to survive and prosper in the industry. Mai Zetterling reportedly told her: “You need to be strong. You need to not just be an actress, you should write, you should direct, you need to get power and that’s the only way you’ll get power and some control in your career”.

Now that these men have been exposed for the lowlifes that they are, I hope that this will herald a new dawn for young talents coming into the industry, and that never again will anyone be tempted to use their power in this way. I think we can all agree that the days of the casting couch are really and truly over.

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