Emma Watson is recalling the harrowing story of how paparazzi lay on the floor to take photos up her skirt as soon as she turned 18 in 2009.
Watson recalled the disturbing photographer presence she was met with following her 18th birthday party while launching HeForShe Arts Week in New York on March 9, where Emma retold the disturbing paparazzi story during a candid gender equality interview alongside Forest Whitaker.
“I remember on my 18th birthday,” Emma said in the interview, “I came out of my 18th birthday party and photographers laid down on the pavement and took photographs up my skirt, which were then published on the front of the English tabloids the next morning.”
Watson then went on to point out that just a matter of hours made the difference in whether the photos were illegal or not. “If they published the photographs 24 hours earlier they would have been illegal, but because I had turned 18 they were legal,” Emma said.
Emma Watson also spoke candidly about how her transition into womanhood differed from how her Harry Potter co-stars grew up in the public eye, pointing out that her male colleagues were not subjected to the same actions by the paparazzi.
“Obviously Dan [Radcliffe] and Rupert [Grint], who were my male co-stars, don’t wear skirts,” Emma joked at the event, “but I think that’s just, sort of, one example of how my transition to womanhood was dealt [with] very differently by the tabloid press than it was for my male counterparts.”
Emma made the pretty surprising paparazzo admission when asked to recount her own personal experience with discrimination in the arts, after which Watson clarified that her “biggest area of contrast” when it came to gender inequality in her life and career was actually within the entertainment industry and particularly involved tabloid newspapers.
Emma’s latest appearance at the HeForShe event, which Watson first launched alongside the UN in 2014, comes shortly after Watson announced plans that she was taking a year away from acting in order to continue her activism and to work on “personal development.”
“I almost thought about going and doing a year of gender studies, then I realized that I was learning so much by being on the ground and just speaking with people and doing my reading,” Emma Watson told Paper Magazine of her plans to take 12 months away from the spotlight.
“I was learning so much on my own. I actually wanted to keep on the path that I’m on. I’m reading a lot this year, and I want to do a lot of listening,” Emma added.
In addition to speaking out about gender equality in New York this week, Watson also recently spoke out about sexism and sexual harassment in a candid new interview with Esquire, where Emma bravely admitted that she’s been groped, stalked and harassed in the past.
“I’ve had my arse slapped as I’ve left a room. I’ve felt scared walking home. I’ve had people following me,” Emma told the magazine earlier this month, admitting that she rarely speaks out about those negative experiences. “Coming from me they’ll sound like a huge deal and I don’t want this to be about me, but most women I know have experienced it and worse,” Watson said.
“This is unfortunately how it is,” Emma continued in the candid new interview with Esquire, “It’s so much more pervasive than we acknowledge. It shouldn’t be an acceptable fact of life that women should be afraid.”
What do you think of Emma Watson’s new remarks about up skirt shots, gender equality and her year away from acting?
[Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images]