Karla Souza has spoken out about sexual harassment and assault she allegedly sustained at the hands of a director. Souza, 32, told CNN en Español Tuesday that she was raped by a director early in her career.
Speaking to Carmen Aristegui, Souza, who now stars as Laurel Castillo in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, said she was assaulted by the director while filming on a location in her native Mexico. She declined to name the director.
The actress said she had been separated from fellow castmates as she was staying at a separate hotel where only she and the director had rooms. She claims he then started to drop by at odd hours. She said:
“He knocked at my door saying he wanted to go over some scenes and I thought it’s 2 a.m., it’s not appropriate and it’s something that shouldn’t be happening,”
Souza claimed the director knocked on her door again, but when she refused to open it, he “decided not to shoot my scene and then he suddenly started to humiliate me in front of the others on the set.” She added:
“This was the psychological control that he held over me,”
Souza said that after a month of bearing the brunt of the director’s “total abuse of power” she felt she had no choice but to “give in”. Wiping away tears she said:
“I ended up giving in to him. [I let him] kiss me, to touch me in ways I did not want him to touch me and in one of those instances, he attacked me violently and yes, he raped me,”
Souza didn’t speak out at the time because she feared she would jeopardize her fledgeling acting career.