Sheryl Lee Ralph is not one to bite her tongue. In her new book, DIVA 2.0: 12 Life Lessons From Me For You, the Emmy winner opens up about her personal connections to the #MeToo movement. During her promo run, Ralph appeared on Way Up With Angela Yee and divulged further about being assaulted in the workplace at the hands of a “famous TV judge.” She clarified that it was not Judge Greg Mathis, whom she loves and considers to be “a great man.”
The Abbott Elementary star recalled, “I’m at a very public place. I was suited. I was handling my business for the television show I was on at that time. We were on the same network. This man walked in grabbed me by the back of my neck, turned me around and rammed his nasty a** tongue down my throat. And everybody at the network saw it.”
Ralph even shared that the then-mayor of New Orleans was prepared to take action against her assailant, but the network’s executives urged her not to report the crime.
“The mayor of New Orleans at the time was Marc Morial,” Ralph said. “I called Marc Morial, he said ‘you want me to send the police there right now? ‘Cause we will fix his—you know what—right now.’ Somebody at the network tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘please don’t.’ Do you know that they did not want any bad press around their show and did not care what had just happened to me.”
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The mother of two continued, “That’s the kind of stuff that happens. That’s what happens. That’s what makes it hard for women to speak up about these things.”
On a separate instance, she reflected on being accosted repeatedly by another person, and was later judged for confronting him.
“It’s horrible. It’s like I can think about these things and I’ll tell you, it was like the third time something like this had happened to me and I thought to myself, ‘what did I do to deserve that?’ What made this man think that he could just come over and put his hands on my body, in front of—he didn’t know me,” the Moesha alum explained.
“He sat down at the table across from me. He did not remember any of this, but I had to let him know what he did that night […] Do you want to know what was the shocking part? Everybody around the table was appalled that I would stand up for myself. They were appalled. They told me I should be ashamed of myself, and why would I even bring that up and at the dinner table,” Ralph added.
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These days, she urges women to “speak up, tell your truth [and] do not carry the burden of that pain. Especially if it’s something you feel you cannot work through.”
Watch the original Dreamgirls star’s full chat with Yee above.