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Former Child Star Matthew Lawrence Says He Was Fired After Refusing to Undress for Director

The actor claims that his agency dropped him and that he lost out on a huge role.

When the #MeToo Movement took off in Hollywood in 2017, many people came forward to share their stories of the sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct they experienced within the entertainment industry. And while most of the accounts were shared by women, among the harrowing stories were also allegations from men who've experienced abuse. In a new podcast episode, actor Matthew Lawrence just shared his own story, claiming that a director asked him to strip down so that he could take photos of him, and that Lawrence's agency fired him after he refused. Read on for more of the 43-year-old former child star's account and his thoughts on the "double standard" of men reporting misconduct.

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Lawrence says a famous director asked him to take his clothes off in a hotel room.

Matthew Lawrence hosting "Brotherly Love"
Brotherly Love Podcast / YouTube

On the podcast Brotherly Love, which is hosted by Lawrence and his brothers Andrew and Joey Lawrence, the Boy Meets World actor opened up about a director who was inappropriate with him.

"There have been many times in my life where I've been propositioned to get a huge role," Lawrence said. "I lost my agency because I went to the hotel room—which I can't believe they would send me to—of a very prominent, Oscar award-winning director, who showed up in his robe, asked me to take my clothes off, said he needed to take Polaroids of me, and that if I did X, Y, and Z, I would be the next Marvel character."

Lawrence did not name the director or the project, nor did he say exactly when this occurred. But he did say that he walked out.

"I didn't do that and my agency fired me, because I left this director's room," the actor said.

He thinks men face a "double standard."

Andrew, Joey, and Matthew Lawrence hosting "Brotherly Love"
Brotherly Love Podcast / YouTube

Lawrence went on to say that he believes men's stories of sexual abuse and harassment are received differently than women's, and that it creates a "double standard" that makes men not want to come forward.

"Not a lot of guys, in my opinion, have come out and talked about this in the industry," he said. But, he added, "Now granted, I'd say it's probably about a third of what women go through the amount of men."

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He used Terry Crews as an example.

Terry Crews at the "America's Got Talent" Semi Finals in 2019
DFree / Shutterstock

The Mrs. Doubtfire star brought up actor and host Terry Crews, who alleged he was sexually assaulted by a talent agent. (The agent, Adam Venit, denied the allegation, and the parties reached a court settlement in September 2018, as reported by USA Today.)

"Terry Crew comes out and says it, people are laughing at him," Lawrence said. "People don't support him." He reasoned that this is because Crew is "a man that represents masculinity," adding, "I think our society is less ready to hear that situation is going on with men than they are with women."

Famous men coming forward helps combat the stigma.

Joey, Andrew, and Matthew Lawrence at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

In 2018, the Associated Press spoke to experts on sexual abuse regarding why men can be reluctant to share their stories.

Joan Cook, a psychiatry professor at the Yale School of Medicine who has treated men who have experienced assault, said, "Many of them still espouse this John Wayne mentality. If something bad happens to you, just wall it off and don't acknowledge it to yourself or others."

Psychoanalyst Richard Gartner, who co-founded the organization MaleSurvivor, said that male celebrities speaking out helps other men. "They are models for others to come forward, to tell their families, to find help," he explained. "It becomes a less shameful thing when somebody famous says it happened to them."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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