Chewing Gum's Michaela Coel opens up about being sexually assaulted while working on a TV show

Note: The following article contains discussion of sexual misconduct that some readers may find upsetting.

Chewing Gum star Michaela Coel has opened up about being sexually assaulted.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International TV Festival’s MacTaggart Lecture (via The Guardian), the actress talked about how she was working overnight on a TV script before heading out to meet a friend for drinks.

She said that she woke up hours later at the production office and had a flashback.

“It turned out I’d been sexually assaulted by strangers,” she said. “The first people I called after the police, before my own family, were the producers.”

According to Coel, the production company was “teetering back and forth between the line of knowing what normal human empathy is and not knowing what empathy is at all”. Eventually the company paid for her to have therapy, but she had to push for it.

She added: “I asked to push the deadline back and for the channel to be informed as to why. The deadline was pushed back, but the head of comedy never found out why.”

The Black Mirror and Star Wars: The Last Jedi star also said that away from her work on Chewing Gum, she spoke to an unnamed TV executive at a party and alleges that his first words to her were “Do you know how much I want to f**k you right now?” and he then called her friend the N-word.

It was announced today that Coel will write and star in a new BBC programme about consent, which is scheduled for late January.

Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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