Mayim Bialik apologizes for Harvey Weinstien op-ed

Orthodox Jewish actress apologizes after suggesting that modest dress could help reduce frequency of sexual assault, harassment.

Tzvi Lev ,

Mayim Bialik
Mayim Bialik
Public domain

Mayim Bialik apologized on Wednesday for an op-ed she wrote responding to the recent Harvey Weinstein sexual molestation scandal, after critics claimed the actress had blamed women for men’s abusive behavior when she wrote that her modest dress helped her avoid sexual harassment.

The actress, best known for her role on the TV series The Big Bang Theory, wrote on Twitter Wednesday that "I say clearly and explicitly that I am very sorry. What you wear and how you behave does not provide any protection from assault, nor does the way you dress or act in any way make you responsible for being assaulted. You are never responsible for being assaulted."

"I applaud the bravery of the women who have come forward. I support these women as we seek out and demand accountability from the only ones responsible for assault and rape: the people who perpetrate these heinous crimes. I am motivated and driven to work hard to empower women," she continued.

"I am truly sorry for causing so much pain, and I hope you can all forgive me."

Mayim Bialik had written in the New York Times that "I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy."

Talking about modesty is politically incorrect today and Bialik quickly faced backlash from feminists alleging that the actress was blaming victims of sexual assault. "The #MayimBialik @nytimes opinion piece is so problematic and such a step back in the wrong direction. Victim-blaming is never okay" tweeted journalist Emma Silva.

Stung by the criticism, Bialik clarified in a Facebook live video with the New York Times that she never meant to blame sexual assault victims for what they wore. "It has become clear to me that there are people that think I implied, or overtly stated, that you can be protected from assault from the clothing you wear," Bialik said. "That is absolutely not what my intention was and I think that it is safe for me to [say]...there's no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave."