Sheryl Lee Ralph recounts a difficult moment in her book DIVA 2.0: 12 Life Lessons From Me For You. While going on her press run to promote the newly released memoir, the Emmy-winning actress spoke about her personal experience relating to the #MeToo movement. She made it a note to clarify the judge in question was not Judge Greg Mathis, whom she loves and says is “a great man.”
“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,” the Abbott Elementary star said, per Vibe. 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.”
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Ralph added that the then-mayor of New Orleans was open to helping her take legal action against the assailant. However, network executives strongly encouraged her not to.
“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.”
She 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.”
The Moesha alum 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.”
Ralph currently stars as Barbara Howard on Abbott Elementary. The show airs Wednesdays at 9 pm EST on ABC.