And there’s video to prove it. Geena Davis’ new memoir describes her lifelong plight of being hypersexualized and disrespected. At its apex, she was sexually harassed by Bill Murray while on TV, talking about being sexually harassed by Bill Murray. In a clip of Davis and Murray talking with Arsenio Hall, Murray just can’t keep his hands to himself — no matter how far Davis tries to pull away.
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Bill Murray Touched Geena Davis Inappropriately on Arsenio Hall’s Talk Show
In an interview with the UK publication i, Davis admitted that “what happened with Bill Murray was so devastating.” She had met to discuss her memoir, Dying of Politeness. The memoir details how Davis was raised with a crippling sense of politeness, one that led her to self-deprecate and often give her power away.
One of the times Geena Davis gave her power away was while on Arsenio Hall’s talk show with Bill Murray. The two actors were there to discuss their recent comedy, Quick Change.
Right off the bat, Murray is turning toward the camera and acts hot and bothered. He and Davis hug and then he kind of shakes his head and body in a “shake it off” way. Arsenio segues into asking about how Davis auditioned for the role.
Davis is wearing a lime green strappy bodycon dress (striking with her red hair). She’s giving her classic, mile-wide smile — the one that very few other Homo sapiens can imitate, save for perhaps, Julia Roberts. She is, effectually, just being Geena Davis: Amazonian, rail thin, bubbly, bombshell.
Before Davis has a chance to respond to Arsenio, Murray starts stroking her right arm. He’s acting much like a rhesus monkey, meticulously scouring his mate for lice. He strokes her arm with his hand and Davis says, “Yeah, I did, I had to audition. It was a lot like this, in fact.”
“Really?” asks Arsenio. “He touched you a lot in the audition?”
Geena Davis Is Smiling but Her Eyes Are Terrified
“Yeah,” Davis says, eyes wider than her mouth.
As she says this, Murray pulls her dress strap down. Davis quickly puts it back, but Murray never stops touching her.
“Are you serious?” Arsenio asks.
“I swear, yeah. The first thing he did was take my shirt out of my pants and start tickling my stomach,” Davis says, using her hands for emphasis.
The audience is laughing and the whole thing is being played off like it’s hilarious. Except, it’s not. Geena Davis is leaning heavily in the opposite direction of Bill Murray. If there wasn’t a couch arm there, she would have rolled away. But at the same time, she’s playing it off, like she’s talking about a funny memory. All the while, she’s being molested on stage by the guy who took her clothes off and tickled her stomach at her audition.
The uncomfortable interview continues with Arsenio. Davis talks about how Murray used a “massage device” on her during her audition. Murray calls the device “The Thumper.”
“So, he gets out this Thumper thing,” Davis says. “And he says, ‘You should try this. I’m going to massage your back with this thing.’ And I’m like, I’m thinking, ‘No way.’”
At this point, Murray does something to Davis but it’s off-camera. She stops speaking to elbow him away and says, “Excuse me,” and giggles.
“Sorry honey, it’s very soft,” Murray says, looking down at his pants.
Davis continues to talk about the massage device.
“I’m like, ‘This will be part of how I’m going to be tough.’ There’s like, no way in hell I’m going to let him touch me with this thing. And you know, cut to five minutes later and I’m like, lying on the couch …” Murray ended up massaging her despite the fact that she didn’t want him to.
Davis acknowledged the fact that she was smiling during this entire interview but there was “a look of discomfort in her eyes” at the same time.
“Oh, you saw?” Davis asked. “Isn’t it stunning? It’s awful… I forgot that. Telling it that way, just as a humorous anecdote, I must have thought, ‘Well, it’s ultimately funny, or makes a good story,’ when in fact it was so devastating.”
Davis Wrote That Murray Massaged Her Despite Her Objections
In Davis’ memoir, she wrote about the massage incident in more detail.
“I said no multiple times, but he wouldn’t relent,” she wrote. “I would have had to yell at him and cause a scene if I was to get him to give up trying to force me to do it. The other men in the room did nothing to make it stop. I realized with profound sadness that I didn’t yet have the ability to withstand this onslaught — or to simply walk out.”
Davis also wrote that Murray would often verbally berate her in front of hundreds of cast and crew members while she was adjusting her wardrobe. He had come to her dressing room door, screaming and “violently banging” on it before yelling at her. The entire ordeal left Davis “shaking all over.”
Bill Murray’s History of Misconduct Allegations
By all means, this is not the first accusation of Bill Murray behaving inappropriately toward women. We reported that he allegedly paid a $100,000 settlement after a female staffer from Being Mortal said he was “straddling” and “kissing” her on set.
And Vanity Fair reports that a long list of people, including Seth Green, Chevy Chase, Lucy Liu, and ex-wife Jennifer Murray, have accused Murray of misconduct. That misconduct ranges from throwing 9-year-old Seth Green in a trash can to physical altercations and verbal abuse.
Susan Sarandon Helped “Reprogram” Geena Davis
As for Geena Davis, she finally found some strength when she got to work with Susan Sarandon on Thelma & Louise. Davis said that after meeting Sarandon, “everything changed.”
Describing Sarandon as a direct woman who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, Davis described a time when the Thelma & Louise director, Ridley Scott, wanted Davis to take her top off in the car scene. The suggestion left Davis frightened but unable to find the correct words to say “no.” She said that Sarandon confronted Scott and said, “Geena’s not taking her top off.”
Davis said that “was like a reprogramming for me. Just to observe Susan moving through the world was like learning a new language.”
Silke Jasso contributed to this article.