The recent stream of women in Hollywood coming forward about sexual assault and harassment in the industry has taught us many things. But the most important is to be vocal about sexual misconduct.
In a recent interview with Access Hollywood, Laila Ali revealed that, as a teenager, she was sexually harassed by an older man. The mother of two was on the show to promote her upcoming cook book, Food for Life, due to be released next January.
“I remember when I was a manicurist and I was working in Malibu, and I did a house call… I was 18 at the time,” she began. “The man comes out in a bathrobe and his wife says, ‘He wants to get his pedicure upstairs.’ Comes out, no underwear on. And I was so young, I’m like sitting on the floor looking up at this 60-year-old man’s you-know-what.”
“I was afraid. Even me, because it was so uncomfortable and I was like, ‘Maybe he doesn’t know. Maybe he doesn’t realize.’… Now, being older I’d be like, ‘Excuse me, sir. You need to put your underpants on before I give you a pedicure.'”
When asked if she told her dad boxing champion, Muhammad Ali, about the incident, she said she did not.
“I did not tell my dad,” she admitted. “I don’t know what he would have done. I wish now. I think it happens more than it does not. So I can understand these women. You’re just caught off guard sometimes and feel like, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do?’ And I was a young girl at the time.”