Emilia Clarke and Jason Momoa in Game of Thrones
November 25, 2019

Emilia Clarke Opens Up About How HBO Pushed Scenes of Rape, Nudity

Unfortunately for women, such as actress Emilia Clarke, Hollywood is no stranger to sexual exploitation. For years, the industry profited off the objectification, harassment, and abuse of women both in front of and behind the camera. In 2017, the #MeToo movement was launched across the country due to women in Hollywood speaking out about Harvey Weinstein.

Emilia Clarke, star of HBO’s Game of Thrones, has spoken out on the issue of exploitation within the industry in a recent interview with actor Dax Shepherd on his Armchair Expert podcast. Clarke, who often had to be completely naked for many scenes throughout the show’s eight season run, said she was often pressured to do so despite feeling uncomfortable—even to the point where both she and co-star Jason Momoa were crying.

Clarke was just 23 years old when she was first cast as Daenerys Targaryen. She didn’t have much experience on professional sets before, and she wasn’t sure what she could or could not ask for. She remembers thinking:

“Regardless of there being nudity or not, I would have spent that first season thinking ‘I’m not worthy of requiring anything, I’m not worthy of needing anything at all … Whatever I’m feeling is wrong, I’m gonna cry in the bathroom and then I’m gonna come back and we’re gonna do the scene and it’s gonna be completely fine.’” [Source: Armchair Expert]

As Clarke’s fame rose with the popularity of the show, so did her ability to negotiate with producers over how much of her body would be on display. In later seasons, Clarke’s character had less nude scenes, despite Game of Thrones continuing to include graphic depictions of rape, incest, and sexual violence on the show.

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Now with Game of Thrones behind her, Emilia Clarke still can’t seem to shake Hollywood’s desire to control and display her body. She describes having fights on sets where the producers would try to convince her to go nude, saying “you don’t want to disappoint your Game of Thrones fans.”

While Clarke says she feels more comfortable in saying ‘no’ now, there are still hundreds of young actresses like her that feel pressured to do nude scenes. Even though the #MeToo movement started in Hollywood, the industry continues to disempower women by requiring these types of scenes that women usually can’t say no to, or else be quickly replaced with another actress who will.

Sexual exploitation has no place in Hollywood, and until these types of practices are eradicated, the industry will continue to be a place that is not safe for women. We commend Emilia Clarke for speaking out on the issue and standing up for her rights on set.

HBO, which produces Game of Thrones and other sexually exploitative shows, was named to our Dirty Dozen List. Read more about it and see what actions you can take here.

Sommer Porter

Sommer Porter_Copywriter

Copywriter

Sommer Porter is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University, earning her
bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in International Development. She is
passionate about solving important world issues such as sexual exploitation through
non-profit work and advocacy. She has worked with several non-profits, including
spending three months conducting a program evaluation for an organization based
in Bulgaria. She now works as a copywriter at the National Center on Sexual
Exploitation and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in the future.

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