Ellen Barkin Says Male Director ‘Ripped My Merkin Off’ During Nude Scene and Said: ‘What Do You Need This For? Nobody’s Looking at You’

Ellen Barkin got brutally honest in a recent interview with HuffPo about battling misogyny, sexism and harassment in Hollywood. The actor revealed that during the making of her 1989 neo-noir thriller “Sea of Love,” director Harold Becker allegedly ripped off her merkin during the filming of a nude scene. A merkin is a loin cloth garment that serves as a pubic wig for actors to wear during nude scenes.

“What was I going to do when [director] Harold Becker on ‘Sea of Love’ walks over and literally rips my merkin off, taking some pubic hair with him and saying: ‘What do you need this for? Nobody’s looking at you,’” Barkin said, adding that Hollywood made her feel so powerless that the answer back then was “you do nothing.”

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Barkin said the alleged incident occurred during a “very difficult” scene in which she was nude on set. The actor added that her co-star in the film was “terrified” by the director’s alleged behavior. “Sea at Love” co-starred Al Pacino and John Goodman.

“This is what [the industry’s] like,” Barkin added. “And I had an easy time with it, believe me.”

Variety has reached out to Becker’s representative for further comment.

Elsewhere in the HuffPo interview, Barkin said she “wanted out” of her series regular role on TNT’s “Animal Kingdom.” Barkin appeared on the series from 2016 to 2019.

“I had been asking to leave for four years. It was not a pleasant place to work.” Barkin said. “Want to talk about treating women disrespectfully?…Men used to come in my trailer and just scream at me. How’s that? With me pushing them out the door saying, ‘Get out of my trailer.’ That’s what it was like for me to go to work.”

“I was like, ‘Wow, I hate these men,’” Barkin added. “Most of them were just like little boys.”

Barkin recently appeared in a guest role on Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne’s murder mystery series “Poker Face,” now streaming on Peacock.

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