Dakota Johnson is opening up about her grandmother Tippi Hedren’s experiences working in Hollywood.
The Fifty Shades of Grey star sat down for a live taping of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast where she said Hedren — the mother of actress Melanie Griffith — “was encouraging” of her when it came to pursuing an acting career despite the abuse she endured in the industry.
“She’s always been really honest and firm about standing up for yourself. That’s what she did,” Johnson said. “[Alfred] Hitchcock ruined her career because she didn’t want to sleep with him, and he terrorized her. He was never held accountable.”
Hedren worked with the director in the 1963 film The Birds as well as 1964’s Marnie. In her 2016 memoir, Tippi, the actress, now 91, claimed she was sexually assaulted by Hitchcock several times during the making of both films.
“It’s completely unacceptable for people in a position of power to wield that power over someone in a weaker position, no matter the industry,” Johnson continued, growing emotional. “It’s hard to talk about because she’s my grandmother. You don’t want to imagine somebody taking advantage of your grandmother.”
“I think the thing that she’s been so amazing for me and with my mother is just like, no you do not put up with that s— from anybody,” she said. “She would say it in a far more eloquent way. She’s such a glamorous movie star, still.”
Hedren recounted her experiences with Hitchcock, who died in 1980, in her memoir, saying the director would have his driver drive past her home and had once asked Hedren to “touch him” while they were working on The Birds.
She also said the director once tried to force her to kiss him in the back of a limo, writing in the book, “It was an awful, awful moment.”
Hedren wrote she didn’t tell anyone of the assault because “sexual harassment and stalking were terms that didn’t exist” in the early 1960s.
The actress said things escalated once again when she worked with the filmmaker on Marnie, writing of one instance where he showed up at her dressing room and “put his hands on me.”
“It was sexual, it was perverse,” Hedren wrote of the incident.
Since that time, Hedren has continued acting appearing in films like I Heart Huckabees, Citizen Ruth, I Woke Up Early the Day I Died and the TV show Cougar Town.
In May 2020, Johnson revealed during an interview on The Graham Norton Show that Hedren continued to live with tigers and lions in her home.
“She has 13 or 14,” Johnson said. “There used to be like 60 cats, and now there’s just a couple.”