Johnson took part in The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, where she explained that Hedren was “very encouraging” when the time came to pursue her own career, despite the abuse Hedren endured.
“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 terrorised her. He was never held accountable.”
Hedren, 91, claimed she was sexually assaulted by Hitchcock several times during the making of his 1963 film The Birds, as well as 1964’s Marnie.
“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. “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 wrote she didn’t tell anyone of the assault because “sexual harassment and stalking were terms that didn’t exist” in the early Sixties.
Last week, Johnson received criticism for saying she has mixed feelings when it comes to “cancel culture” and her controversial former co-stars Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer and Shia LaBeouf.
All three men have been accused of abuse, which they have all denied. However, Johnson said she felt “sad” that the actors have been subsequently “cancelled”, while also expressing her sympathy for “anyone who was harmed or hurt.”
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“I never experienced that first hand from any of those people,” Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter.
“I had an incredible time working with them; I feel sad for the loss of great artists. I feel sad for people needing help and perhaps not getting it in time. I feel sad for anyone who was harmed or hurt.”
“What a self-serving position to take by a woman whose Hollywood royalty status creates a layer of protection for her that other women don’t have,” producer Drew Dixon tweeted. “Why doesn’t Dakota Johnson care about the great artists we lost when they were crushed by the abuse? This is gross.”
“I wish people like Dakota Johnson were aware that holding people accountable for their criminal and s***** behavior isn’t something to hold a vigil for,” journalist Stephanie Guerilus wrote. “She must only feel a way if it’s Ellen forgetting her birthday invite.”