Ellen Barkin Alleges Male Director 'Ripped' Covering off During Nude Scene

Ellen Barkin said a male director once ripped off the merkin she wore while filming a nude scene, leaving her completely nude. The alleged incident happened while she filmed Harold Becker's 1989 neo-noir Sea of Love, starring Al Pacino and John Goodman. A merkin is a loin cloth garment actors use as a pubic wig while filming nude scenes.

In a new interview with HuffPo, Barkin, 68, was asked what an actress could do when faced with the misogyny in Hollywood. "You do nothing," she said. "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.'"

(Photo: Universal Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The scene was "very difficult," Barkin recalled. It required her to be completely nude, aside from the merkin. She said her scene partner was "terrified."

"This is what [the industry's] like," Barkin said. "And I had an easy time with it, believe me." A representative for Becker has not commented on the allegations.

Although the #MeToo movement highlighted the abuse of power behind the scenes in Hollywood and other industries, Barkin said she continues to experience mistreatment. When she filmed TNT's Animal Kingdom series, it was "not a pleasant place to work," she said, explaining that she was trying to get off the show for four years. She played Janine "Smurf" Cody in the first four seasons, which aired between 2016 and 2019.

"Want to talk about treating women disrespectfully? On my show, there's a young me... Oh, what is that?" Barkin told HuffPo. "My head just whipped around... I was like, 'What the f— is going on here?′ 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."

Smurf was eventually killed off, but the producers cast Leila George to play Smurf in flashbacks for the final two seasons. Still, Barkin admitted that the work she did onscreen was great. "That was some of the best work I've ever done," she said.

Barkin won an Emmy in 1998 for the TV movie Before Women Had Wings, which also earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Her next movie is The Out-Laws, a comedy also starring Adam DeVine and Pierce Brosnan that will be released by Netflix. She just had a guest role in the Poker Face episode "Exit Stage Death," now available on Peacock.