A Likely Story

Mimi Kramer
15 min readOct 26, 2017
Artemisia Gentileschli’s “Susanna and the Elders” (1610–1)

The actor Stephen Collins once fondled me at an awards ceremony. It’s true. Almost thirty years ago, when I was a theater critic at The New Yorker magazine, I had my butt fondled by Stephen Collins at the Drama Desk Awards. Is “fondle” the right word? It was really more of a caress, I suppose, or it would have been if we had known each other at all. I mean, if we had known each other at all well. And liked each other. It was very much the sort of thing I do to my husband when he’s wearing his shiny black gym shorts. Sometimes when we pass each other on the stairway or in the kitchen I reach out and give his butt a little caress because I know it will make him laugh or smile — after all, we’re getting on in years.

That’s pretty much what Stephen Collins did to me up on the podium at the Drama Desk ceremony. On the podium. While we were presenting an award. Can you imagine? He swept his hand along the lower part of my bottom, and then he did it again as I was walking away. The first time, I couldn’t believe it had happened. The second time, I turned back to look at him, and he smiled and winked at me before going back to smiling and winking at people in the audience. I’d never been to an awards ceremony before, and I remember I was wearing a shiny black dress that I was very proud of because I’d bought it for a song at Fowad’s on Broadway and thought I looked great in it. Maybe I looked as good in my shiny black dress as my husband does in his shiny black gym shorts and Stephen Collins just couldn’t resist.

I hadn’t thought about Stephen Collins for years until I ran across his name in an article I was reading about the Weinstein scandal. Apparently, some years ago, Collins confessed to having sexually abused several underage girls. This was mentioned in the article, and I saw his name and thought, “Stephen Collins, isn’t that the guy who — ” and then I Googled him and saw that it was. There was the face that had smiled back at me so smugly. I saw it and I burst out laughing. How funny, I thought now thirty years later. How funny to have been “fondled” at an awards ceremony by a serial sex offender. I guess I got off easy!

I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the Weinstein scandal. Like most women, I imagine, I’m fascinated by it and by everything that seems to be happening — and not happening — as a result of it. My interest probably derives…

Mimi Kramer

Bylines: NY Magazine, The Daily Beast, Vanity Fair, Time, The New Yorker and elsewhere. "Unrelatable" is a continuing series: https://mimikramer.substack.com/