In Brief

Actress Ellen Barkin Reveals She Was Assaulted by Carl Andre in the Late ’70s

Recalling an incident when working as a waitress at 22, Barkin says that Andre choked her over an issue with her service, connecting that assault with Andre’s alleged murder of his wife, artist Ana Mendieta.

Clifford spilling blood
Christen Clifford spilling blood outside of Dia:Chelsea in protest of a 2014 Carl Andre retrospective. The banner reads “I wish Ana Mendieta was still alive.” (photo by Jillian Steinhauer)

Actress Ellen Barkin is no stranger to voicing her views about the abuse of power and gender-based violence in Hollywood and Washington. Yet, her tweet on January 18 caught more attention than usual when she spoke out against artist Carl Andre. Recalling an incident from her 20s when she was working as a waitress, Barkin detailed the terrifying ordeal and connected it to Andre’s alleged murder of his wife, artist Ana Mendieta. She ended her tweet thread with a hashtag: #BelieveWomen. 

According to her tweet, Barkin was a 22-year-old waitress when she worked at a party for Andre. At some point, he became angry at her, shoving her then clasping his hands on her neck and lifting her off the ground. Barkin said it took three men to get him off of her. In a later response, she thanked the bouncer, the restaurant owner, and her boyfriend at the time as the men who helped get her safely away from Andre. 

At the end of her initial tweet and the following response, Barkin connected the violence she survived at that party to the violence Mendieta might have suffered the night she allegedly fell out a window. “Years later Andre’s wife died ‘falling’ out of a window…,” she wrote. “There were signs of a violent fight, a woman screaming No! No! No!” Although Andre was accused of Mendieta’s death, he was eventually acquitted. 

The tweet has been shared over 5,700 times since Barkin posted it on Saturday morning. Many of the replies to Barkin’s story agreed with her view that Andre was behind Mendieta’s death. Others tried sharing examples of Mendieta’s work so not to be overshadowed by the story of her death. A few users shared their own experiences of surviving harassment or assault when working as a waitress. 

Since the case was acquitted, Andre’s exhibits have been greeted with protests in an effort to raise awareness about Mendieta’s death and her work. 

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