Casting couch syndrome or casting couch mentality or just casting couch, involves the trading of favors by an aspirant or subordinate to a superior, in return for career advancement. The phrase "casting couch" originated in the film industry, referring to couches in the offices of casting agents that could be used for favors between the agents and aspiring actresses.
The phrase "casting couch" is now often used in reference to other industries besides entertainment. Film, television and music industries have been the subject of casting couch stories in popular culture.
Actor Suchitra Krishnamoorthi of India has revealed that she experienced "casting couch" while struggling to get a break in Bollywood. "I remember many years ago, I had gone to meet a very successful producer about a film role at a plush suburban hotel. They were looking for a new face to launch.'' "After a discussion about academics, family and work experience, the producer asked Suchitra to call her father to tell him that she was spending the night with him at the hotel and that he should pick her up in the morning," the actor wrote in her blog.
Actor Preeti Jain filed a police complaint alleging that film director Mr. Madhur Bhandarkar had exploited her and made false promises of casting her in a lead role in his film.
Actor Woody Harrelson has declared "every [acting] business I ever entered into in New York seemed to have a casting couch....I've seen so many people sleep with people they loathe in order to further their ambition."["Wild and Woody", Stephanie Mansfield, Chicago Sun-Times, July 5, 1996.]
Journalist Peter Keough has described Hollywood as
"a town where everyone is selling body and soul for fame and fortune, and all,
especially women, are considered commodities". ["Taking it off takes off",
Peter Keough, Chicago Tribune, April 30, 1995]