Casting couch syndrome or just casting couch, involves the trading of sexual 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.'' 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.
Casting couch has existed in Bollywood auditions that were conducted back in the 1950's. Actress Priyanka Chopra, who is arguably one of the biggest stars of the Indian film industry, says that men can also face casting couch according to news agency IANS. In the post-Harvey Weinstein era, will Hindi film industry take a stand against sexual harassment, or casting couch as it prefers to call it? Jyoti Sharma Bawa asks in Hindustan times. Many A-listers have given horrifying casting couch stories that show Hollywood is still rife with sexual harassment.
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.
Producer Chris Hanley told his former classmates that almost every leading actress
in all of his films has slept with a director or producer or a leading actor to get the
part that launched her career. - News from the casting couch, Chicago Sun-Times.
Zhang Yu, a Chinese actress, released videos that she made herself to document her allegations that she won many of her roles through the casting couch and the videos were released on YouTube.