The infamous sexual assault scene of Beatty’s character, in which one of the perpetrators says, “Squeal like a pig,” haunted Beatty for many years just through people continuously shouting the phrase at him. The scene seemed to take a toll on all those involved, with costar Burt Reynolds saying that it was actually he who called out to stop the scene, not the director John Boorman, after “Boorman had pushed the assault as far as an audience could possibly tolerate.” Afterward, Chris Dickey, the son of the film’s writer James Dickey, said that “Ned [Beatty] tried to snap back out of character, to relax. But it wasn’t working. And that day, and for the rest of the time he was in North Georgia, he seemed to have changed, as if whatever sadness or insecurity he’d covered up before as a man, as Ned Beatty, just couldn’t be contained any more.”
However, Beatty wrote that he’s “proud” of being a part of the story — he even wrote an op-ed about the experience and men’s reaction to rape victims.