More than 12 years a predator…
If you didn’t know his name before, you are certainly well acquainted with it now.
Harvey Weinstein, the super producer behind films like Pulp Fiction and Chicago, has been under immense scrutiny for 19 days. More than 40 of women in Hollywood have come forward to accuse Weinstein of multiple accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault over the last few decades: the first being Ashley Judd.
The actress revealed to The New York Times that Weinstein asked if she would watch him shower and repeatedly suggested unwanted contact – such as a massage or a shoulder rub – regardless of how many times she refused.
For Judd, things started when the notorious producer invited her to The Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel in Los Angeles, CA for an alleged business meeting. When she arrived, she was sent up to his room “where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview,” reports the Times, who’s responsible for breaking the news on Weinstein’s allegations.
“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” the Emmy-nominated actress remembered.
Following Judd, dozens of actresses and staff in Hollywood came forward with their own stories of assault and abuse. A-listers like Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne, and Rose McGowan have all come forward, sharing stories of inappropriate comments and contact to recounts of rape. So many have come forward that the long-time producer and studio executive was booted from the board of his own company, The Weinstein Co.
One of the most recent actresses to come forward has been Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o. In an op-ed piece published by The New York Times, she recounts – with substantial detail – her tales of torment from the Hollywood hot shot. Nyong’o writes that early on in her career “Mr Weinstein,” invited her over to his home for a “private screening” of a film.
With his kids in the home, Weinstein lead Nyong’o up to his bedroom where he asked if he could massage her. “I thought he was joking at first,” writes the Yale-graduated actress. “He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe.
She goes on to illustrate why she (kinda) obliged, and gave the producer a massage.
“Part of our drama school curriculum at Yale included body work, using massage techniques on one another to understand the connection between body, mind and emotion,” Nyong’o pens. “So I felt I could rationalize giving him one and keep a semblance of professionalism in spite of the bizarre circumstance…Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so…”
According to Nyong’o, this was not the only time Weinstein overstepped professional boundaries. She writes about several instances when Weinstein made her uncomfortable, using his power in Hollywood as weight against a young and striving Lupita.
Her piece goes on to talk about an instance when Weinstein invited her out to dinner, while blatantly propositioning her. “Let’s cut to the chase”, he said “I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal.” Nyong’o was “stunned.”
“I told him I preferred to eat in the restaurant. He told me not to be so naïve. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing. He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them.”
This blatant harassment is similar to the stories that other women have shared regarding their (not so) professional interactions with Harvey Weinstein. Lupita writes that it was not until she won the Academy Award for 12 Years a Slave in 2014 that Weinstein approached her to apologize for the way he treated her.
This kind of power dynamic in Hollywood is unfortunately not new. Many of the women who came forward have admitted that they kept their stories silent for so many years due to the weight that Weinstein, and others like him, hold in the industry. These women are made to feel that their careers may be in jeopardy if they make waves among powerful executives.
Since N’yongo’s piece was released, Weinstein has released a statement through a representative, which says that he has “a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry.”
Lupita’s accusation is currently the only one that Weinstein has released a statement against.