If the allegations against Harvey Weinstein are hard for you to read, you’re not alone. However, the women that Harvey sexually harassed felt very alone when it was happening to them. As more and more women began coming forward, the public finally found out one of Hollywood’s biggest secrets and the sad thing is, it wasn’t exactly a secret to those in the business.
Lupita Nyong’o is one of the latest celebrities to speak out against Weinstein and her story is particularly disheartening. While every single accusation brought up against him is hard to hear, Lupita’s has caught a lot of attention in the last few days.
Not only did he harass her on more than one occasion, he tried to make her feel as if sexual assault, as well as using sex to further a career, was totally normal.
When the pair ended up at dinner alone, when the second instance of harassment happened, he was blunt with his expectations of the evening.
Let’s cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal.
Not only was his sense of entitlement terrible, he said she had to be willing to allow herself to be harassed if she wanted to make it in the business. As if her saying no would ruin her future.
I 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 abruply told her they were done then, and said she could leave. She, rightfully concerned, asked if they were ‘good’ and his response was again disturbing.
I don’t know about your career, but you’ll be fine.
As we all know, her story is all too common. Many other high profile celebrities have come forward with stories of their own harassment and assault at the hands of Harvey.
Kate Beckinsale shared her story of being harassed when she was only 17. To add insult to injury, Harvey had the audacity to ask her about it years later.
I was called to meet Harvey Weinstein at the Savoy Hotel when I was 17. I assumed it would be in a conference room which was very common.When I arrived, reception told me to go to his room . He opened the door in his bathrobe. I was incredibly naive and young and it did not cross my mind that this older, unattractive man would expect me to have any sexual interest in him. After declining alcohol and announcing that I had school in the morning I left, uneasy but unscathed. A few years later he asked me if he had tried anything with me in that first meeting. I realized he couldn’t remember if he had assaulted me or not.
Lena Headey is another woman who spoke out against Harvey, and her experience came along with a threat. Maybe because she followed her gut feeling and spoke before anything could happen.
He asked me a few questions about the state of my love life. I shifted the conversation back to something less personal. Then he went to the loo. He came back and said, ‘Let’s go up to the room, I want to give you a script.’ We walked to the lift and the energy shifted. My whole body went into high alert. The lift was going up and I said to Harvey, ‘I’m not interested in anything other than work, please don’t think I got in here with your any other reason, nothing is going to happen.’ I don’t know what possessed me to speak out at that moment, only that I had such a strong sense of ‘don’t come near me.’ He was silent after I spoke, furious. We got out of the lift and walked to his room. His hand was on my back, he was marching me forward, not a word. I felt completely powerless, he tried his key card and it didn’t work. Then he got really angry. He walked me back to the lift, through the hotel to the valet, by grabbing and holding tightly to the back of my arm. He paid for my car and whispered in my ear, ‘Don’t tell anyone about this, not your manager, not your agent.’ I got into my car and I cried.
He bullsh–[ed] me for 5 minutes re: movies he could put me in, then asked the assistant to excuse us. As she walked away, he said, ‘I know you were feeling what I was feeling when we met the other night’ and then regaled me with offers of a lavish life filled with trips around the world on private planes etc. IF I would be his girlfriend. Or, ‘We could just keep this professional.’ All I knew was not to offend this very powerful man and to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. I told him while flattered, I’d like to keep things professional. He said ‘Fine. I trust you won’t tell anyone about this.’ I said, ‘Of course not. Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me,’ — the only way I could think to shut it down gracefully and excuse myself.