Updated Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, 9:54 p.m. EDT: Harvey Weinstein says that his recollection of events differs from that of actress Lupita Nyong’o.
In a statement issued to E! News, a spokesman for Weinstein said, “Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry. Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show Eclipsed.”
I love how they threw in the part about her supposedly inviting him to a show, as if that would somehow mean he was not a predator. There are now more than 40 women accusing Weinstein of being a creepy, rapey perv, so save us your “but she invited me to her show” spiel.
Also, to date, has Harvey come out to deny any other allegation against him? Why did he pick Nyong’o as the accuser whose story he would deny?
We don’t believe you, Harvey. You need more people.
Actress Lupita Nyong’o penned a heartfelt op-ed in the New York Times on Thursday saying that she, too, has been sexually harassed by Hollywood sexual predator Harvey Weinstein.
“I have been following the news and reading the accounts of women coming forward to talk about being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein and others,” Nyong’o wrote. “I had shelved my experience with Harvey far in the recesses of my mind, joining in the conspiracy of silence that has allowed this predator to prowl for so many years. I had felt very much alone when these things happened, and I had blamed myself for a lot of it, quite like many of the other women who have shared their stories.”
Nyong’o said that ever since tales of Weinstein’s repeated abuse have been talked about openly by so many women, she has been unable to keep the memories of what happened to her from resurfacing.
“I have felt such a flare of rage that the experience I recount below was not a unique incident with me, but rather part of a sinister pattern of behavior,” the actress wrote.
Nyong’o’s first encounter with Weinstein happened in 2011 at an awards ceremony in Berlin. She was still a student at the Yale School of Drama, and an “intermediary” introduced Weinstein to her as “the most powerful producer in Hollywood.”
She said that when she vetted Weinstein among her colleagues, she was told by a female producer to “keep Harvey in your corner.”
The woman also advised her: “He is a good man to know in the business, but just be careful around him. He can be a bully.”
Nyong’o said that she exchanged information with Weinstein in hopes that he would consider her for one of his projects.
“I wanted to keep things professional, so I made a point of referring to him as ‘Mr. Weinstein.’ But he insisted that I call him by his first name,” she wrote. “In this first encounter, I found him to be very direct and authoritative, but also charming. He didn’t quite put me at ease, but he didn’t alarm me, either.”
Her next encounter with Weinstein involved him inviting her to his home in Westport, Conn., to attend a screening of a film. It was during this encounter that Nyong’o got to witness firsthand just how predatory and overly aggressive Weinstein could be.
He had a driver pick her up and bring her to meet him at a restaurant in Westport prior to the screening. During the lunch, he tried to force an alcoholic beverage on her, she recounted, and when she repeatedly refused, he called her “stubborn.”
They went to his home after the lunch, and he introduced her to his domestic staff and his young children. He gave her a tour of the house and then gathered everyone into the screening room to watch the film.
Nyong’o was attempting to watch the film, but 15 minutes into it, she said, Weinstein pulled her away and led her to a bedroom, telling her that he wanted to give her a massage.
Nyong’o said that moment was the first in which she felt unsafe. She offered to give him one instead as she tried to figure out a way to get out of the situation she was in. During the massage, Weinstein told her that he wanted to take his pants off, and when she told him that his doing that would make her uncomfortable, he got up to remove them anyway.
Nyong’o told him that if they weren’t going to watch the film he’d invited her for, she was going to return to the Yale campus.
Months later, after a screening of the movie W.E. in New York City, Nyong’o was at a restaurant when Harvey tried yet again, and this time he made it clear that he was after sex:
Before the starters arrived, he announced: “Let’s cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal.” 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.
When she rebuffed his advances, he told her, “You have no idea what you are passing up.”
She told him, “With all due respect, I would not be able to sleep at night if I did what you are asking, so I must pass.”
“His whole demeanor changed at that point. “Then I guess we are two ships passing in the night.” I had never heard that saying before, so I remember asking him what it meant. “It means just that,” he said. “We are two ships going in two different directions.”
“Yes, I guess we are.”
“So we are done here,” he said. “You can leave.”
Nyong’o said that Weinstein made a veiled threat about her career, but as we’ve all witnessed, she’s doing just fine.
It takes immense bravery to come forward and recount your experience with a sexual predator, whether you are the first or the 100th woman to do so.
Nyong’o deserves praise for her bravery. All the women coming forward do.
As she concluded in her op-ed, “Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing. I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence.”