Actress Lupita Nyong’o wrote an op-ed published at The New York Times, revealing that she was sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein.
She details two encounters she had with Weinstein. In the first, he asked her to give him a massage. After leaving that situation, in another incident, they were at dinner and he suggested they go upstairs to a private room. She writes that he said, “If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing.” When she declined, he said, “So we are done here. You can leave.”
In 2014, she notes that she was offered a role in a Weinstein Co. film and declined. “I knew I would not do it simply because it was the Weinstein Company, but I did not feel comfortable telling this to anybody. I turned down the role, but Harvey would not take no for an answer. While at Cannes, he insisted on meeting with me in person. I agreed to do it only because my agent would be present. In the meeting, he was honest about intending to persuade me to do his movie. I told him I simply did not feel it was a role I needed to play. He said he was open to making it bigger, more significant, maybe they could add a love scene. He said if I did this one for him, he would do another one for me — basically guaranteeing backing a star-vehicle film for me. I ran out of ways of politely saying no and so did my agent. I was so exasperated by the end that I just kept quiet. Harvey finally accepted my position and expressed that he still wanted to work with me at some point. “Thank you, I hope so,” I lied.
This was her last personal encounter with Weinstein.
She ends the op-ed powerfully: Our business is complicated because intimacy is part and parcel of our profession; as actors we are paid to do very intimate things in public. That’s why someone can have the audacity to invite you to their home or hotel and you show up. Precisely because of this we must stay vigilant and ensure that the professional intimacy is not abused. I hope we are in a pivotal moment where a sisterhood — and brotherhood of allies — is being formed in our industry. I hope we can form a community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed. That’s why we don’t speak up — for fear of suffering twice, and for fear of being labeled and characterized by our moment of powerlessness. Though we may have endured powerlessness at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power. And we hopefully ensure that this kind of rampant predatory behavior as an accepted feature of our industry dies here and now.
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.
Read it in full at The New York Times.