It’s become painfully clear over the last two weeks that Harvey Weinstein’s degenerate behavior was so widespread that it’s clear he is a serial sexual assaulter, and seemingly any young actress who crossed his path became a victim of his abuse. Now, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o has penned an op-ed for the New York Times detailing her own disgusting encounters with the disgraced producer, and it’s a typically harrowing story.
When she was still a drama student at Yale, Nyong’o alleges that Weinstein invited her to his house under the guise of a film screening, only to take her into a bedroom a mere 15 minutes into the film — which his children were watching as well — and ask for a massage. From there an unfortunately familiar story of Weinstein trying to use both his metaphorical heft in the film industry and literal physical heft to force Nyong’o into touching him against her will begins to play out. Again, this is with his children in a nearby room, one which was soundproofed for film screenings — something Nyong’o says in hindsight she believes was a purposeful choice.
Severely creeped out by the encounter, but not wanting to alienate herself from a man she’d been introduced to as “the most powerful producer in Hollywood,” Nyong’o met with Weinstein again in public, work-related settings that went fine. Reassured by these meetings, Nyong’o took another one, only to find work was the last thing on Weinstein’s mind. Again, a familiar pattern of abuse emerges as Nyong’o writes, “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. He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them.”
After the actress denied Weinstein, he immediately ended their dinner, but not before another chilling interaction. Nyong’o again writes, “‘I just want to know that we are good,’ I said. ‘I don’t know about your career, but you’ll be fine,’ he said. It felt like both a threat and a reassurance at the same time; of what, I couldn’t be sure.”
The entire piece is well written and worth reading despite its reprehensible subject matter, and Nyong’o and every other woman coming forward deserve huge amounts of praise for their courage. As Nyong’o writes, “Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing.” You can read the entire article here.