Oscar-award winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has revealed how she was sexually harassed by disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
In an opinion piece in the New York Times she says the revelations about Mr Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults on other women have made it impossible “to avoid the memories resurfacing”:
I have felt sick in the pit of my stomach. I have felt such a flare of rage that the experience I recount below was not a unique incident with me.”
After meeting him at the Berlin film festival when she was a student, he invited her to his family home in Connecticut to watch a film with his children. Before the film started he had tried to get her to drink vodka, but she refused.
Shortly after the film had started, he said he needed to show her something and led her into his bedroom “and announced that he wanted to give me a massage”.
I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe. I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.”
He then wanted to take off his pants, but she said this would make her uncomfortable and she headed for the door and left.
A few months later, he invited her to a screen in New York, organising to meet at a restaurant.
Harvey arrived and the assistant immediately disappeared… 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 naive. 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.”
When she refused him, his whole demeanor changed, she said.
They got up to leave without eating.
So we are done here,’ he said. ‘You can leave.’
Ms Nyong’o ends her piece saying: “I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence.