It seems like the stories keep coming and at the same time, it is only the top of the iceberg.
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 .I had what I thought were boundaries - I said no to him professionally many times over the years-some of which ended up with him screaming at me calling me a **** and making threats, some of which made him laughingly tell people oh "Kate lives to say no to me ." It speaks to the status quo in this business that I was aware that standing up for myself and saying no to things,while it did allow me to feel uncompromised in myself,undoubtedly harmed my career and was never something I felt supported by anyone other than my family.I would like to applaud the women who have come forward , and to pledge that we can from this create a new paradigm where producers,managers,executives and assistants and everyone who has in the past shrugged and said " well, that's just Harvey /Mr X/insert name here " will realize that we in numbers can affect real change.For every moment like this there have been thousands where a vulnerable person has confided outrageous unprofessional behavior and found they have no recourse, due to an atmosphere of fear that it seems almost everyone has been living in .I had a male friend who, based on my experience,warned a young actress who said she was going to dinner with Harvey to be careful. He received a phone call the next day saying he would never work in another Miramax film ;the girl was already sleeping with Harvey and had told him that my friend had warned her off.Let'sp allowing our young women to be sexual cannon fodder,and let's remember that Harvey is an emblem of a system that is sick,and that we have work to do.
I meet men like Harvey Weinstein all the time. I have starred in many films over the last 10 years and have been lucky enough to win awards at festivals like Cannes. Cinema is my life. And I know all of the ways in which the film industry treats women with contempt.
When I first met Harvey Weinstein, it didn’t take me long to figure him out. We were at a fashion show. He was charming, funny, smart – but very domineering. He wanted to meet me for drinks and insisted we had to make an appointment that very night. This was never going to be about work. He had other intentions – I could see that very clearly.
We met in the lobby of his hotel. His assistant, a young woman, was there. All throughout the evening, he flirted and stared at me as if I was a piece of meat. He acted as if he were considering me for a role. But I knew that was bullshit. I knew it, because I could see it in his eyes. He had a lecherous look. He was using his power to get sex.
He invited me to come to his hotel room for a drink. We went up together. It was hard to say no because he’s so powerful. All the girls are scared of him. Soon, his assistant left and it was just the two of us. That’s the moment where he started losing control.
We were talking on the sofa when he suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me. I had to defend myself. He’s big and fat, so I had to be forceful to resist him. I left his room, thoroughly disgusted. I wasn’t afraid of him, though. Because I knew what kind of man he was all along.
Since that night in his hotel room, I’ve seen him on many other occasions. We are in the same industry, so it’s impossible to avoid him. I’ve seen how he operates: the way he looks for an opening. The way he tests women to see what he can get away with.
He also doesn’t take no for an answer. I once went with him to a restaurant and when he couldn’t get a table he got angry and said: “Do you know who I am? I am Harvey Weinstein.” That’s the kind of man he is.
I’ve been at dinners with him where he’s bragged openly about Hollywood actresses he has had sex with. He’s also said misogynistic things to me over the years. “You’d be better if you lost weight,” he said. That comment shocked me.
One night, I saw him in London for the Baftas. He was hitting on a young woman. Another time, at the Met Life ball, I saw him trying to convince a young woman to sleep with him. Everyone could see what he was doing.
That’s the most disgusting thing. Everyone knew what Harvey was up to and no one did anything. It’s unbelievable that he’s been able to act like this for decades and still keep his career. That’s only possible because he has a huge amount of power.
In this industry, there are directors who abuse their position. They are very influential, that’s how they can do that. With Harvey, it was physical. With others, it’s just words. Sometimes, it feels like you have to be very strong to be a woman in the film industry. It’s very common to encounter these kinds of men.
The first time a director made an inappropriate comment to me, I was in my mid-20s. He was a director I really liked and respected. We were alone and he said to me: “I wish I could have sex with you, I wish I could **** you.”
He said it in a way that was half joking and half serious. I was very angry. I was trying to do my job and he made me very uncomfortable. He has slept with all of the actresses he filmed.
Another director I worked with would film very long sex scenes that lasted days. He kept watching us, replaying the scenes over and over again in a kind of stupor. It was very gross.
Yet another director tried to kiss me. Like Weinstein, I had to physically push him away, too. He acted like a crazy man, deranged by the fact that I didn’t want to have sex with him.
If you’re a woman working in the film industry, you have to fight because it is a very misogynistic world. Why else are salaries so unequal? Why do men earn more than women? There is no reason for it to be that way.
Hollywood is incredibly demanding on women. Think about the beauty diktats. All of the actresses have botox at 30. They have to be perfect. This is an image of women that is bizarre – and one that ends up controlling women.
This industry is based on desirable actresses. You have to be desirable and loved. But not all desires have to be fulfilled, even though men in the industry have an expectation that theirs should be. I think – and hope – that we might finally see a change. Only truth and justice can bring us forward.