Lupita Nyong’o is the latest actress to come forth with allegations that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein made inappropriate sexual advances towards her. In an editorial piece penned for the New York Times, the Oscar-winning actress hopes to end a “conspiracy of silence” regarding those who protected Weinstein from exposure.
Nyong’o opened up her Times op-ed stating that she’s observed the flurry of actresses coming forward stating they’ve encountered Weinstein and his unwanted advances. She says in the opening paragraph that she pushed the incident far out of her mind, even blaming herself for allowing the moment to happen. Nyong’o said the news triggered memories of her harrowing experience, and she shared details of when she was still a student at the Yale School of Drama.
Nyongo’o met with Weinstein in Berlin in 2011, and she wanted to connect him as a young acting hopeful looking to align herself with someone that could potentially aid her career. The pair agreed to meet at his home in Westport, Conn. at a later date to watch film together and nothing more. But this was apparently a tactic to invite Nyong’o to his bedroom.
From the Times:
Harvey led me into a bedroom — 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.
Part of our drama school curriculum at Yale included body work, using massage techniques on one another to understand the connection between body, mind and emotion, and so I felt I could rationalize giving him one and keep a semblance of professionalism in spite of the bizarre circumstance. He agreed to this and lay on the bed. I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation. Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that. “If we’re not going to watch the film, I really should head back to school,” I said.
I opened the door and stood by the frame. He put his shirt on and again mentioned how stubborn I was. I agreed with an easy laugh, trying to get myself out of the situation safely. I was after all on his premises, and the members of his household, the potential witnesses, were all (strategically, it seems to me now) in a soundproof room.
Earlier Harvey had sent the driver to the store to buy a boxed collection of “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” an HBO show that he had produced. This was the project he thought I would be right for, he said. (I later found out that the show had not been on the air for some time.) As I prepared to leave his home, he presented it to me. He wanted me to check it out and let him know what I thought. He would be in touch about it. I left for New Haven with his driver.
Weinstein continued his pursuit of Nyong’o, and even offered her a pair of large roles in one of his films that she declined shortly after her Academy Award win for 12 Years A Slave. She added that she didn’t know other women have been faced with Weinstein’s aggressive attempts to bed them.
Read the rest of Nyongo’s harrowing ordeal by following this link.