Harvey Weinstein accuser reveals video of apparent harassment

Harvey Weinstein accuser reveals video of apparent harassment
PHOTO: AFP

Video footage emerged Wednesday showing disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein apparently sexually harassing a woman who subsequently accused him of rape.

Melissa Thompson, who has previously publicly complained of abusive behaviour by Weinstein during a 2011 business meeting in New York, gave a tape of the encounter to Sky News.

Thompson told the station she had been offering her tech company's video platform to the 66-year-old, and recorded the meeting as part of the pitch.

Just hours later, Weinstein allegedly raped her in his hotel room, the woman told Sky News.

AFP reached out to Weinstein's lawyer Benjamin Brafman for comment but there was no immediate response.

He was quoted by US-based entertainment magazine People however as denying sexual misconduct by his client.

"Several respected journalists and trustworthy individuals have seen the entire video, as Ms. Thompson has been trying to promote it to for several months," Brafman's statement read, according to People.

"What they shared with us is that the video, when viewed in its entirety, in context and not in select excerpts, demonstrates that there is nothing forceful, but casual -- if not awkward -- flirting from both parties."

The former Hollywood titan is seen in the video waving staff away with the words "don't interrupt, don't interrupt' as he enters the meeting.

Thompson offers her hand but Weinstein goes in for a hug instead.

"That's nice. Let's keep it up. It's not bad," he says as he rubs her back.

"Am I allowed to flirt with you?" he is heard asking, and Thompson replies: "Um, we'll see, a little bit."

Naivety

At one point on the recording, Weinstein reaches under a table and appears to move his arm up her leg.

"Let me have a little part of you. Give it to me. It's okay, would you like to do it some more?" he can be heard saying.

"A little high, a little high, that's a little high, that's a little high," Thompson replies.

Here are the actresses who've accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, abuse

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    In part two of the New York Times' explosive expose chronicling decades of sexual harassment allegations waged against studio mogul Harvey Weinstein- several actresses went public with their stories for the first time.

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    Gwyneth Paltrow: "I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified," Paltrow said about her experience as a then 22-year-old on the set of 1996's Emma.

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    Anjelina Jolie recalled a similar incident. "I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did," Jolie said in an e-mail to the Times.

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    Italian film star Asia Argento, the 42-year-old daughter of iconic horror director Dario Argento, said Weinstein forced oral sex on her 20 years ago. She told the publication she had maintained her silence until now for fear that Weinstein would "crush" her.

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    Model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a former Miss Italy finalist, told the New Yorker she met Weinstein March 2015 at a reception for a show he was producing in New York. She said Weinstein "lunged at her, groping her breasts and attempting to put a hand up her skirt" at a meeting in his offices in Tribeca.

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    French actress Judith Godreche met Weinstein for breakfast at a hotel in 1996. He later invited her up to his suite to see the "view". But he later asked for a massage and pressed himself against Godreche, even pulling off her sweater.

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    Rosanna Arquette: In the early 1990s, Weinstein asked the young actress to stop by a hotel in Beverly Hills to pick up a script. She remembers telling him "I'm not that girl," after he asked her for a massage.

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    Rose McGowan: The actress reportedly reached a US$100,000 settlement with Weinstein in 1997, after an "episode in a hotel room at the Sundance Film Festival".

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    Ashley Judd: The accused Weinstein of inviting her to his hotel room, appearing in a bathrobe, offering her a massage, and asking her if she wanted to watch him take a shower.

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    Former actress and screenwriter Louisette Geiss held a news conference where she alleged that her encounter with Weinstein took place at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. He invited her to his office for a meeting, and soon excused himself and returned naked, wearing only a bathrobe. He later asked that she watch him masturbate.

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    Mira Sorvino: The actress starred in several of Weinstein's films, told The New Yorker that he sexually harassed her and tried to pressure her into a physical relationship while they worked together.

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    British actress Romola Garai told The Guardian she felt "violated" following a meeting with Harvey Weinstein in his London hotel room when she was 18 in which he was in a bathrobe. Garai said that once she was in the room the two had a brief discussion about film but she felt "belittled" by his "abuse of power."

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    Model and actress Cara Delevingne accused Weinstein of propositioning her and attempting to kiss her after a meeting about an upcoming film. "He said to me that if I was gay or decided to be with a woman especially in public, that I'd never get the role of a straight woman or make it as an actress in Hollywood," Delevingne said in a statement.

  • Open gallery

    French actress Lea Seydoux became the latest in a string of female Hollywood stars speaking out against Weinstein. Also subjected to his advances, she alleged "everyone" in Hollywood "knew what Harvey was up to".

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    In a revealing piece written for Variety, Heather Graham revealed that Weinstein asked her to have sex with him in exchange for being included in his movie in the early 2000s. He told Graham that he had an agreement with his wife in which he could sleep with whomever he wanted whenever he was out of town. "I walked out of the meeting feeling uneasy," Graham wrote.

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    Kate Winslet has revealed in an interview with Los Angeles times why she didn't thank the disgraced film producer in her 2009 Oscars speech. "That was deliberate. That was absolutely deliberate," Winslet said. "I remember being told. 'Make sure you thank Harvey if you win'. And I remember turning around and saying, 'No I won't. No I won't.' ... If people aren't well-behaved, why would I thank him?""

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    British actress Lysette Anthony said he had attacked her in her London home in the late '80s. Anthony said It happened after she had got to know the producer when she starred in the 1982 film Krull, according to The Telegraph.

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    Kate Beckinsale also came forward about Weinstein sexually harassing her when she was just 17 and hampering her career. She posted her statement to Instagram with a picture of her as a teenager and wrote that when she was called to meet him at the Savoy Hotel in London, Weinstein opened the door in a bathrobe. She left the room "uneasy but unscathed".

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    Actress Eva Green has said she felt "shocked and disgusted" after an encounter with Weinstein in which she allegedly had to "push him off" during a business meeting. The Bond girl gave her statement after her mother told a French radio that her daughter "was a victim of this horrible man".

Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of a litany of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to rape.

He is out on bail and has pleaded not guilty in New York to six counts allegedly committed against three women in 2004, 2006 and 2013. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for September 20.

The allegations against the once-powerful movie mogul spurred the #MeToo movement that saw women worldwide speak up against sexual harassment and assault by men in powerful positions.

Thompson told Sky News Weinstein was "playing a cat-and-mouse game from the very beginning to see how far he could push me, and what my reactions might be so that he could gauge how he would play with (me), where my levers were, what were my vulnerabilities."

She is seen watching the footage along with a Sky News reporter, and denies encouraging him, telling the channel: "I think there was a combination of confidence and naivety that led me to this dynamic that we see now, watching back."

'Trapped'

In the footage, Weinstein invites Thompson to join him at the Tribeca Grand Hotel lobby restaurant. She told Sky News she was expecting that this would be a follow-up meeting to close the deal.

"It wasn't an invitation to go to his hotel room. It was an invitation to come to a hotel lobby that was within blocks of the office and so that to me felt much safer than being alone with him in his office," she said.

When she arrived, Weinstein allegedly led her to his hotel room where she says he raped her.

"If I would try to fight myself away from him, he would then move around to a place where he could block me in," Thompson said.

"I constantly felt trapped, no matter where I turned. He cornered me, over and over again."

Thompson was part of a class action lawsuit against Weinstein filed in June in which she claimed the producer began to harass and fondle her, several US media outlets reported.

She reportedly claimed in court documents that Weinstein tried unsuccessfully to force her to perform oral sex on him before he pushed her on the bed and raped her.

But Brafman accused Thompson to trying to bolster her position in the lawsuit.

"Any suggestion of sexual misconduct is false. This is a further attempt to publicly disgrace Mr. Weinstein for financial gain, and we will not stand for it. Facts do matter," the lawyer told People magazine.

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