by Olivia Kingree
Producer Harvey Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company and removed from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences after dozens of allegations of sexual harassment, rape and assault were brought to light. The alleged victims include high-profile actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rose McGowan, among others.
“Scream” actress Rose McGowan publicly accused Weinstein of rape on Twitter last week. According to the Guardian, in 1997, Weinstein paid then 23 year-old McGowan a $100,000 settlement after an “unnamed incident in a hotel room.” According to the legal document, the settlement was not meant to act as an admission of guilt.
Gwyneth Paltrow also publically spoke about her experiences with the producer. According to the Washington Post, soon before the then 22 year-old Paltrow began filming “Emma,” Weinstein “had her come to his Peninsula hotel room for a work meeting that ended with him putting his hands on her and suggesting massages in the bedroom.”
According to The New York Times, actress Ashley Judd refused “invitation after invitation” from Weinstein at his private hotel room. Judd said that he asked to give her a massage and wanted her to watch him take a shower.
French actress Lea Seydoux described Weinstein as “very domineering” when talking to the Guardian about her own experiences with the producer. She recalled an instance in which she physically resisted him, saying that “We were talking on the sofa when he suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me.”
At age 17, British actress Kate Beckinsale met Weinstein in a private hotel room where he welcomed her wearing a bathrobe. According to Time Magazine, Beckinsale then refused Weinstein’s offers of alcohol and left the room “uneasy but unscathed.” In a post on her Instagram account, Beckinsale wrote that she “said no to him professionally many times over the years – some of which ended up with him screaming at me, calling me a c*** and making threats.”
These are merely a handful of allegations of systematic abuse that have pushed women in the industry and across the world to share their own experiences of sexual harassment online using the hashtag #metoo. Alyssa Milano posted the hashtag on Sunday and sparked a worldwide response. According to CBS News, she later gave credit to Tarana Burke, the original leader of the Me Too movement, which was created in 2007 to let survivors of sexual assault “know that they were not alone.”
Genevieve Windbiel (‘20) said that the accusations were indicative of an atmosphere of harassment in Hollywood. “Film producers always take advantage of women who want roles,” said Windbiel. “They’re rich and powerful enough to get away with anything.”
In a recent New York Times article, filmmaker Sarah Polley wrote about her experience both acting and directing as a woman in Hollywood. She spoke about past plans to direct a short film about the “craziest, worst experience(s)” that she and a group of other actresses could recall from their time on film sets. They expected to laugh at the stories, but Polley said that they instead “left us in tears and bewildered at how casually we had taken these horror stories and tried to make them into comedy. They were stories of assault…This is how we’d normalized the trauma.”
On Thursday night, actress Lupita Nyong’o wrote about her own uncomfortable experiences with Weinstein. She said that victims, including herself, felt powerless and afraid to speak up. “Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up,” wrote Nyong’o.