Lupita Nyong’o is the latest in a long list of women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment – claiming he tried to undress in front of her, and once told her that to be in the business she had to be ‘willing to do this kind of thing.’
The 34-year-old said she met the disgraced Hollywood mogul in 2011 at an awards ceremony in Berlin while she was in her final year at the Yale School of Drama.
Nyong’o wrote about her experiences with Weinstein in The New York Times, saying that after six years of shelving the encounter she decided to come out with her story.
She said she was still trying to break into the industry when she met Weinstein at the awards ceremony, and so she asked a female producer about him.
The woman, who wasn’t named, allegedly told her that the producer was someone she would want to keep in her corner.
‘He is a good man to know in the business,’ Nyong’o said the woman told her.
‘But just be careful around him. He can be a bully.’
So she introduced herself. And a few months later, she received a note from Weinstein inviting her to his home in Westport, Connecticut for a screening of a movie which was similar to something he had produced – but receiving a lot of praise.
When she arrived into town he first took her to lunch, where he immediately ordered a vodka and diet soda, which she said she found strange. Nyong’o said she ordered herself a juice – which lead to an uncomfortable back and forth that ended when Weinstein turned to the waiter and told him: ‘Get her what I tell you to get her. I’m the one paying the bill.’
She didn’t drink the drink though, she said, and the lunch ended uncomfortable when he called her stubborn.
Nyong’o said that they next went back to his home, where she met his family and Weinstein set her up to watch the film with them in his private screening room.
According to Nyong’o, Weinstein interrupted the film after just 15 minutes and lead her to his private bedroom, announcing that he wanted to give her a massage.
‘I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe,’ she wrote.
The actress says she panicked and offered him one instead – writing that this would allow her to be physically in control of the situation and where he placed his hands.
But when the producer announced that he was going to remove his pants she decided she had to leave.
When she opened the door, she says he once again commented on her ‘stubbornness,’ but allowed her to leave for New Haven with his driver.
Nyong’o wrote that she was able to reason with herself that this had been inappropriate but not outright sexual, and so after another more public interaction, she agreed to go to a screening of Finding Neverland with him.
Before the play, Nyong’o says the two were at a restaurant together when, after ordering starters, he told her he had a private room upstairs where they could finish their meal.
She said she preferred to eat in the restaurant, and he allegedly told her not to be so naive.
‘If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing,’ she claims he told her.
‘He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them.’
She declined and said she wouldn’t be able to sleep at night – which she said caused the producer to change his demeanor. At that instance she claims he didn’t’ threaten her career, but she did worry that he might say something to someone that would put it in jeopardy.
In 2014 after she won her Academy Award for 12 Years A Slave she wrote that Weinstein again approached her and apologized for being rude in the past. He also tried to pressure her into starring in one of his films, she claims.
She declined and has never worked with the producer.