Lupita Nyong’o says Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her, told her that is how Hollywood works

Actress Lupita Nyong'o (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Actress Lupita Nyong’o has revealed that she, too, was harassed by Harvey Weinstein, but that at the time she “did not know there was a world in which anybody would care about my experience with him.”

In a riveting essay she wrote for The New York Times, Nyong’o recalled how she first met Weinstein at an awards ceremony in Berlin. At the time, Nyong’o was still a student, and aspiring actress, at the Yale School of Drama. Nyong’o exchanged contacts with Weinstein, and a short time later he invited her to attend the screening of a film with his family in Westport, Connecticut — adding that he thought she might be perfect for a role in a HBO series he had a hand in producing. At his home, he introduced her to his young children and together they began to watch the film. But 15 minutes into the screening, Nyong’o wrote, Weinstein insisted that he had to show her something.

“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.”

Nyong’o said she offered to massage his back instead, so that she could “know exactly where his hands were at all times.” But when he tried to take off his pants, she wrote, she went to the door, opened it, and said that she needed to go back to school. Nyong’o escaped the encounter unscathed, but found that she “didn’t know how to proceed without jeopardizing my future.”

A few months later, Weinstein invited her to a screening in New York, followed by drinks in TriBeCa. After the screening, she was greeted by a female assistant who told her that only Weinstein would be attending — instead of a group, as she had expected. After Weinstein arrived, the assistant disappeared and Weinstein wasted little time before telling her they would be having the meal in his “private room upstairs.” When Nyong’o protested, he told her that “if I wanted to be an actress, I had to be willing to do this sort of thing.”

After Nyong’o refused once more, Weinstein told her to leave, and she was left wondering if she had “[destroyed] my chances in the business even before I got there.”

Years later, she encountered Weinstein once more — this time after her breakout performance in 12 Years a Slave. That encounter, she wrote, went far differently than those that came before.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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