A woman who had a business meeting with Harvey Weinstein seven years ago recorded the entire encounter with a hidden camera and has just released the footage, which shows the movie mogul acting inappropriately, using sexually-suggestive language and groping her. Hours after the meeting took place, the woman alleges, Weinstein raped her inside his hotel room.
In 2011, Melissa Thompson visited the Weinstein Company offices in New York City to meet with what she expected to be Weinstein’s marketing team. She was there to pitch the company on her tech startup’s video and analytics service. Instead of meeting with the marketing department, however, she got Weinstein — and only Weinstein. But unbeknownst to Weinstein, she was recording the entire meeting on video and has now provided that video to Sky News, which broke the story and interviewed Thompson about the experience.
The video shows Weinstein, looking disheveled in an untucked white T-shirt, entering the meeting in his office and telling colleagues, “Don’t interrupt,” before he closes and locks the office door. When Thompson offers a handshake, Weinstein is seen swatting her hand away and hugging her instead, and then rubbing his hands up and down her back. He wastes no time in setting his own agenda, the video shows.
“So am I allowed to flirt with you?” Weinstein asks.
“Ummm we’ll see, a little bit,” Thompson replies.
As the meeting unfolds and Thompson begins explaining her product, Weinstein intermittently makes verbal and physical advances. At points, he seems genuinely interested in Thompson’s pitch. At times, Thompson humors Weinstein in response to his advances. “Data’s so hot, right?” she says, touching his shoulder. “It is hot,” Weinstein replies, adding, “You’re hot. Let me have a little bit of you. Give it to me.”
But she continues plodding through her pitch. Then, at one point, Weinstein apparently reaches under the table and, out of the frame of the camera, runs his hand up Thompson’s leg and under her dress. “Uh-uh, that’s a little high, that’s a little high,” Thompson says nervously before pivoting back into her pitch.
When Sky News correspondent Hannah Thomas-Peter presses Thompson on whether or not she was flirting with Weinstein, Thompson replied, “It was more tricky than I think it’s possible to judge from looking at it. I worked on Wall Street before I went to business school and I worked in an environment that was heavily male-dominated … I thought I could handle it. I had never met anyone that I couldn’t handle — until Harvey Weinstein.”
Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman issued a statement on the disgraced mogul’s behalf denying the video shows any wrongdoing. “Several respected journalists and trustworthy individuals have seen the entire video,” he said in the statement. “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. Anything short of that is intended to make Mr Weinstein appear inappropriate, and even exploitative.
He added that the video was selectively edited by “Thompson to bolster her position in a civil lawsuit seeking money,” and declared that “facts do matter.”
But Thompson has said that while the video ends where it does, with the two making plans to meet for a drink at a hotel bar later that day, Weinstein eventually raped her. She believed she was meeting Weinstein to finish up a deal on the technology she had been pitching him, but when she met him at the hotel bar later, he lured her to his hotel room where she alleges that he raped her.
In retrospect, what she said can be seen in the video is a predator’s M.O. “I think [he] 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 me; where my levers where, what were my vulnerabilities,” Thompson said.
The tape adds to the portrait of Weinstein as a sexual aggressor, which the public got a small glimpse of last year when The New Yorker released audio obtained by the NYPD during a sting operation in which the producer can be heard relentlessly harassing model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to come into his hotel room while he takes a shower, while she repeatedly tells him he’s making her feel uncomfortable. Weinstein is facing sex crime charges in New York and investigations in Los Angeles and London. Watch the video of the meeting and the interview with Thompson above.
Read the full story at Sky News.