Harvey Weinstein: Lupita Nyong'o says film mogul offered to help her career for sex

Harvey Weinstein: Lupita Nyong'o says film mogul offered to help her career for sex

Harvey Weinstein: Lupita Nyong'o says film mogul offered to help her career for sex

Updated 21 October 2017, 12:20 AEDT

Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o is the latest star to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.

Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o has become the latest star to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.

Key points:

  • Lupita Nyong'o wrote of her encounters with Weinstein in the New York Times
  • Nyong'o claims that in a meeting Weinstein asked to give her a massage and if he could take off his pants
  • Weinstein is facing criminal inquiries in three cities after numerous allegations have emerged

The 12 Years a Slave star has joined the growing list of high-profile stars accusing Weinstein, 65, of rape, sexual abuse and harassment.

Writing in The New York Times, Nyong'o detailed several encounters with the producer, who she met while still a drama student at Yale University.

"I had shelved my experience with Harvey far in the recesses of my mind, joining in the conspiracy of silence that has allowed this predator to prowl for so many years," she wrote.

"I had felt very much alone when these things happened, and I had blamed myself for a lot of it, quite like many of the other women who have shared their stories."

She said she first met Weinstein in 2011 at an awards ceremony in Berlin when an intermediary introduced him as "the most powerful producer in Hollywood".

Nyong'o was advised to keep Weinstein in her corner, but was warned he could be a bully.

Not long ago after their first meeting, Weinstein reportedly invited Nyong'o to his place to watch a competitor's film similar to one he had produced.

"In this second encounter with Harvey, I found him to be pushy and idiosyncratic more than anything," she wrote.

Nyong'o said while watching the film Weinstein invited her to his bedroom.

"Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage," she wrote.

"I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe.

"I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: it would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times."

She said she left when he said he wanted to take off his pants.

Nyong'o wrote that she was not sure what to make of the massage incident and reasoned that while it had been "inappropriate and uncalled for", it was "not overtly sexual".

"I was entering into a business where the intimate is often professional and so the lines are blurred," she wrote.

'Let's cut to the chase': Weinstein

In another meeting, Nyong'o said Weinstein offered to help her career in exchange for sex.

"Before the starters arrived, he announced, 'Let's cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal'," she wrote.

"I was stunned. I told him I preferred to eat in the restaurant.

"He told me not to be so naive. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing."

After declining his proposition, Nyong'o said she wanted to know if they "were good", to which Weinstein reportedly replied, "I don't know about your career, but you'll be fine".

Nyong'o said it felt like both a threat and a reassurance at the same time.

The actress said for years she joined what she called the conspiracy of silence and allegations by more than 40 women and it had made her "sick in the pit of my stomach".

Actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have accused Weinstein of harassment, while Asia Argento and Rose McGowan have accused the film mogul of raping them.

On Thursday, Los Angeles police confirmed they were looking into an Italian actress' claims the disgraced film mogul raped her in a hotel room in 2013.

Weinstein is now facing criminal inquiries in Los Angeles, New York and London.


ABC/BBC/Reuters