Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o has become the latest woman to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, giving an account of how the film mogul offered to exchange sex for help with her career.
In an op-ed in the New York Times, the 34-year-old, who won an Oscar for her performance in ’12 Years a Slave’, detailed several explicit passes Mr Weinstein tried to foist on her when she was a student actor at Yale School of Drama.
Lupita said she met the powerful movie producer in 2011 at a movie festival and he invited her back to his home to allegedly watch a film he had just produced.
Fifteen minutes into the film, Mr Weinstein, with his young children at home at the time, allegedly lured her to another part of the house.
“Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage,” Lupita wrote.
‘I FELT UNSAFE’
“I thought he was joking at first,” Lupita went on. “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: I would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.”
She added: “I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation.”
Before long, she wrote, he said he wanted to take off his trouser. “I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable.”
The incident then ended and she left the home.
Lupita admits, “I didn’t quite know how to process the massage incident. I reasoned that it had been inappropriate and uncalled-for, but not overtly sexual.” She added: “But I knew I would not be accepting any more visits to private spaces with Harvey Weinstein.”
Still, he persisted. Mr Weinstein invited her to his screening in New York. She joined him at a restaurant, expecting others to be there. Instead, he was alone.
He quickly got to the point: “Let’s cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal.” I was stunned. I told him I preferred to eat in the restaurant. He told me not to be so naïve. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing. He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them,” Lupita wrote.
By Beatrice Kangai