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Lupita Nyong'o accuses Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment

Press Trust of India  |  New York 

Actor Lupita Nyong'o is the latest actor to speak against for his alleged harassment of women spanning over three decades.

In an op-ed for The Times, the 34-year-old actor penned her harrowing experience of meeting the media mogul many a times and how he threatened to ruin her Hollywood career before she even began.

Nyong'o writes she first Weinstein in 2011, when she was a student at the Yale School of Drama. She said she was forced to enter his bedroom after a lunch meeting at a hotel, where he insisted on giving her a massage.

"I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I 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.

"I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation. Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that," she said.

Weinstein called Nyong'o "stubborn" and the actor was unsure about how to process the incident.

"I reasoned that it had been inappropriate and uncalled- for, but not overtly sexual. I was entering into a business where the intimate is often professional and so the lines are blurred."

Months later, Nyong'o again had another encounter with the producer. During a dinner meeting, she recalled Weinstein telling her, "Let's cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal."

The actor was stunned and told him off, saying, "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."

When Nyong'o politely declined his offer, she said, his demeanour changed and their meeting was cut short abruptly.

The actor said she did not meet Weinstein until September 2013 for the Toronto premiere of "12 Years a Slave", her first feature film.

"At an after-party, he found me and evicted whoever was sitting next to me to sit beside me. He said he couldn't believe how fast I had gotten to where I was, and that he had treated me so badly in the past. He was ashamed of his actions and he promised to respect me moving forward. I said thank you and left it at that. But I made a quiet promise to myself to never ever work with Harvey Weinstein," she said.

Towards the end, Nyong'o said Hollywood needed to become a community where a woman can speak up about abuse, not suffer another abuse by not being believed.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, October 20 2017. 11:42 IST