Lupita Nyong'o reveals how Harvey Weinstein made her feel 'unsafe'


In her Op-Ed for the New York Times, she shared this frightful point in her life and how she felt uncomfortable and unsafe with the presence of the known film producer. Nyong'o writes she first met Weinstein in 2011, when she was a student at the Yale School of Drama.

They had had lunch at a restaurant first, and although she ordered juice, Weinstein insisted she had vodka and diet soda, telling the waiter, "Get her what I tell you to get her".

Academy Award victor Lupita Nyong'o shared a harrowing series of encounters with Harvey Weinstein before she was famous, where she says the mogul told her she'd be successful in Hollywood if she slept with him.

Nyong'o also recounted an incident where Weinstein invited her to a so-called professional dinner, then propositioned her with a slimy, "Let's cut to the chase".

He led her into a bedroom, his bedroom, and said he wanted to massage her.

"For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe", Nyong'o wrote.

"Part of our drama school curriculum at Yale included body work, using massage techniques on one another to understand the connection between body, mind and emotion, and so I felt I could rationalize giving him one and keep a semblance of professionalism in spite of the freakish circumstance", she recalled.

She said she thought it would buy her time to get out of the situation, but then she said the producer said he wanted to take off his trousers.

Her next encounter with Weinstein was in a group setting, free of the awkwardness she had experienced prior and it put her at ease enough to accept another invitation from Weinstein, Nyong'o writes. "You have no idea what you are passing up", he said.

The Oscar-winning Witherspoon said she had wrestled with guilt about not speaking out earlier about her own experiences in Hollywood. "I had felt very much alone when these things happened, and I had blamed myself for a lot of it". "I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal", he told her, admitting that actresses had to "be willing to do this sort of thing" to be famous.

It's an insightful piece for more reasons than just Nyong'o's allegations, and a few of her observations stood out to me in particular.

She added: "Though we may have endured powerlessness at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power".

"And I wish that I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn't".

The 12 Years A Slave star says the disgraced movie mogul lured her to his bedroom under false pretences and "pressured" her into massaging him. She thought they would be watching as a group, but it turned out that she would just be escorted by his assistant and would leave her once he arrived. "He was ashamed of his actions, and he promised to respect me moving forward", Nyong'o said.

Nyong'o talks about later turning down a role by Weinstein, and the complexity of the Hollywood when it comes to abuse in the industry.

She says that she managed to turn him down, and left without eating.

She said she is now speaking out to end the "conspiracy of silence".

"Before I got in [a taxi], I needed to make sure that I had not awakened a beast that would go on to ruin my name and destroy my chances in the business even before I got there", she wrote.