Harvey Weinstein reportedly found Sophie Okonedo “unf—able,” but he seemed to have a thing for Lupita Nyong’o. The Oscar-winning actress detailed her account of sexual harassment by the ousted film mogul in a stunning article for The New York Times. According to Nyong’o, Weinstein was a “pushy” man who could be really “charming” in group settings. He was also, as she was assured before her career took off, someone who was good to know in Tinseltown.
Leading up to the incident, Nyong’o had been invited to Weinstein’s home for a film screening with his family. But her viewing was interrupted.
“Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage,” Nyong’o wrote in the Thursday, Oct. 19 piece, which also acknowledged he offered her alcohol on two separate, earlier occasions to her refusal. “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.”
The actress explained that her film classes at Yale included using massage techniques, so she felt she could make sense of her giving him one For Nygong’o, she wanted to “keep a semblance of professionalism in spite of the bizarre circumstance.”
“I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation,” she wrote. “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. ‘If we’re not going to watch the film, I really should head back to school.'”
She left and Weinstein pursued her for roles following the incident, which Nyong’o said she reasoned “had been inappropriate and uncalled-for, but not overtly sexual.” She decided she wouldn’t be found in any private spaces with the producer again and routinely declined his movie offers. When she made her big screen debut in “12 Years A Slave,” Weinstein, who had doubted her, apologized for his actions, which Nyong’o accepted.
“But I made a quiet promise to myself to never ever work with Harvey Weinstein.”
More on Lupita Nyong’o
Online, many were furious about the 65-year-old’s encounter with Nyong’o.
Harvey Weinstein tried to TOUCH LUPITA pic.twitter.com/jyk61sD5qo
— Stop Killing Trade ✊🏿 (@D0wJ0nEs) October 19, 2017
That musty demon Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed my Lupita pic.twitter.com/MERRx2Smve
— litgitte bardot (@MimieZaforas) October 19, 2017
I JUST WANNA TALK pic.twitter.com/77RTQPH5Jg
— WinnieTheBoo (@GudieTuSchuez) October 20, 2017
@PYT_ina but for real tho. We been said ‘paws off Lupita’.
— Oswald George II (@ReidAboutOzzie) October 20, 2017
Women identified with her struggle.
— Melissa Luck ☘ (@MelissaKXLY4) October 19, 2017
This is exactly what it's been like for women. We think a) nobody will believe us and/or b) nobody will care. https://t.co/gAlQH4wgdv
— Michelle #BlackLivesMatter (@SoSofieFatale) October 19, 2017
And folks applauded her for speaking out.
— Janelle Monáe, Cindi Mayweather (@JanelleMonae) October 20, 2017
— DAWN (@DawnRichard) October 20, 2017
Thank you Lupita for coming out. Many woman suffering in silence under perverted men terror. Society judgmental https://t.co/ry5T6HAIO6
— Bel Akinyi (@BelAkinyii) October 20, 2017