AceShowbiz - The number of Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment victims keeps adding up. Lupita Nyong'o has come forward with her own story of unwelcome sexual advances by the disgraced movie mogul a few years ago.
The Oscar-winning actress wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times published on Thursday, October 19 that Weinstein insisted on giving her a massage when they first met in 2011. She was still a student at the Yale School of Drama at the time. They met for a lunch meeting, but she was then coerced into entering his bedroom.
"I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe," she recalled. "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," she continued. "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." Weinstein allowed her to leave, calling her "stubborn."
The 34-year-old star shared how she processed 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." She added that she feared rejecting his advances would mean "jeopardizing my future."
After the encounter, Nyong'o decided not to "have any more visits to private spaces with Harvey Weinstein." Months later, they met during a dinner meeting where she thought would be a group of people. But when she arrived, she was greeted by a female assistant who left after Weinstein entered.
At this meeting, Weinstein told her, "Let's cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal." Nyong'o said she was "stunned" at his comment. "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," she wrote. "He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them."
After Nyong'o repeatedly denied Weinstein's overtures, the meeting came to an abrupt end. He said they were "done here" and that she "can leave." When she asked him if they were still on good terms, Weinstein replied, "I don't know about your career, but you'll be fine."
The "Black Panther" star ended her column with a plea for change in the industry and a "community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed."
She also applauded other women who had spoken up about their own experiences of sexual harassment by Weinstein. "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 we hopefully ensure that this kind of rampant predatory behavior as an accepted feature of our industry dies here and now," she wrote.
Other female celebrities who had previously come forward as victims of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein include Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lea Seydoux and Lena Headey.