Lupita Nyong’o said on Thursday that Harvey Weinstein has harassed her on multiple occasions.
The Oscar-winning actor recounted her experiences with Weinstein in a New York Times opinion piece Thursday, joining dozens of others who have come forward with allegations against the producer this month. Nyong’o said that she had tried to put the incidents out of her mind, but that by not speaking up she felt she had been “joining in the conspiracy of silence that has allowed this predator to prowl for so many years.”
“I have felt such a flare of rage that the experience I recount below was not a unique incident with me, but rather part of a sinister pattern of behavior,” Nyong’o wrote in the piece.
Nyong’o first met Weinstein in 2011 when she was a student at Yale Drama School, she said. After hearing a warning that he could be a “bully” she said he invited her to a lunch where he tried to insist she drink alcohol, and then to his home, where she says he took her into his bedroom and asked to give her a massage.
“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,” Nyong’o wrote.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex from women in recent weeks. “Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry,” a spokesperson for the producer said in a statement, adding that Nyong’o personally invited Weinstein to see her Broadway play “Eclipsed” last year.
In another incident, Nyong’o said that Weinstein asked her to eat dinner with him in a private hotel room and explained that he had dated other famous actresses. “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,” Nyong’o wrote. When she turned him down, Nyong’o said Weinstein became cold and threatened her.
The massage story is similar to the incidents recounted by many other women who have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault in recent weeks. Following exposes in the New York Times and the New Yorker, women across all levels of Hollywood accused Weinstein of a pattern of threatening and abusive behavior that led the producer’s company to fire him.
Nyong’o said that she knows how hard it is for women to speak up, but that the people speaking out now can “regain that power.”
“Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing,” she wrote. “I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence.”