New footage has been released of Harvey Weinstein behaving inappropriately during a meeting with a woman, who said he then raped her hours after. Sky News obtained the video, in which the disgraced producer makes sexually suggestive comments to 28-year-old Melissa Thompson and touches her body.
In 2011, Thompson said she met Weinstein at the Weinstein Company office in New York to pitch her tech start-up’s services. She recorded their meeting as part of the demo. A few hours after, at his hotel room a few blocks away, Thompson said Weinstein raped her.
At the start of the meeting, Weinstein is seen arriving alone and telling his staff “don’t interrupt.” Sky News reported that he then locked the door. After rejecting her attempt at a handshake, he is shown greeting Thompson with a hug, during which he rubs her lower back, and throughout the video he touches her on the arms and shoulders.
Throughout the meeting, Weinstein continually makes suggestive comments toward Thompson. “Am I allowed to flirt with you?” he asks near the beginning of the meeting. When she replies, “we’ll see, a little bit,” Weinstein says he won’t. In an interview with Sky, she said he would go from “almost pulling a trigger on using” her service, and then he would put his hand under the table and up her dress. In the video, she noticeably squirms and says “that’s a little high.”
“Every time that he toed the line of being inappropriate enough where I may have said something, he could sense it and he pulled back and he changed the dynamic again,” Thompson said. “Now I see, he’s trying any way he can, to move me into that zone of comfortable then uncomfortable and confused and vulnerable and recognizing that he is powerful and I’m not. And that I need this deal from him and he has the power to give it to me.”
In the video, he also says: “Let me have a little part of you. Give it to me. It’s okay, would you like to do it some more?”
Thompson is shown mildly flirting back and touching his shoulder, but she said she was “trying to save face” and manage the situation. Weinstein’s shifting behavior made her unable to think straight, she told Sky.
“At some point, his whole affect changed and he looked like a predator. His eyes became dark,” she said. “I had entered that fight-or-flight mode, and I was scared of him.”
Weinstein is heard in the video saying he wants to meet her later for drinks at a nearby hotel lobby. Thompson went, assuming it was to close the deal. She felt safe that it was at a lobby near his office, instead of his hotel room. But after they met, that’s where Weinstein led her anyway and that’s where Thompson said he raped her.
“If I tried to fight myself away from him, he would more around to block me in somewhere and he’s a big individual. I constantly felt trapped, no matter where I turned. He cornered me over and over again,” Thompson said.
The recorded meeting and the alleged rape are both included in a class action lawsuit against Weinstein and others connected to him who might have known what was happening.
“Had people been more vocal and not said, ‘Yeah, that’s Harvey,’ or ‘Yeah we have to live with that’ — we don’t have to live with things that are illegal and abusive. We don’t have to live with being raped when we think we’re going to a business meeting,” Thompson said.
In a statement, Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman said: “The video, when viewed in its entirety, in context and not in select excerpts, demonstrates that there is nothing forceful, but casual — if not awkward — flirting from both parties … This is a further attempt to publicly disgrace Mr. Weinstein for financial gain, and we will not stand for it.”
Watch the video here.
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