Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette and Asia Argento Accuse Harvey Weinstein of Sexual Harassment
By Antoinette Bueno
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More actresses are going on the record with accusations that they are victims of Harvey Weinstein's unwanted sexual advances.
In an explosive The New Yorkerreport published on Tuesday, journalist Ronan Farrow tells the stories of multiple women who at some point worked with the studio mogul, their allegations ranging from sexual harassment to rape. A spokesperson for Weinstein, Sallie Hofmeister, issued a statement to The New Yorker in response to the allegations, and said Weinstein denies any allegations of non-consensual sex.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances," the statement reads. "Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
Mira Sorvino, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1996 for Mighty Aphrodite -- a movie Weinstein produced -- claims to the magazine that Weinstein sexually harassed her and tried to pressure her into a physical relationship while they worked together. Sorvino alleges that during the Toronto International Film Festival in September 1995, she warded off his advances in a hotel room, telling him it was against her religion to date married men (Weinstein was married to a former assistant, Eve Chilton, at the time).
“He started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around,” she alleges.
The actress later claims that a few weeks later, Weinstein asked to meet about marketing ideas for Mighty Aphrodite after midnight, and told her he was coming to her apartment after she first offered to meet him at an all-night diner. Sorvino says she called a friend to pose as her boyfriend, and after telling Weinstein that her new boyfriend was on the way, Weinstein became dejected and left.
“I freaked out,” Sorvino says. “Harvey had managed to bypass my doorman. I opened the door terrified, brandishing my twenty-pound Chihuahua mix in front of me, as though that would do any good.”
Sorvino claims she has talked to other women who have had similar stories about Weinstein, but hesitated to come forward with her story because Weinstein had helped her professionally. She continued to have professional contact with Weinstein for years after the alleged incident.
“I have great respect for Harvey as an artist, and owe him and his brother [Bob Weinstein] a debt of gratitude for the early success in my career, including the Oscar," she says.
Still, she says she ultimately felt that rejecting Weinstein's alleged advances hurt her career, especially after she says she told a female Miramax employee (the company he co-founded) about the alleged harassment.
“There may have been other factors, but I definitely felt iced out and that my rejection of Harvey had something to do with it," Sorvino claims.
As for Rosanna Arquette, she claims she too rejected Weinstein's advances in a hotel room. Arquette says that one evening in the early '90s, she agreed to meet Weinstein for dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel to look at a new script, but was told to meet him upstairs in his hotel room. She then claims Weinstein opened the door wearing a bathrobe, and after telling her he needed a massage, grabbed her hand. She alleges that the incident escalated when, after yanking her hand away, he allegedly grabbed it again and pulled it towards his visibly erect penis.
"My heart was really racing. I was in a fight-or-flight moment,” Arquette says.
“I will never do that," she also says she told Weinstein after his alleged advances.
After the alleged incident, Arquette says Weinstein told her she was making a mistake for rejecting him. The actress claims her career did suffer, though she did have a small role in Weinstein's Pulp Fiction.
"He made things very difficult for me for years,” she alleges, claiming she lost a role because of him.
Of the multiple actresses who have accused Weinstein of sexually harassing them, Asia Argento has the most serious allegations. Argento, who starred in the 1999 Miramax film B.Monkey, said Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 1997 at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc on the French Riviera when she was 21 years old. Argento says she came to the event for a party that Miramax was throwing, but found herself in a hotel room alone with Weinstein after a producer took her upstairs to him. Argento alleges that after reluctantly giving Weinstein a massage, who was in his bathrobe, he forced her legs apart and performed oral sex on her after she repeatedly told him to stop.
"[Weinstein] terrified me, and he was so big,” Argento claims. “It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare. ... I was not willing."
Argento claims she eventually stopped saying no and pretended to enjoy it in order to bring the alleged incident to an end.
“The thing with being a victim is I felt responsible,” she says. “Because if I were a strong woman, I would have kicked him in the balls and run away. But I didn’t. And so I felt responsible.”
Argento says Weinstein kept contacting her after the alleged incident, offering expensive gifts. She also says she had consensual sexual relations with him over the course of the next five years. Years later, as a single mom, she says Weinstein offered to pay for her nanny, and claims she felt "obliged" to submit to his sexual advances.
Argento later claims that after releasing her 2000 film, Scarlet Diva, which she wrote and directed, more women reached out to her about allegations concerning Weinstein. In the film, a producer corners Argento's character, Anna, in a hotel room, asks her for a massage, then tries to assault her, though Anna escapes.
"Ha, ha, very funny,” Argento alleges Weinstein told her after seeing the film. Though Argento claims that Weinstein also apologized, and said he was “sorry for whatever happened.”
"Just his body, his presence, his face, bring me back to the little girl that I was when I was twenty-one,” she says. “When I see him, it makes me feel little and stupid and weak. After the rape, he won."
Weinstein has since been fired from The Weinstein Company amid the sexual harassment controversy, after The New York Times published their own report last week claiming Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women over sexual harassment claims spanning three decades. Weinstein's lawyer, Charles J. Harder, called the Times report "saturated with false and defamatory statements," and threatened to sue.
Meanwhile, Weinstein said in a statement last week that he was working with therapists and dealing with the issue "head on."
"I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it," he said. "Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go."
For more on the allegations against Weinstein, watch the video below: