Actress Heather Graham has shared her account of film executive Harvey Weinstein pressuring her into a sexually suggestive situation.
In a column for Variety published Tuesday, Graham said that Weinstein had once called her into his office and appeared to suggest she have sex with him in exchange for a role in one of his movies in the early 2000s.
The actress said the uncomfortable meeting began with Weinstein telling her to choose her favorite role from a pile of scripts. Later in their conversation, Graham said Weinstein told her that his wife allowed him to sleep with other women when he was out of town.
“I walked out of the meeting feeling uneasy,” Graham wrote. “There was no explicit mention that to star in one of those films I had to sleep with him, but the subtext was there.”
Graham said she was scheduled to do a follow-up meeting with Weinstein at his hotel but later canceled when an “actress friend” of hers could no longer go with her. Graham said that Weinstein had lied and said her friend was already at the hotel in an effort to persuade her to come over, forcing her to “politely and apologetically” decline.
Graham wrote: “The question — and this is not an excuse — is what defines sexual harassment in the workplace? He didn’t explicitly offer a trade — sex for work — even though I knew that was what he was implying. And I hadn’t gone to his hotel.”
But the subtext was there. Heather Graham on Harvey Weinstein's proposition
Graham’s account of her meeting with Weinstein joins a growing number of accusations against the producer.
Weinstein has been under intense scrutiny after The New York Times published a damning report Thursday that outlined decades of accusations of sexual abuse, coercion and harassment of employees, models and actresses, including settlements from eight sexual harassment lawsuits.
The Times added to its reporting Tuesday by publishing accounts from actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosanna Arquette and others, describing allegations of Weinstein attempting to lure women to private places “to discuss films, scripts or even Oscar campaigns,” initiating inappropriate touching and massages, taking off his clothes in their presence or offering “explicit work-for-sex deals.”
A New Yorker piece followed with accusations of rape and sexual assault.
Graham, who said she was never hired to work in Weinstein’s films, wrote in Variety that she was ashamed for not speaking up about her encounter sooner and discussed reasons why she didn’t want to come forward as a victim.
Many of the concerns Graham detailed are common reasons for why more victims of sexual harassment or abuse don’t speak out against their abusers.
I know this is an inner dialogue many women have — it’s part of what’s holding so many of us back from sharing our stories. We don’t want to be attacked for reading into something that may or may not have been there. We don’t want to be looked at as weak for not being able to handle ourselves in a business run by men. We don’t want to lose work by being defined as a Difficult Woman. We don’t want to be the first or only voice in the room. ...
My hope is that this moment starts a dialogue on redefining sexual harassment in the workplace and empowers women to speak out when they feel uncomfortable in a situation. I hope that dialogue covers the gray areas where we ask ourselves, “Did what I think happen just happen?” and that we are no longer shamed into feeling that we should grow a thicker skin, or that our story “isn’t good enough to count.”
In light of the numerous accusations of sexual assault, Weinstein has been fired from his production company and his name will be purged from the credits of any TV series he’s worked on, as well as the credits on upcoming movies.
This weekend, The New York Times called for Weinstein to release any nondisclosure agreements he may have with any women with whom he had settled a sexual harassment lawsuit so that more victims may speak freely.
HuffPost reached out to Weinstein’s spokeswoman for comment Tuesday evening and will update this article accordingly. In The New Yorker article, a representative said that Weinstein “confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
Read Graham’s column on Harvey Weinstein on Variety’s website here.