Actress Julianna Margulies has added her own frightening experiences with Harvey Weinstein and Steven Seagal to the cascade of allegations of sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment world.
In a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s “Just Jenny,” the “Good Wife” star talked about two troubling encounters with Seagal and Weinstein earlier in her career.
When she was 23, Margulies said, a female casting director sent her to Seagal’s apartment at 10 p.m. to read a scene. The casting director pushed past the actress’s objections by offering to reimburse the cab fare and promising that she would be present as well. But when Margulies arrived later that night, she said she found herself alone with the action movie star.
“She set me up,” Margulies said of the woman who arranged the audition.
The encounter with Seagal quickly turned threatening, the actress recalled. “He made sure that I saw his gun, which I’d never seen a gun in real life,” Margulies said. “I got out of there unscathed. ... I don’t know how I got out of that hotel room. ... I sort of squirmed my way out.”
She said Seagal tried to turn the supposed audition into a sexual encounter with a tactic also allegedly practiced by Weinstein. “It always starts with ‘I’m a healer, I wanna massage you,’” she said.
Several years later, in 1996, Margulies said she was invited to meet with Weinstein. She said another woman brought her to the hotel, promising that if she met with the film producer she’d be given a screen test for a possibly award-winning role in a major movie. After her disturbing encounter with Seagal, however, Margulies was wary.
“I said, ‘I’m not going up there alone’ ― because of the Seagal experience and because I had a career,” said Margulies, who was on the hit show “ER” at the time.
After the actress insisted she would go home if the other woman didn’t join her, the two of them went to Weinstein’s hotel room together.
“He opened the door in a bathrobe,” Margulies recalled. “I could see that there were candles lit in the room, and there was a dinner for two. And I saw him stare at her, daggers.” She turned to the other woman and “caught her in a shrug, like, ‘What could I do?’”
Weinstein looked “furious,” Margulies said. He told her, “Just wanted to say, ‘Good audition,’” and then slammed the door, she said. She did not get the part.
Margulies joins a list of more than 50 women who have stepped forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, with allegations ranging from attempted harassment to rape. Following two explosive exposés in The New York Times and The New Yorker, and numerous additional women then stepping forward to share similar experiences, Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company, which he co-founded with his brother, and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Police departments in Los Angeles and London are reportedly investigating rape allegations made against him. The New York Police Department confirmed on Friday that it has been gathering evidence for a “credible rape allegation,” which could lead to his arrest.
Seagal has previously been accused of inappropriate conduct as well. In 1998, actress Jenny McCarthy discussed leaving an audition distraught after Seagal repeatedly insisted that she undress. In 2010, he was sued for sexual harassment by a former assistant who claimed in the lawsuit that he had used her as a “sex toy.” The lawsuit was later dropped. In October of this year, “Inside Edition” correspondent and actress Lisa Guerrero said she was repeatedly pressured to audition alone with Seagal at his home for a role in the 1997 movie “Fire Down Below.”
During Friday’s interview, Margulies said the recent wave of public allegations led her to realize that she’d “swept everything under the rug. You shrug it off as that’s just Hollywood.”
She also pointed to the role of some women in enabling predatory male behavior, noting that she was introduced to both situations by other women in the business.
“We have to start holding these people accountable,” Margulies said. “These women were leading me to the lion’s den.”
BEFORE YOU GO
Garai said that she felt “violated” by Weinstein, who was fired from his namesake company on Oct. 8 in the wake of numerous sexual harassment allegations.
"I said no to him professionally many times over the years," she wrote, "some of which ended up with him screaming at me calling me a cunt and making threats, some of which made him laughingly tell people, 'Oh, Kate lives to say no to me.'"
“Before I knew it, he started trying to pull my clothes off and pin me down and I just kept saying ‘no, no, no.' But he was really forceful," she said. "I remember him pulling at my trousers and stuff and looming over me and I just sort of – I am a big, strong girl and I bolted ... ran for the bathroom and locked the door. I was in there for a while I think, he went very quiet. After a while I remember opening the door and seeing him just there facing the door masturbating, so I quickly closed the door again and locked it. Then when I heard room service come to the door I just ran."
“He started to tell me that he found me very attractive and wanted to have relations with me. I told him I was very in love with my companion. He replied that didn’t bother him at all and offered to have me be his mistress a few days a year. That way we could continue to work together. Basically, it was, ‘If you want to continue in America, you have to go through me,’" Darel said. She says she left quickly and told Weinstein: “I’m sorry, I have to leave.”
She also said she had three dinners with Weinstein during which he allegedly boasted about the actresses he'd slept with and joked that a pilot "was on standby because he could never get me to sleep with him."
Finally, the producer would not allow the actress to board her flight to New York, insisting she ride in his private plane. Weinstein allegedly ordered airport personnel to remove Sagemiller's bags from her flight from Toronto and deliver her to the runway where his plane was awaiting takeoff.
"If my manager called me tomorrow and said, 'Actually, I remember there was this movie you were up for, and now that I’m thinking back on it, maybe [rebuffing Weinstein is] why you didn’t get it,' I wouldn’t be surprised at all," the actress said.
“That night... I went out to a premiere after party that Harvey Weinstein was also at. He motioned for me to come over to him, and then grabbed me to sit me on his lap," she said. "I was so surprised and shocked I couldn’t stop laughing because it was so awkward. But then I could feel that he had an erection. I got quiet, but got off his lap quickly. He then asked me to come outside with him and other things I don’t want to share, but it was implied that if I did not comply with doing what he asked me to do that I would not get the role that I had already been informally offered. I laughed in his face as I was in shock and so uncomfortable. I left the party right after that.”
Subkoff said the offer for the role was rescinded and she felt that her reputation was "ruined by false gossip."
"I was called ‘too difficult to work with. It became impossible for me to get work as an actress after this."
She continued: “I was genuinely shocked. I remember thinking, it’s got to be a joke. I said something like, ‘Oh, come on, mate?!?? It’d be like kissing my dad!!’” Headey suggested her rebuff might have cost her roles in other projects helmed by Weinstein, because she was never cast again.
“He told me I looked stressed. He said that maybe he thought I could use a massage. Maybe I could give him a massage,” she said. When she refused, she said, Weinstein told her it would be a “bad decision” and would hurt her career if she left. But, Holly said, she "pushed him and ran.”
Weinstein allegedly told the actress not to tell anyone that she had been alone with him. "He tried to take my hand and put it in his lap which is when I managed to leave the room," she wrote.
The producer allegedly told her: "I waited for the masseuse, but she's late. We can have fun without her. Let's relax." When Mtsitouridze hesitated, she said, Weinstein told her, "You will love it. I'm a guru in this matter. You never met a man like me." Mtsitouridze said she was frozen but took her opportunity to leave when a waiter came into the room with an ice bucket for Champagne.
Mtsitouridze said she ran into Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival a decade later and he told her quietly: "Don't even think about saying anything. Forget all about it. Be a smart girl."
"He told me that he has a lot of 'special friends' and they give each other massages," Coughlan said. "It was a full-court press. He wanted me to be one of his 'special friends' and go into the bedroom. I told him that I had a serious boyfriend and reminded him that he was married and that we should keep this professional. I was so blindsided. Not one ounce of me anticipated it. It was the weirdest meeting I've ever had in my life." Weinstein allegedly made the offer several other times, to which Coughlan always refused.
She also accused the Hollywood mogul of abruptly ending a dinner with her after she declined his invitation to come up to his hotel room.
"I was stunned," she said. "I told him I preferred to eat in the restaurant. 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. He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them."
She added, "I was silent for a while before I mustered up the courage to politely decline his offer."
"I personally experienced him pulling his you-know-what out of his pants in order to shock me. My basic response was, ‘You know, Harvey, I really don’t think you should be pulling that thing out. It’s not very pretty.’” The actress said she left the room and refused to meet with the producer again.
Haleyi described more than one incident of sexual harassment. She claimed Weinstein once attempted to persuade her to give him a massage and also once forced himself into her apartment after she declined an invitation to join him in Paris. During one instance, Haleyi said she and Weinstein were watching TV when he began making sexual advances toward her.
“I said, ‘I am on my period. There is no way this is going to happen. Please stop.’ He wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Haleyi said, adding that the producer then held her on her bed and assaulted her.
She wrote: "I, too, was asked to meet him in a hotel bar. I, too, met a young, female assistant there who said the meeting had been moved upstairs to his suite because he was a very busy man. I, too, felt my guard go up but was calmed by the presence of another woman my age beside me. I, too, felt terror in the pit of my stomach when that young woman left the room and I was suddenly alone with him. I, too, was asked if I wanted a massage, champagne, strawberries. I, too, sat in that chair paralyzed by mounting fear when he suggested we shower together."