Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein once allegedly implied that actress Heather Graham had to sleep with him if she wanted to star in one of his films
The Hangover star recounts her brush with Weinstein in a new guest column for Variety.com, in which she opens up about a meeting they had at his office in the early 2000s.
“There was a pile of scripts sitting on his desk,” she writes. “‘I want to put you in one of my movies,’ he said and offered to let me choose which one I liked best.”
However, the chat soon turned awkward as Weinstein appeared to suggest that Graham have sex with him in exchange for being cast in a production of her choice.
She continues, “Later in the conversation, he mentioned that he had an agreement with his wife. He could sleep with whomever he wanted when he was out of town… There was no explicit mention that to star in one of those films I had to sleep with him, but the subtext was there.”
Weinstein set up a follow-up meeting at a hotel several weeks later, but when a friend was unable to accompany her, Graham decided she wasn’t comfortable going alone and “politely and apologetically” told him she could no longer make it
The film role never materialised, and now, after Weinstein’s decades of allegedly inappropriate behaviour was initially detailed in The New York Times expose last week, when actresses like Ashley Judd went on record about her unprofessional experience with Weinstein, Graham is feeling guilty for not speaking out about her encounter sooner.
“It wasn’t until Ashley Judd heroically shared her story a few days ago that I felt ashamed,” she adds. “If I had spoken up a decade ago, would I have saved countless women from the same experience I had or worse?”
Graham hopes the whole Weinstein drama “starts a dialogue on redefining sexual harassment in the workplace and empowers women to speak out when they feel uncomfortable in a situation”, insisting this is her “moment of reckoning”.
Meanwhile actress Alyssa Milano was hesitant to condemn Harvey for his decades of sexual abuse and harassment because of her friendship with his newly-estranged wife Georgina Chapman
Many celebrities, including George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have spoken out against the allegations, but Milano explains that she remained silent at first out of respect for Chapman and the former couple’s small children.
On Wednesday, hours after Chapman revealed she had left her husband, the actress broke her silence, praising the accusers for coming forward and telling their stories on her website.
Revealing that the allegations against her friend’s husband have left her sick and angry, she wrote: “In any – and every – profession, women are continuously mistreated. This is not an uncommon occurrence. This is a sick culture. Men like Harvey Weinstein are around every corner. Men who undermine women and their strength, ability and intelligence exist everywhere…”
“Even with these strong feelings… this statement is complicated for me for personal reasons,” she adds. “Harvey has a wife, who I have had the privilege of working with for the last 5 years on Project Runway All Stars. Georgina Chapman is my friend. She is one of the most special humans I have ever met. Harvey and Georgina also have two very young children who my children have known their entire lives.
“It is because of my love for Georgina, India and Dashiell that I haven’t publicly commented on this until now. Please don’t confuse my silence for anything other than respect for a dear friend and her beautiful children. And please know that I fight for women’s rights every day…
“Sexual harassment and assault in the workplace are not just about Harvey Weinstein. We must change things in general. We must do better for women everywhere.”