Harvey Weinstein has a different view of the events Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o described in her New York Times op-ed, in which she accused Weinstein of asking her to massage him while a student at the Yale School of Drama.
"Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry," a representative for Weinstein told Entertainment Weekly. "Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show Eclipsed."
In her Oct. 19 Times op-ed, Nyong'o wrote about an alleged incident in 2011. She claims she met him at an awards ceremony while still a student at the Yale School of Drama in Connecticut. Before meeting him, she asked others what they knew about Weinstein. One woman who was a producer told her to "keep Harvey in your corner," adding, "He is a good man to know in the business, but just be careful around him. He can be a bully."
Nyong'o wrote that she gave Weinstein her contact information and hoped to be considered for a Weinstein project. "In this first encounter, I found him to be very direct and authoritative, but also charming. He didn't quite put me at ease, but he didn't alarm me, either," she wrote.
Some time later, Weinstein invited her to a private movie screening in Westport, Connecticut, Nyong'o wrote. After lunch at a restaurant, where the producer insisted on ordering her drinking vodka and Diet Coke, she still went to the screening.
Fifteen minutes into the film, Weinstein insisted she leave the screening with him. He led her to a bedroom where he insisted she give him a massage.
"For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe," the 12 Years A Slave actress wrote in the Times. "I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times."
At one point, he wanted to take off his pants, but Nyong'o told him not to, she wrote. She told him she needed to get back to school, and Weinstein told her she was stubborn. She laughed and managed to leave.
According to her op-ed, Nyong'o and Weinstein still maintained a professional relationship. In 2011, she was invited to a screening of Madonna's W.E., and Weinstein wanted to meet with her after the film. She met him at the Tribeca Grill, where an assistant greeted her. When Weinstein arrived, the assistant left and he told her they would have their meal in a private room. she declined.
"I was silent for a while before I mustered up the courage to politely decline his offer," she wrote. "'You have no idea what you are passing up,' he said. 'With all due respect, I would not be able to sleep at night if I did what you are asking, so I must pass,' I replied."
They didn't meet again until the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, when Nyong'o was promoting 12 Years A Slave. After she won an Oscar for that film, she was offered a part in a Weinstein Company film, but declined the role. That was the last time they were in contact, she wrote.
"Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing," Nyong'o wrote. "I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence."
Since The Times and New Yorker's exposes on Weinstein, dozens of actresses have accused the disgraced producer of sexual harassment. He has been ousted from The Weinstein Company and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He is now in rehab.