Lupita among women harassed by producer Weinstein

Friday October 20 2017

This file photo taken on September 7, 2017 shows actress Lupita Nyong'o attending the Calvin Klein Collection fashion show during New York Fashion Week in New York City. She claims she was harassed by Harvey Weinstein. PHOTO | DIA DIPASUPIL | AFP


It started with a newspaper report about the predatory habits of top Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Then, one by one, confessions from at least 24 women that he had sexually harassed or even raped started flying in.

Now Lupita Nyong’o, the daughter of Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, is among those who have come out to say they were harassed by Mr Weinstein.

The Oscar award-winning actress has penned a 3,057-word article detailing how Mr Weinstein — who was last weekend fired by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following an avalanche of allegations against him — asked for sexual favours to help her find her footing in her acting career.

In her piece published by The New York Times, the paper that published the first exposé about Mr Weinstein’s history of abusive behaviour that had gone on for decades, Lupita says he tricked her twice to be in a position where they were all alone then asked for sexual favours.

The firs incident, she says, happened in 2011 when she was a student at the Yale School of Drama after meeting him at an awards ceremony in Berlin.


She exchanged contacts with Mr Weinstein “in the hopes that I would be considered for one of his projects”.

A few months later, Mr Weinstein invited Lupita to his home in Westport in Connecticut, which the actress says was not far from where she was living in New Haven.

The purpose of the visit would be to watch a film that his competitor had produced.

But after the film had been screened for only 15 minutes, he called her to his bedroom and asked to giver her a massage.

“I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe.

"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,” Lupita writes.

As she massaged him, at some point he said he wanted to remove his pants.

“I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable,” she recalls.

She was not mincing his words and he had to put on his shirt.

“He again mentioned how stubborn I was,” she writes.

She left the house confused. “I was entering into a business where the intimate is often professional and so the lines are blurred,” she reasons.

Later, he again invited her to a show in New York. Lupita agreed to attend as she thought he had changed his attitude because she had met him after the 2011 incident in the company of her two male friends.

She was wrong. After the screening in New York, he took her to a restaurant where he invited her to his private room where “we can have the rest of our meal”.

“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,” Lupita writes.

She turned him down again and the exchange ended with him telling her he did not know if her career would last long.

They went separate ways until September 2012 when Lupita was in Toronto for the premier of 12 Years a Slave.

“He said he couldn’t believe how fast I had got to where I was, and that he had treated me so badly in the past,” she writes.