- Erika Rosenbaum, a Canadian actress, met Hollywood power-player Harvey Weinstein multiple times in her early-to-mid 20s to discuss her career
- Weinstein allegedly made unwarranted sexual advances to her during these meetings
- In one of their meetings, Rosenbaum says Weinstein pulled her into the bathroom of his hotel room and masturbated in front of her
- Rosenbaum left the room and said she felt “trapped” by Weinstein
A Canadian actress said Harvey Weinstein coaxed her into the bathroom of his hotel room, grabbed her neck, and masturbated in front of her during a meeting to discuss her career.
Speaking to The New York Times’ Jodi Kantor — who initially broke the story of the sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein — Erika Rosenbaum discussed the years of harassment and emotional manipulation she says she suffered at Weinstein’s hands.
Rosenbaum relayed a story of a meeting set up by Weinstein’s assistant in Toronto, during the film festival. Rosenbaum, then in her mid-20s, had first met Weinstein at a party a few years prior, in which Weinstein had allegedly made a passing sexual advance.
Weinstein’s assistant texted Rosenbaum before the meeting and told her that he was on a tight schedule and that she should meet him in his hotel room.
“I was thinking, this wasn’t fine, but I go,” Rosenbaum said, in a recording posted on The New York Times’ site. “Because, when you’re in my position, you go. Like there was no benefit to me saying no.”
Rosenbaum said she arrived at the hotel room, and Weinstein’s assistant opened the door and then left. Rosenbaum, with her voice cracking in the recording, said she finds speaking about what happened next “difficult.”
“He answered the door with no pants on,” Rosenbaum told the NYT. “As far as I could tell, he was just wearing a dress shirt.” Weinstein apologised to her, “outright,” Rosenbaum said. He said he was “rushing to get ready,” and that he needed to take a shower. At this point, Rosenbaum said Weinstein’s shirt covered his hips, but there was “nothing on” underneath.
Weinstein then allegedly asked if she would talk to him while he took a shower, but Rosenbaum replied that he was busy and they could talk later. At this point, Rosenbaum says Weinstein got annoyed that she was going to leave his hotel room. “Just come here a minute,” Rosenbaum said he told her.
Rosenbaum said — fighting back tears on the recording — that Weinstein brought her into the bathroom. “I don’t remember what I said if I said anything at all,” Rosenbaum said. “I think I was too afraid to say anything.”
At this point, the story becomes graphic.
“He held me by the back of the neck, and had me face the mirror, and said I just want to look at you,” Rosenbaum said. “And then he started masturbating, um, behind me. He was holding me by the back of the neck and looking right at my face.”
Rosenbaum describes how she reacted to the situation:
“And, uh, I remember seeing my own face in the mirror, and I just could not believe that I was standing there,” she continued. “And I just could not believe that I had let this happen. And I felt incredibly guilty, And eventually, I don’t know if a minute went by, or five minutes went by, but I — I tell him that I cannot be here, and I walked to the door. I don’t think he finished what he was doing and I don’t remember him saying anything at all after that.”
“And I remember how I felt afterwards, that now I was deeper into this secret, and that, and I didn’t know what would happen if I ever said anything, and I didn’t know what would happen if I didn’t call him back — if he would come after me in some way. I didn’t know what else I could do. It sounds so foolish now.”
“You get woven into this web, bit-by-bit,” Rosenbaum said, of how Weinstein — a Hollywood power-broker — had charmed her into successive meetings. “Because of the power imbalance that was there from the get-go, I really felt trapped.”
“I realise now how manipulated I was back then,” she added.
Rosenbaum’s story bears similarities to the multitude of other women, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, who have alleged harassment over the past few weeks. Ashley Judd told The New York Times that Weinstein’s assistant had sent her up to his hotel room for a meeting, where he answered the door in a bathrobe, and asked if she would “watch him shower.”
And, in a 2015 recording, Weinstein is heard asking model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to come into his bathroom for a “minute.”
Lupita Nyong’o, an Oscar-award winning actress, wrote an essay for The New York Times where she detailed a series of meetings with Weinstein where he alternated between career advice and advances. Quentin Tarantino, a famous film director who worked with Weinstein’s company, Miramax, said he “knew enough to do more than I did,” with regard to Weinstein’s treatment of women.
Weinstein’s wife separated from him as the allegations piled up, and he has been fired from his company.
You can listen to the full recording of Rosenbaum’s story over at The New York Times.
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