A damning footage of #MeToo villain Harvey Weinstein shows him shamelessly pursuing and groping a visibly uncomfortable woman, who alleged the media mogul raped her hours later.
Melissa Thompson is one of the three women who filed a class-action lawsuit against Weinstein in June, accusing him of uninvited sexual conduct in various forms. The sexual assault survivor released a recording, shown by Sky News that was filmed in 2011. She said the incident happened while she was meeting with the disgraced filmmaker in his office at the Weinstein Company to pitch a video technology offered by her start-up company. The then 28-year-old said she also recorded the interaction as part of her demo.
The video starts with Weinstein entering the room, telling someone outside not to “interrupt.” After the door closed, he approached Thompson, who tried to shake his hand. Weinstein ignored it ,instead grabbing the woman in a hug and rubbing her back.
“That’s nice. Let’s keep it up” he can be heard saying.
As the two sat side by side to look at the laptop, Weinstein caressed her shoulder. Thompson claimed Weinstein quickly agreed to use the video platform and analytics and then suddenly put his hand under her skirt. The two people can only be seen from the waist up so this alleged action cannot be seen. However, Thompson clearly looks discomfited telling Weinstein, “That’s too high. That’s too high.” However, the media mogul remained undeterred and kept stroking her arm, even claiming at one point that, “data is so hot, right.”
Let me have a little bit of you, give it to me. It’s okay? Would you like to do it some more?”
“A little bit, mm-hmm,” an uncomfortable-looking Thompson responded.
The survivor said she was only trying not to upset Weinstein who was a very powerful individual.
“At some point, his whole affect changed and he looked like a predator. His eyes became dark,” she recalled to Sky.
At one point in the extended video, Thompson turned the computer to capture the side of the room near the kitchen, after Weinstein gestured her there.
“I knew I was losing the ability to control the situation and keep it professional,” she said. “I had entered that fight-or-flight mode and I was scared of him.”
She also said the filmmaker’s behavior was distracting and she struggled to pitch the technology to him.
Weinstein can also be heard on the video asking Thompson for a drink later at the Tribeca Grand, to which she agreed because she thought meeting in the lobby of a hotel “felt much safer than being alone with him in his office.” She thought he would close the technology deal over there; however, the situation spiraled out of her control when Weinstein invited her to his room. She tried to fight him and get away from him along the way but he kept blocking her way.
“I constantly felt trapped, no matter where I turned,” she told Sky News.
Once in the room, he raped her.
Thompson also rejected critics who said she encouraged Weinstein’s behavior. She said she tried to keep the meeting professional, while politely refusing his advances and trying to make a deal.
“I never met anyone that I couldn’t handle until Harvey Weinstein,” she said. “We don’t have to live with being raped when we think we’re going to a business meeting.”
Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman told Sky News in a statement that Thompson had taken the video out of context:
“Several respected journalists and trustworthy individuals have seen the entire video. What they shared with us is that the video, when viewed in its entirety, in context and not in select excerpts, demonstrates that there is nothing forceful, but casual - if not awkward - flirting from both parties. Anything short of that is intended to make Mr. Weinstein appear inappropriate, and even exploitative. It was produced by Ms Thompson to bolster her position in a civil lawsuit seeking money. This is a further attempt to publicly disgrace Mr. Weinstein for financial gain, and we will not stand for it. Facts do matter.”
Seventy five women have accused Weinstein of sexual assault and he has been charged in New York for sexually assaulting three women.
Meantime, prosecutors are challenging Weinstein’s attorneys’ claims that they hid evidence from the jury that could have helped the disgraced filmmaker deny his sexual assault allegations, including one email in which an alleged victim wrote, “I love you, always do. But I hate feeling like a booty call,” according to the defense.
Prosecutors argue they do not have the responsibility to turn over the emails because Weinstein could have given testimony about the alleged relationship himself, which he did not do. They said the secret grand jury documents provided to the judge were enough to show they presented evidence “fairly and in a manner that was not misleading.”
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