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Lupita Nyong’o Accuses Harvey Weinstein Of Sexual Harassment, Recalling ‘Massage’ Incident

20/10/2017 2:16 PM IST | Updated 20/10/2017 2:19 PM IST

Lupita Nyong’o has become the latest actress to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, recalling a series of incidents that took place over a number of years.

The ‘12 Years A Slave’ star first encountered the movie mogul when she was still a student in 2011 and says on their second meeting, Weinstein asked if he could massage her in his bedroom.

riting in a New York Times op-ed, Lupita explains that the incident took place when she was at his house to watch a film, with his young children present.

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Lupita Nyong'o 

“I felt unsafe,” she writes. “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.

“Part of our drama school curriculum at Yale included body work, using massage techniques on one another to understand the connection between body, mind and emotion, and so I felt I could rationalize giving him one and keep a semblance of professionalism in spite of the bizarre circumstance.”

The actress then left when he asked if he could remove his trousers.

“I reasoned that it had been inappropriate and uncalled-for, but not overtly sexual,” she says of the encounter. “I was entering into a business where the intimate is often professional and so the lines are blurred.”

This would not be Lupita’s last meeting with Harvey and the second came when he invited her to a staged reading of his Broadway play ‘Finding Neverland’.

The actress attended with two male friends and at a dinner that took place afterwards, she found herself placed next to Harvey, while her companions were sat at a different table.

At their third meeting, Weinstein directly propositioned her, Lupita says.

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Harvey Weinstein

Explaining how she responded when he suggested they leave the restaurant and eat in his room instead, Lupita writes: “I was stunned. I told him I preferred to eat in the restaurant.

“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.

“I was silent for a while before I mustered up the courage to politely decline his offer.

“‘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.”

The actress claims that the next time she saw Weinstein was two years later, at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of ‘12 Years A Slave’.

“He said he couldn’t believe how fast I had gotten to where I was, and that he had treated me so badly in the past,” she writes. “He was ashamed of his actions and he promised to respect me moving forward. I said thank you and left it at that.

“But I made a quiet promise to myself to never ever work with Harvey Weinstein.”

In a statement obtained by People.com, a spokesperson for Weinstein said: “Mr Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry.”

Lupita’s words came as Quentin Tarantino, one Harvey’s long-time collaborators, admitted he knew about many of the accusations.

Speaking to the New York Times, the director said he wished “I’d taken responsibility for what I heard”, explaining that he previously excused Harvey’s alleged behaviour because “I chalked it up to a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk”.

“As if that’s O.K,” he said. “That’s the egg on my face right now.”

Over 30 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of harassment, assault or rape. While he has apologised for some of his behaviour, the producer “unequivocally denies” nonconsensual sex.

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