Jason Priestly had no idea who Harvey Weinstein was when he punched him in the face back in 1995. The Beverly Hills, 90210 alum, who revealed the altercation in a series of tweets last week, opened up about the incident in an exclusive interview with Us Weekly.
“I was sitting on a sofa that apparently somebody else wanted to sit. … Another famous person,” Priestley tells Us. “He came over and told me to leave because somebody else wanted to sit there. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know who he was. I thought he was that person’s security guard. I was like, ‘Who are you? Go away dude.’ And then he told me to leave.”
Priestley, who was sitting by a friend at the time, says that he “got really offended” by the exchange. “I didn’t know who he was. I thought he was a bully. Because he’s a big guy, right? I thought he was a big bully that was working for somebody else and using his position to bully him and my friend. So I was like, you know what, I don’t even want to be around this person. And then he grabbed me. He got physical with me. And so that’s when I hit him.”
He adds: “I think that type of bullying behavior is representative of the kind of person that — well, whatever — that type of bullying behavior I think is what he is being accused of by all these other people. It’s bullying, it’s power plays.”
Priestley and Weinstein have crossed paths since. “Yeah, and every time I’ve seen him since we nod at each other. ‘Hey Harvey…,'” Priestley tells Us. “Because we’re guys and things happen sometimes. But it was quite an ordeal. It was quite an ordeal.”
As previously reported, Priestly, 48, recalled the exchange amid reports that the now disgraced film mogul, 65, blacklisted Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. “Heartbreaking…. wouldn’t be surprised if this happened to my good friend @Jason_Priestley who punched Weinstein in the face at a club one night. Go Jay,” actress Tara Strong wrote in response to one of Sorvino’s tweets about the story.
“[Tara] brought me into that conversation. The conversation about Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd and the way Harvey had gone out of his way to do harm to those talented women’s careers,” Priestley tells Us. “She actually sent me a text and said, ‘You might want to get in on this because we’re all talking about you and what happened.’ It was a story that I had relayed to her about how I punched Harvey during the Miramax party back in 1995. I just wanted to clarify what it was that had happened.”
Priestley is just one of many to speak out against Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by multiple women — including Sorvino, Judd, Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale and Heather Graham.
“I think the sooner that all of us in society stop accepting any type of bullying or harassment from other people — in spite of people’s social standing or net worth or whatever it is — the sooner it will stop,” Priestley says. “I mean, you can’t let people get away with that kind of stuff just because they make more money than you or just because they may give you a job in five years. It doesn’t make it OK.”
In light of the scandals plaguing Hollywood, Priestley hopes for change in 2018. “I just wish that it gets better,” he says. “It gets better politically, it gets better for women, it gets better for men, it gets better for everybody. I hope it gets better for us as a society.”
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