Mira Sorvino is opening up about her decision to share her story of alleged sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein with Ronan Farrow for his Tuesday, October 10, New Yorker expose on the movie mogul.
“It has been a real struggle to come forward with my story. I have lived in vague fear of Harvey Weinstein for over 20 years,” the 50-year-old actress wrote in a profile published by TIME on Tuesday, October 11. “At the time I don’t think I even knew what happened — him using business-related situations to try and press himself sexually on a young woman in his employ — qualified as sexual harassment. But as a woman who routinely advocates for women and girls who have been victimized in my role as Goodwill Ambassador with the United Nations, and as a mother, I could no longer remain silent.”
The Mighty Aphrodite actress claimed that she confided in a female employee at The Weinstein Company about the alleged incident, who shamed her for bringing it up. “When Ronan first reached out and said, ‘It’s about Harvey Weinstein,’ I started crying and shaking,” she recalled. “After all those years, that is how much power Weinstein held over me. Many sleepless nights — literally waking at 2 a.m. and not being able to sleep the rest of the night until it was time to take my kids to school — followed.”
“After some time, I agreed to help Ronan, but I wasn’t sure I could put my name out there. I was terrified of retaliation, not only professional but the safety of my children. I also felt my story was insignificant compared to others Ronan described,” Sorvino continued. “He always gently reminded me that my incidents bore hallmarks of a specific m.o. — the ‘meetings’ in hotel rooms, the use of massage as the first salvo, the misleading promise of business discussions that quickly evaporated, the bullish physical and psychological brazenness. My experience was remarkably similar to testimonies that described worse sexual abuse and that if I came forward I would help corroborate other brave women’s stories.”
The Oscar winner explained that her “conscience and desire to break away from the tyranny of intimidation” as well as her fear of “possibly putting the young girls and women (and boys and men) in danger in Hollywood and beyond” ultimately persuaded her to partake in The New Yorker story.
“For another 24 hours, I second-guessed my decision, wondering if I would ever work again, wondering if being a whistleblower would mean being blacklisted,” the Mimic star added. “But once I knew the story was going to print and it was irrevocable, an enormous peace washed over me — a sense that finally I had taken my personal power back form a man who’s made me scared every time I have seen him in public. My fear of what could be done has been outweighed by an overwhelming sense that I’m living with full courage and honesty.”
As previously reported, 65-year-old Weinstein was fired from his own company amid allegations of sexual misconduct made by numerous women, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd. The New York Times broke the story first with numerous allegations made against Weinstein.
The Miramax producer has since denied all allegations. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” his spokesperson Sallie Hofmeister said in a statement to Us Weekly. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman announced in a statement on Tuesday that she is leaving him to focus on their children’s wellbeing. The former studio exec reportedly flew to Arizona on Wednesday, October 12, to seek treatment for sex addiction.
“I am here to encourage a mass speaking-out,” Sorvino wrote in conclusion. “The atmosphere of impunity for predators who seek it as their right to create climates of sexual intimidation, workplaces, campuses or even homes which are not meritocracies but transactional spaces where in order to keep one’s job or wellbeing one must somehow endure or comply with these unlawful advances, must be shut down.”
Read the rest of Sorvino’s remarks here.
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