Harvey Weinstein Accuser Releases Video of Creepy Business Meeting Before Alleged Rape
Melissa Thompson is one of many women who have come forward to accuse now-disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and rape. Thompson is a plaintiff in the class action suit against Weinstein, and back in June spoke to NBC News about her experience with Weinstein. Also in June, the website the Blast published a still image, pulled from a recording, of a meeting between Thompson and Weinstein in which the producer was said to have groped her. Today, Thompson released video of the encounter in a report published by the UK’s Sky News. In it the video, the professional meeting takes on an air of predation almost immediately, as Weinstein touches Thompson inappropriately and asks her inappropriate questions.
Per Thompson, she had set up a meeting with Weinstein in 2011, when she was 28, at his company’s offices in New York, to pitch him on working with her on advertising and marketing initiatives for films. Thompson says she was expecting to meet with the Weinstein Company’s marketing team, but instead found herself in a room with just Weinstein himself. She says it was standard protocol for her to record meetings, and the video for this one is unsettling. Weinstein immediately brushes off Thompson’s offer of a handshake and instead hugs her, his hand drifting down towards her waist as he rubs her back during the embrace. Weinsten then asks Thompson if he is “allowed to flirt” with her, to which she responds, “Um, we’ll see. A little bit.”
The meeting goes on like that from there. Thompson is clearly on edge, trying to keep the boundaries of professionalism up while also attempting to appease the very rich and powerful man she is hoping to do business with. At one point in the video, Thompson is explaining to Weinstein how she might be able to help his company promote its movies, but he interrupts her with what reads awfully like a blatant sexual proposition: “You just tell me what I can do and when it’s going to happen,” Weinstein says as Thompson smiles nervously.
Thompson tells Sky News that at one point in the meeting Weinstein reached his hand under the desk and put it under Thompson’s skirt. Later footage shows Thompson re-adjusting the angle of her laptop so that she and Weinstein would remain on camera even as he beckoned her to a different part of the room.
At the end of the footage, Weinstein invites Thompson for a drink a few hours later at the Tribeca Grand Hotel (now called The Roxy). Thompson says that she accepted Weinstein’s offer in the hopes that it would help her close the business deal, and that she felt comfortable meeting Weinstein even after he touched her inappropriately because she believed it would be in a public space. Instead, she says she was asked to follow Weinstein upon arriving at the hotel to what she thought would be a conference room, but was actually his private hotel room. There, Thompson says, Weinstein raped her.
In a statement to Sky News, Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman says that the video of Thompson’s meeting with Weinstein “demonstrates that there is nothing forceful, but casual if not awkward flirting from both parties.”
You can watch the full report at Sky News.