Harvey Weinstein is pushing back against Lupita Nyong'o's account in a New York Times op-ed piece describing encounters with the producer that made her feel "unsafe."
Nyong'o is the latestto accuse Weinstein of inappropriate behavior. In an opinion piece for the New York Times, the Oscar winner said that the now-disgraced Hollywood producer propositioned her twice and maneuvered her into a bedroom when she was still a graduate student at Yale.
A spokesperson for Weinstein said in a statement, "Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry." The statement also pointed out that Nyong'o maintained contact with Weinstein: "Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show 'Eclipsed.'"
Nyong'o's article describes a lunch she had with Weinstein when he repeatedly insisted she drink vodka and called her "stubborn" when she refused. She then writes about a time when he invited her to his home in Westport, Connecticut, to screen a movie, but then took her into his bedroom and asked her if he could give her a massage.
"I felt unsafe. I panicked a little," she writes.
Nyong'o said she offered to massage him instead, saying, "It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times." Nyong'o wrote that before long, Weinstein said he was going to take off his pants and Nyong'o told him not to.
"He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that," she wrote." 'If we're not going to watch the film, I really should head back to school,' I said."
Nyong'o wrote that she tried to brush off the incident, and she told herself, "I reasoned that it had been inappropriate and uncalled-for, but not overtly sexual" and decided it was simply an "awkward moment."
She said that a few months later, he invited her to a staged reading of his show "Finding Neverland" and then a screening of "W.E." After the screening, Nyong'o met Weinstein at the Tribeca Grill, where his assistant quickly got up and left them alone.
She wrote: "Before the starters arrived, he announced, 'Let's cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal.' 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."