She was sixteen years old and alone with Harvey Weinstein when she realized how he saw her: “As if he was hunting prey.”
Weinstein, the girl feared, “was determined to claim her as his prize.”
She thought the assault would end when she finally escaped his apartment. But, as she claims in the lawsuit in which she is identified only as Jane Doe, her torment at the hands of Weinstein was only beginning. For almost a decade, she claims, Weinstein continued to sexually harass and emotionally abuse her, and used his power in the industry to thwart her professional advancement as an actress.
This week, she became the tenth woman to join one of the class action lawsuits against Weinstein. Jane Doe is part of the suit first filed by six women in December 2017 in New York federal court which targets not just Weinstein but the complete “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise”: The Weinstein Company, Harvey’s brother Bob Weinstein, and a number of other former Weinstein company board members. Charges include racketeering, civil battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
All of these women say they Weinstein assaulted them while they were trying to audition for him, pitch him projects, or work with him at Miramax or TWC — that he twisted professional encounters into opportunities for abuse and humiliation.
‘Terrified’ and ‘completely alone’ with Harvey Weinstein
Jane Doe alleges that, when she was a minor, a virgin, and new to the United States — a model from Poland, she met Weinstein at an event with her modeling agency, Next — Weinstein tricked her into meeting him at what she was told would be a business lunch and proceeded to sexually assault her.
Many elements of her experience, as described in her lawsuit, will sound familiar to anyone who has been listening to the stories of women who say Weinstein violated them.
She’d arrived in the U.S. “with dreams of becom[ing] an actress.” Upon learning this, Weinstein gave her his card and told him to call her so they could have lunch to “discuss her future.”
A few days later, Weinstein called Jane Doe and told her he and his driver would pick her up for lunch for, as Jane Doe understood it, “business purposes.” During this car ride, she told Weinstein she was 16 and from Poland. But, the lawsuit alleges, “instead of taking them to a restaurant, Weinstein’s driver dropped the two at Weinstein’s Soho apartment.”
The elevator opened directly into Weinstein’s apartment, the lawsuit reads, and at that point, Jane Doe realized she was “completely alone” with Weinstein. At that point, “Weinstein wasted no time in aggressively and threateningly demanding sex.”
“He told her that if she want to be an actress, she would have to be comfortable doing whatever the director told her to do—including losing her inhibitions and getting naked,” the lawsuit reads. “He then instructed Jane Doe to take off her clothes.”
She screamed and tried to leave, her lawsuit asserts, and Weinstein met her protests with “anger.” Throughout the assault, Jane Doe “berated herself.”
“Weinstein made clear that, by refusing his sexual demands, Jane Doe was giving up her opportunity to make it in Hollywood,” the lawsuit reads.
Years of harassment from ‘the only person who could help her become an actor’
She did eventually escape his apartment, she says, but she did not escape Harvey Weinstein. He followed up this incident with calls and texts, “us[ing] each opportunity to make sure that she understood that he was the only person who could help her become an actress.” She refused to attend meetings his Miramax assistant tried to arrange.
In an effort to get him to “leave her alone,” Jane Doe told Weinstein — when he called her again a few years after they met — that she was in a relationship with a wealthy man. “Upon learning this information, he became possessive and repeatedly chastised Jane Doe for being ‘unavailable’ for his sexual demands.”
Her lawsuit alleges that Weinstein then came to the Four Seasons, where she was living, and tried to get into her room; security would not let him in. The harassment continued, she claims, for years:
Weinstein continuously contacted Jane Doe during 2004-2005, often making verbal sexual advances and emphasizing that he held the keys to Hollywood… Wanting to avoid his wrath, and still wanting to become an actor, Jane Doe became well versed in the art of letting Weinstein down gently.
In 2004, Weinstein offered her a role as an extra in The Nanny Diaries but told her she would have to be “very good to him” in exchange for the part. She took the role “but was determined to avoid giving him sexual favors in return,” though everyone she met on set seemed to have gotten the message that she was owed “special treatment” due to her assumed sexual relationship with Weinstein.
She later asked Weinstein to provide her a letter of recommendation for acting school; he gave her a letter from Kelly Carmichael, the Weinstein Company’s senior vice president of production — and then his harassment increased, according to the lawsuit.
Weinstein continued his efforts to keep Jane Doe under his control. He constantly reminded her how much he had done for her, always emphasizing that he was the only person who could help her become an actor.
During a final meeting with him when she was 23 years old, at which Jane Doe wanted to give her acting career one last attempt, what Jane Doe hoped would be a professional encounter once again devolved into a sexual one.
Jane Doe wound up signing with modeling agency Marilyn, as Weinstein demanded, where she says her presence on their talent roster was viewed as “a mere favor” to Weinstein and not taken seriously on her own merits. Her acting career never materialized.
What’s next for Weinstein
Weinstein’s civil lawyer declined to comment on this latest accusation, Page Six reports, but Weinstein’s criminal lawyer, Ben Brafman, issued a denial.
“This claim is preposterous,” said Brafman. “Like so many other women in this case who have already been exposed as liars, this latest completely uncorroborated allegation that is almost 20 years old will also be shown to be patently false.”
Weinstein was arrested, charged with rape, and released on $1 million bail back in May. He is pleading not guilty to all charges, one of which was recently dropped. (He still faces five.) In addition to the lawsuit Jane Doe joined in New York, Weinstein and the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” face a class action lawsuit in Los Angeles. Weinstein is also being sued for sex trafficking by actress Kadian Noble; a judge recently ruled that Weinstein’s “casting couch” abuses constitute a commercial sex act.