Melissa Thompson, one of the three women who filed a class action lawsuit in June accusing Harvey Weinstein of unwanted sexual conduct in several forms, has released video footage she filmed of an encounter she had with Weinstein hours before he allegedly raped her.
Sky News has broadcast excerpts of the footage Thompson reportedly recorded in 2011, as well as a recent interview with her to contextualize the encounter. She said she met with the now-disgraced mogul in the office of the Weinstein Company to pitch him a video platform her start-up company was offering. She also said she recorded the meeting as part of the demo. She was 28 at the time, and reportedly had met Weinstein one other time before the captured meeting.
The footage features Weinstein entering the room alone telling someone nearby, “Don’t interrupt.” After closing the door, a click is heard, indicating it was locked according to Sky. When Thompson attempts to shake his hand upon greeting, Weinstein moves it to the side and they embrace. He rubs up and down her back, murmuring, “That’s nice.”
Once they have sat down, Weinstein asks her, “So am I allowed to flirt with you?” “Um, we’ll see. A little bit,” Thompson responds.
Thompson alleges Weinstein put his hand “up under the table up my dress” (though this is out of the camera’s scope). On camera, he is seen stroking her arm repeatedly. At one point she jokes, “Data’s so hot, right?” “It is hot,” Weinstein answers. “You’re hot. Let me have a little bit of you, give it to me. It’s okay? Would you like to do it some more?”
“A little bit,” Thompson responds.
“At some point, his whole affect changed and he looked like a predator. His eyes became dark,” she recalled to Sky.
Asked what she would say to those who’d characterize this as mutual flirting, Thompson explained, “It was more tricky than I think it’s possible to judge from looking at it. I worked on Wall Street before I went to business school and I worked in an environment that was heavily male dominated. I thought I could handle it. I had never met anyone that I couldn’t handle until Harvey Weinstein.”
At one point, Thompson turns the computer to capture the side of the room that connects to the kitchen, after Weinsten beckons her there. “I knew I was losing the ability to control the situation and keep it professional,” she said of her decision to make sure they remained on camera. “I had entered that fight-or-flight mode and I was scared of him.”
On camera, he asks if she would meet him later for a drink at the Tribeca Grand. Thompson agrees. She told Sky his request to meet in the lobby of the hotel “felt much safer than being alone with him in his office.” She said when she arrived, he led her up to his room where he raped her.
“We don’t have to live with being raped when we think we’re going to a business meeting,” said Thompson.
Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman sent Sky a statement on the footage that refutes Thompson’s characterization of what her released footage contains. It reads:
Several respected journalists and trustworthy individuals have seen the entire video. What they shared with us is that the video, when viewed in its entirety, in context and not in select excerpts, demonstrates that there is nothing forceful, but casual - if not awkward - flirting from both parties. Anything short of that is intended to make Mr Weinstein appear inappropriate, and even exploitative. It was produced by Ms Thompson to bolster her position in a civil lawsuit seeking money. This is a further attempt to publicly disgrace Mr Weinstein for financial gain, and we will not stand for it. Facts do matter.