Like waves in an endlessly breaking set, two more women have come forward with stories of alleged mistreatment by disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
Both accounts—one from Romola Garai, an actor, and another from Louise Godbold, who runs a non-profit—follow the same pattern of abuse detailed by Weinstein’s other accusers, featuring a now-familiar boilerplate of Weinstein using his power to trap them in inappropriate positions he assumed they wouldn’t be able to escape.
Garai, now 35, told The Guardian that she was asked to audition for Weinstein in his London hotel room when she was 18-years-old, and that—surprise!—he answered the door wearing only a bathrobe:
“The transaction was just that I was there,” said Garai, who once she was in the hotel room with Weinstein just sat on a chair and had a brief discussion about film. “The point was that he could get a young woman to do that, that I didn’t have a choice, that it was humiliating for me and that he had the power. It was an abuse of power.”
She added that she knew the situation was off-kilter, but also that she didn’t feel she had the right to complain.
“I remember the feeling of seeing him opening the door in the dressing gown and thinking, ‘Oh god, this is a casting couch’. But I guess it’s now only as a much older woman that I understood what it meant. At the time I understood myself to be a commodity and that my value in the industry rested almost exclusively on the way I looked and I didn’t really think of myself to be any more than that.”
Garai said she came to learn that the interaction was so typical for Hollywood that she never even thought to say anything, adding that while abuses of power were common in the film industry, Weinstein was one of the industry’s most prolific perpetrators.
“It’s kind of amazing to me that this is news, it’s just so well known in the industry,” she said. “There are so many stories about him sending weird texts and harassing actresses, telling them he’ll give them a part if they come to dinner with him – that’s really really common. And it’s well known that he’s had relationships with a lot of people that he’s worked with, or have worked for him. Given how powerful he is, and given that they are always with women who are a lot younger than him, I think there is clearly an imbalance of power in those relationships.”
Louise Godbold, who co-executive directs Echo Parenting & Education, said her experience with Weinstein in the ‘90s also mirrors the alleged encounters described by others to the New York Times in its thoroughly reported piece released last Thursday. As she wrote in a blog post:
The details of what I have learned was not unique to me are out there now – the office tour that became an occasion to trap me in an empty meeting room, the begging for a massage, his hands on my shoulders as I attempted to beat a retreat… all while not wanting to alienate the most powerful man in Hollywood.
Gebold went on to write that Weinstein called their mutual acquaintance to ensure that she wouldn’t complain about his behavior. “He was her ‘silver bullet’ and even though she had not warned me about him, it was somehow my fault I found myself alone with him and he tried to take advantage of me,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, The Guardian contacted more than 20 male Weinstein-affiliated actors and directors for comment on the allegations. While dozens of women—including Meryl Street, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet—have expressed their disgust since the Times story broke, very few men have made public statements.
Of the men contacted, including Quentin Tarantino and Michael Moore, none responded.