Another actress has come forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. French star Florence Darel says the movie mogul relentlessly pursued her in the mid ’90s and then propositioned her in a hotel room while his wife at the time, Eve Chilton, was in the room next door.
“I was in shock. I was in shock,” Darel, 49, tells PEOPLE about the alleged incident. “I was astonished. When you have someone so physically disgusting in front of you, continuing and continuing as though this was all perfectly normal… What happened to me may not be illegal but it was inappropriate. Very inappropriate.”
The actress’ career was on the rise when she says she met Weinstein. At the time of the alleged encounter, Darel was 26, fresh off a César nomination for Most Promising Actress for her performance alongside Gerard Depardieu in Uranus.
Weinstein, meanwhile, had just bought a small film she starred in: 1993’s Fausto. At the time, the producer was married to Chilton, his spouse from 1987–2004.
As Darel claimed to Le Parisien Thursday, after meeting Weinstein at the film’s New York City launch in 1994, he began pursuing her — calling her repeatedly and asking to meet him. Suspecting his intentions, Darel said she pretended to be dating her costar to get him to back off.
That didn’t stop Weinstein though, Darel alleged. In 1995, she said she received a call from the producer at her parents house in France. He asked her to meet him at his suite at The Ritz in Paris, she claimed. Darel told Le Parisien that her agent pressured her into going, telling her, “You can’t afford not to go.”
Their encounter started off formal, said Darel, with Weinstein urging the actress to collaborate on a film.
Things quickly took a turn though, according to Darel. After yelling there was no jacuzzi in his room, Darel claimed Weinstein began to make moves on her — seemingly unbothered by the fact that his wife was next door.
“He started to tell me that he found me very attractive and wanted to have relations with me,” Darel told Le Parisien. “I told him I was very in love with my companion. He replied that didn’t bother him at all and offered to have me be his mistress a few days a year. That way we could continue to work together. Basically, it was ‘If you want to continue in America, you have to go through me.’ “
Darel said she quickly left, telling Weinstein, “I’m sorry, I have to leave.”
Reflecting back on the incident, Darel tells PEOPLE she opened up to a few people around her about what had allegedly happened — including her agent and boyfriend — but mostly stayed quiet.
“What could I do ? Could I go to the police and say, ‘This disgusting man made me an indecent proposal in his hotel room at The Ritz?’ They would have laughed at me. Even when you are raped it is difficult to prove and society in many cases, puts the burden of proof on women,” she says.
While Darel says Weinstein never made additional advances on her, she notes the alleged incident never left her mind.
“I couldn’t forget this story,” she tells PEOPLE. “Every time I saw Harvey Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival, it came back to me. I couldn’t avoid this and I would see him and he would treat me as though it hadn’t happened. As though he had moved on and put me aside.”
“What makes me angry is that this is only coming out now,” she adds. “Why? Why if everyone knew it, is it only coming out now?,” Darel said. “People can’t be silent. It is difficult for victims to talk, but they have to speak out or this will not stop.”
“This is not about me really. It’s more a general problem across society,” the actress says. “It is about powerful men who assume that their power can attain them anything. This is a product of many centuries, where men thought that for a woman to get what she wants, she must pay. It’s a societal problem which has to be changed.
“I’m not the point. This is behavior which men have to stop in themselves and not just in the movie business.”
Darel joins a chorus of women who have detailed similar accounts about the movie executive including Cara Delevingne, Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and fellow French actress Léa Seydoux (of Inglourious Basterds fame), who wrote a piece in The Guardian Wednesday detailing an alleged hotel room encounter with Weinstein.
In a bombshell New York Times report last week, eight women spoke out against Weinstein, accusing him of inappropriate behavior. The paper also reported that Weinstein reached private settlements with eight women, including actress Rose McGowan.
Following the initial report, Weinstein said in a statement that he was working with therapists and planned to “deal with this issue head-on.” He has since been fired from his powerhouse studio, The Weinstein Company, and his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, has announced she’s leaving him.
“My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions. I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time,” Chapman said in a statement to PEOPLE.
On Tuesday, Paltrow and Jolie added their own accounts of alleged mistreatment. Paltrow told the NYT that Weinstein sexually harassed her in a hotel room when she was 22. The encounter allegedly ended with Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting a massage.
Jolie also told the outlet that she had a “bad experience” with Weinstein in a hotel room during the release of Playing by Heart in the late ’90s.
Also on Tuesday, the The New Yorker revealed — among 13 different women’s accounts of alleged sexual harassment, assault or rape — that the mogul allegedly forcibly performed oral sex on Italian actress Asia Argento two decades ago. Actresses Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette also claimed that after rejecting Weinstein’s unwanted advances, they were removed from or kept from being hired for projects.
In response to the lengthy allegations made against Weinstein in the New Yorker piece, a spokesperson for Weinstein said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
Weinstein spoke to cameras on Wednesday while leaving his daughter’s Los Angeles house, saying he was “not doing okay” and hoping for a “second chance” after amid the allegations.
A source confirmed to PEOPLE that the 65-year-old had flown out of Los Angeles to enter a residential treatment facility.
- With reporting by Dave Quinn