Harvey Weinstein Accused of Raping Employee in the '70s as More Women Come Forward
“This has haunted me my entire life,” Weinstein's former employee, Exiner d’Amore told The New York Times
Hope Exiner d’Amore and three other women — Ashley Matthau, Lacey Dorn and Cynthia Burr — spoke with The New York Times about their previously unreported experiences with Weinstein, adding their names to the growing number of accusers and widening the timeframe of his alleged abuse.
“This has haunted me my entire life,” Exiner d’Amore, now 62, told the paper.
The Oscar-winning producer has been accused of sexual misconduct by over 50 women since The New York Times and The New Yorker documented decades of alleged abuse in detailed articles earlier this month.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
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Hope Exiner d’Amore
When she first met Weinstein in the ’70s, he was still working as a concert promoter in Buffalo, she told the Times. They were both in their 20s at the time, and after working for him at his promotion company, Harvey and Corky Productions, for just a few weeks, Exiner d’Amore said Weinstein invited her on a trip to New York City to meet people in the film industry.
When they arrived at their hotel, Weinstein allegedly told her that there had been a mistake with their reservation and they would have to share a room.
“I gave him a look like that was ridiculous,” she remembered. Ultimately she agreed to the rooming situation, assuming it was harmless.
But when she got into bed later that night, she said Weinstein got in with her, naked. “I told him no. I kept pushing him away. He just wouldn’t listen,” she said. “He just forced himself on me.”
Exiner d’Amore claimed Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex and intercourse on her.
While she did not tell her boyfriend at the time because she felt ashamed, she said she did tell neighbors that something bad had happened to her on the trip. According to the Times, those neighbors still remember “her being extremely upset and crying when she told them about Mr. Weinstein and the hotel room.”
After the alleged incident, Exiner d’Amore said Weinstein continued inviting her out, even offering her credit cards to use for shopping sprees. She said she declined his offers and was eventually fired.
“It was a relief,” she said. “I hated being there.”
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Burr also claimed Weinstein assaulted her in the late ’70s, when she was a young actress in her early 20s and he was a “real up-and-comer” promoter in his mid-20s.
She said she met Weinstein at an old building in New York City, and that after attempting to kiss her in an elevator, he forced her to perform oral sex on him in a hallway.
“It was just him and me alone,” she said. “I was fearful I didn’t have the wherewithal to get away.”
She remembered feeling ashamed and powerless after the alleged assault. “The way he forced me made me feel really bad about myself,” she said. “What are you going to do when you are a girl just trying to make it as an actress? Nobody would have believed me.”
A close friend, Lee Chavez, told the Times that Burr had told him about the alleged attack at the time.
Now 62, Burr went on to appear in films like Scarface, the first two Lethal Weapon films and in other soap operas and television shows.
“I’m really sad for everybody, but I’m really glad it’s out in the open,” Burr said about other women coming forward. “I finally felt like I had a voice.”
The dancer reportedly first met Weinstein in 2004 in Puerto Rico while she was performing in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. From the moment he saw her, Matthau said the producer began pursuing a romantic relationship, despite her telling him that she was engaged.
She became so concerned about his advances, she said she told production members that she was afraid of him, but no one offered help.
Soon afterward, Weinstein told her to get into his car. “‘Don’t worry,’” Matthau, now 36, said he told her. “‘Nothing is going to happen. We’re just going to discuss future projects.’ ”
Weinstein then allegedly brought her to his hotel room, where she claimed he began making sexual advances. She told the Times Weinstein pushed her onto the bed and fondled her breasts before climbing on top of her, stripping and masturbating on top of her.
“I kept telling him, ‘Stop, I’m engaged,’ but he kept saying: ‘It’s just a little cuddling. It’s not a problem. It’s not like we’re having sex,'” she said.
Days later, Matthau said she told her fiancé what had happened, and with his encouragement, she retained a lawyer, John S. West, a partner in Gloria Allred’s law firm. (Allred now represents several other Weinstein accusers).
But when she and her lawyer met with Weinstein’s legal team, she said the producer’s lawyers threatened to paint her as sexually promiscuous if she went public. “‘We’ll drag you through the mud by your hair,’” she said Weinstein’s lawyer told her. That attorney, Daniel M. Petrocelli, reportedly declined the Times‘ request for comment.
Fearing retribution, Matthau said she agreed to a $100,000 settlement in exchange for signing a confidentiality agreement. She said she was willing to break the agreement even if it might cost her legally. “I want to do my part to help bring this to light so it doesn’t happen with other people in Hollywood or anywhere else,” she reportedly said in an interview.
Dorn, a documentarian, reportedly met Weinstein at a New York Film Festival party in 2011 shortly after she graduated from Stanford University.
A few weeks later, she said she saw him again at a Halloween party, where he asked for her email, saying he wanted to talk about her career over lunch.
On her way out of the party, Dorn said Weinstein “grabbed between her legs, touching her buttocks and crotch through her clothes.”
“I was so naïve, I didn’t say anything. And he didn’t say anything either,” she said. “I just got out of the party as fast as possible.”
Dorn said she never spoke to Weinstein again.