Harvey Weinstein Accuser Releases Video of Producer Groping Her Hours Before Alleged Rape
New footage shows disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein hugging, touching and making sexually suggestive comments to one of his accusers
New footage shows disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein hugging, touching and making sexually suggestive comments to one of his accusers.
Melissa Thompson, who previously claimed she had video evidence of Weinstein harassing her during a business meeting, released a tape to Sky News on Wednesday in which the mogul can be seen making the shocking comments.
The incident took place as Thompson was pitching her tech company’s video platform to Weinstein during a meeting in September 2011. As part of her pitch, she told Sky News she recorded the meeting — just hours before Weinstein allegedly raped her in his hotel room.
In the video, Weinstein tells his staff “don’t interrupt, don’t interrupt” as he enters the room. Thompson stands and holds out her hand for a handshake but Weinstein waves it away and goes in for a hug instead.
The 66-year-old rubs his hands up and down Thompson’s back as he says, “That’s nice. Let’s keep it up. It’s not bad.”
Weinstein sits down and asks, “Am I allowed to flirt with you?” to which Thompson replies, “Um, we’ll see, a little bit.”
His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said in a statement to PEOPLE the video showed “flirting from both parties.”
“Several respected journalists and trustworthy individuals have seen the entire video, as Ms. Thompson has been trying to promote it to for several months,” the statement read. “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.”
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Brafman continued, “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. Any suggestion of sexual misconduct is false. This is a further attempt to publicly disgrace Mr. Weinstein for financial gain, and we will not stand for it. Facts do matter.”
In the video, Weinstein appeared to show interest in Thompson’s pitch, which she claimed to Sky News was his attempt “to move me into that zone of comfortable, then uncomfortable and confused, and vulnerable, and recognizing that he’s powerful and I’m not and that I need this deal from him and he has the power to give it to me.”
She continued, “I think [he] was playing a cat-and-mouse game from the very beginning to see how far he could push me, and what my reactions might be so that he could gauge how he would play with; where my levers were, what were my vulnerabilities.”
In the video, Thompson tells Weinstein, “Data’s so hot, right?”
Weinstein says, “It is hot. You’re hot.”
“Let me have a little part of you. Give it to me. It’s okay, would you like to do it some more?” he tells her.
Weinstein’s arm is seen moving as Thompson says, “A little high, a little high, that’s a little high, that’s a little high.”
As she attempts to bring the focus back to the meeting, Weinstein’s hand is seen rubbing her arm.
Thompson told Sky News she wasn’t “purposely” encouraging him, saying, “I think there was a combination of confidence and naivety that led me to this dynamic that we see now, watching back.”
“At first I tried to volley a little bit with him. If he made a comment, I would try to catch it and return it in a way that felt a little safer than the way he threw it at me,” she said. “I was trying to save face a bit, trying to manage the situation. I didn’t want to blow the meeting.”
In the video, Weinstein invited Thompson to join him at the lobby of his hotel. She told the outlet she believed the new meeting would be to close the deal as it “wasn’t at 10 pm.”
“It wasn’t an invitation to go to his hotel room, it was an invitation to come to a hotel lobby that was within blocks of the office and so that to me felt much safer than being alone with him in his office,” Thompson said.
When she arrived, Weinstein allegedly led her to his hotel room where she claims he raped her.
“If I would try to fight myself away from him, he would then move around to a place where he could block me in,” Thompson claimed. “I constantly felt trapped, no matter where I turned. He cornered me, over and over again.”
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In June 2018, Thompson became a part of a class action lawsuit against Weinstein in which she claimed the producer began to harass and fondle her.
In the suit, she alleges Weinstein “reached down and began caressing her leg and moving his hand under her dress,” causing Thompson to feel “panicked,” according to the complaint obtained by PEOPLE at the time.
Thompson claimed in the complaint he tried and failed to force her to perform oral sex on him and later pushed her on the bed, raped her and then acted as if nothing had happened.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement at the time 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.”
He was arrested on May 25 on those same counts and quickly released on bail. He is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 22 for a hearing on motions in his case, according to N.Y.C. prosecutors.