A new expose about Harvey Weinstein reveals — among 13 different women’s accounts of alleged sexual harassment and assault or rape the now-disgraced Hollywood producer’s hands — that the mogul allegedly forcibly performed oral sex on Italian actress Asia Argento two decades ago.
In the New Yorker piece by Ronan Farrow, Argento — who now dates Anthony Bourdain — claims the sexual assault occurred when she worked with Weinstein in the late ’90s. At the time, Weinstein was still at Miramax, which was distributing her film, B. Monkey.
The actress and filmmaker claims in the article that in 1997, a producer that worked for Weinstein invited her to what she was told was a Miramax party at a hotel in France. When she arrived, however, there was no one allegedly there except for Weinstein — in a hotel room.
Argento claimed she was left alone with Weinstein, who at first praised her work before leaving the room and returning in a bathrobe. “He asks me to give a massage. I was, like, ‘Look man, I am no f—–g fool,’ ” Argento said. “But, looking back, I am a f—–g fool. And I am still trying to come to grips with what happened.”
Reluctantly, Argento said that she agreed to give the producer a massage. After, she said he allegedly pulled her skirt up, and forced her legs apart before performing oral sex on her while she asked him, repeatedly, to stop. Argento said she was “terrified” of Weinstein, adding, “It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.”
“I was not willing,” she said. “I said, ‘No, no, no.’ . . . It’s twisted. A big fat man wanting to eat you. It’s a scary fairy tale.” After, Argento said she told Weinstein, “I am not a whore” — at which, she claimed, he laughed.
Her silence was out of fear and self-loathing, said Argento. “The thing with being a victim is I felt responsible. Because if I were a strong woman, I would have kicked him in the balls and run away. But I didn’t. And so I felt responsible.”
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And Weinstein stayed in touch — they even became friends, with the mogul introducing Argento to his mother. “He made it sound like he was my friend and he really appreciated me,” she shared, admitting to later consensual sexual relations with the producer in the five years that followed the incident. At one point, she also revealed, Weinstein helped her pay for a nanny while she was a single mother.
As least once though — around the release of B. Monkey — Argento claimed the interaction happened because she felt she “had to,” saying that she believed Weinstein would ruin her career if she didn’t agree to his advances.
“Just his body, his presence, his face, bring me back to the little girl that I was when I was twenty-one,” she said. “When I see him, it makes me feel little and stupid and weak,” Argento explained, adding, “After the rape, he won.”
Upon the New Yorker piece’s publication on Tuesday, Bourdain tweeted his support for Argento, writing, “I am proud and honored to know you. You just did the hardest thing in the world.”
The Weinstein sexual harassment scandal was first revealed by The New York Times. Eight women, including actress Ashley Judd, came forward in the NYT story to accuse the film mogul of sexual misconduct. He was subsequently fired from his company as numerous Hollywood stars have spoken out against him.
Thirteen more women — including Argento — level allegations of abuse and assault against Weinstein in Farrow’s story. “Three women — among them [actress Asia] Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans — told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex,” wrote Farrow.
Actresses Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette also told Farrow that after rejecting Weinstein’s unwanted advances, they were removed from or kept from being hired for projects.
In response to the lengthy allegations issued against Weinstein in the piece, a spokesperson for Weinstein said, “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. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
The New Yorker even obtained an audio recording captured by the NYPD during a 2015 sting operation, during which Weinstein can be heard telling a model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez that he allegedly touched her breast without consent because it’s what he’s “used to.”