Nyong'o said she felt "uncomfortable" not sharing her own experience

By Jodi Guglielmi
January 25, 2018 01:29 PM

Lupita Nyong’o is opening up about her decision to speak out against Harvey Weinstein.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar winner said she felt “uncomfortable” not sharing her own alleged experience with the disgraced movie mogul after so many women had come forward accusing him of sexual harassment.

“I felt uncomfortable in my silence, and I wanted to liberate myself from it and contribute to the discussion,” she said. “That was just what I felt I needed to do, quite viscerally. I couldn’t sleep. I needed to get it out.”

In October, Nyong’o penned an emotional op-ed published in The New York Times, in which she detailed a series of alleged uncomfortable encounters with the disgraced mogul dating back to her days at the Yale School of Drama.

Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

In the piece, Nyong’o said Weinstein asked her to give him a massage after taking her back to his house following a lunch meeting. Once she arrived and met his children, the movie mogul summoned her to his bedroom, she said.

“Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage,” she wrote. “I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe. I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.”

Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty;Alexander Koerner/Getty

Nyong’o wrote that she rationalized the situation because at her drama school, it was not unusual for actors to give each other massages as a technique “to understand the connection between body, mind and emotion.”

She said she then began to rub his back in order to “buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation.” But, she wrote, “Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that.”

In a statement to PEOPLE, a spokesperson for Weinstein said the movie mogul remembered these encounters: “Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry. Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show Eclipsed.”

The Oscar-winning producer has been accused of sexual misconduct by over 60 women since The New York Times and The New Yorker documented decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault involving a number of women in detailed articles in October.

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.”