Kate Beckinsale is the latest actress to come forward to tell a terrifying tale of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein. But the story has become all too familiar.
"I was called to meet Harvey Weinstein at the Savoy Hotel when I was 17. I assumed it would be in a conference room which was very common," Beckinsale, 44, said on Instagram on Thursday. "When I arrived reception told me to go to his room. He opened the door in his bathrobe."
"I was incredibly naive and young and it did not cross my mind that this older, unattractive man would expect me to have any sexual interest in him," she said in a caption with a throwback photo of herself at that time. "After declining alcohol and announcing that I had school in the morning I left, uneasy but unscathed."
"He had tried anything with me in that first meeting. I realized he couldn't remember if he had assaulted me or not. I had what I thought were boundaries — I said no to him professionally many times over the years — some of which ended up with him screaming at me calling me a c-nt and making threats, some of which made him laughingly tell people, 'Oh, Kate lives to say no to me.'"
A pattern has quickly developed over the past week as female celebrities have told their harrowing stories of alleged harassment, abuse and rape. The most common portrait of the victims? Young actresses first starting out in the business. The assumption is that Weinstein felt it would be easier to intimidate and coerce younger women who were still trying to launch their careers.
Cara Delevingne also came forward on Wednesday on Instagram. She said that when she first started acting Weinstein contacted her and asked her about her sexual history and if she was physically involved with the women she'd been seen out with. She described the call as "very odd and uncomfortable. ... before I hung up, he said to me that If I was gay or decided to be with a woman especially in public that I’d never get the role of a straight woman or make it as an actress in Hollywood."
A year or two later, she met Weinstein and a director in a hotel lobby to talk about a film. When the director left Weinstein started to "brag about all the actresses he had slept with and how he had made their careers and spoke about other inappropriate things of a sexual nature." He invited her to his room, but she said no.
"At that moment I felt very powerless and scared but didn’t want to act that way hoping that I was wrong about the situation. When I arrived I was relieved to find another woman in his room and thought immediately I was safe," she recalled. "He asked us to kiss and she began some sort of advances upon his direction."
Delevingne thought if she started to sing it would seem more like an audition. She soon found a way to leave the room. "He walked me to the door and stood in front of it and tried to kiss me on the lips," she remembered. "I stopped him and managed to get out of the room. I still got the part for the film and always thought that he gave it to me because of what happened. Since then I felt awful that I did the movie. I felt like I didn’t deserve the part. I was so hesitant about speaking out."
Gwyneth Paltrow and Asia Argento were also extremely young when Weinstein tried to initiate something with them. Paltrow won an Oscar for Miramax's film Shakespeare In Love when she was in her mid-20s. But before her Academy Award, she began her career in Weinstein's film Emma. It was the mid-'90s, and he was 22 at the time.
Before the film began shooting, Weinstein asked her to come to his hotel room for what he called a work meeting. But instead of discussing the film he put his hands on the young actress and suggested a massage in the bedroom.
“I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she told The New York Times. After declining, she told her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt. Pitt confronted the movie mogul, and Weinstein was furious.
He soon threatened Paltrow. "I thought he was going to fire me," she told the Times. "He screamed at me for a long time. It was brutal."
In 1997, the Italian actress Asia Argento went to a French hotel room thinking there would be a Miramax party there. But when she arrived the 21-year-old found Weinstein there alone. At first he praised her work, but he soon changed into a bathrobe and re-emerged holding lotion.
"He asks me to give a massage. I was, like, ‘Look, man, I am no fucking fool,'" Argento told The New Yorker. "But, looking back, I am a fucking fool. And I am still trying to come to grips with what happened."
Argento said "he pulled her skirt up, forced her legs apart, and performed oral sex on her as she repeatedly told him to stop. Weinstein 'terrified me, and he was so big,' she said. 'It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.'"
"I said, 'No, no, no.' ... It’s twisted. A big fat man wanting to eat you. It’s a scary fairy tale."
Many of the stories happened in the 1990s, during Miramax's heyday. And the majority involved extremely young actresses who felt even more helpless. Starting out, some of them felt this might be expected of them in the business. Others didn't know how to fend off a physically large man who was extremely intimidating.
As the stories continue to surface, Harvey Weinstein's fate isn't 100-percent clear. He will never again work at The Weinstein Company, which will soon change its name. And the Academy is considering revoking his membership. But will the movie mogul find a way to reinvigorate his career in three to five years?
Rose McGowan, who has been at the forefront of the fight on Twitter, certainly hopes not. The actress, who settled a case against Weinstein in 1997, had her Twitter account suspended yesterday after confronting Ben Affleck and others. She was furious.
"TWITTER HAS SUSPENDED ME,” the actress wrote. “THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK. BE MY VOICE.”
Do you think it was wrong of Twitter to suspend her account? Let us know your take in the comments section below.