Less than a week ago, The New York Times published a piece about the notoriously abrasive Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. Thanks to numerous firsthand accounts, the article asserted that Weinstein frequently used his position of power as a way to coerce young actresses (and assistants and reporters) into engaging in sexual activity with him. Weinstein also paid multiple women to keep quiet about the abuse.
The additional sexual harassment and assault charges made against Weinstein in the wake of the Times‘ exposé have been staggering. Over 20 women, a handful of whom are now A-list Hollywood actors, have come forward to share personal stories of Weinstein’s harassment and abuse. Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, and Rose McGowan are just a few of the women corroborating the allegations made against Weinstein.
Model and actor Cara Delevingne recently released her own statement concerning a particularly disturbing interaction with Weinstein, and the account is truly revolting — and serves as a sterling example of why women must be encouraged to share their stories and name their abusers.
Journalist Yashar Ali received Cara’s statement about her encounter with Weinstein and published it to Twitter, per Cara’s request.
According to Cara’s statement, she received a call from Weinstein early on in her acting career. Weinstein pointedly asked her about her bisexuality and whether or not she’d had sex with any of the women she had been photographed with:
It was a very odd and uncomfortable call…I answered none of his questions and hurried off the phone but 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.
The uncomfortable confrontations didn’t end there. Several years later, Cara attended a meeting in the lobby of a hotel with Weinstein and the director of an upcoming film. When the director left, Weinstein immediately turned the conversation to his sexual exploits and tried to persuade Cara to come up to his hotel room:
As soon as we were alone, he began 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 then invited me to his room. I quickly declined and asked his assistant if my car was outside. She said it wasn’t and wouldn’t be for a bit and I should go to his room. At that moment I felt very powerless and scared but didn’t want to act that way hoping I was wrong about the situation.
Cara says she was relieved to find that there was actually another woman in Weinstein’s room. However, things soon became even more frightening and coercive:
He asked us to kiss and she began some sort of advances upon his direction. I swiftly got up and asked him if he knew that I could sing. And I began to sing…I thought it would make the situation better…more professional…like an audition…I was so nervous. After singing I said again that I had to leave. He walked me to the door and stood in front of it and tried to kiss me on the lips. I stopped him and managed to get out of the room.
Cara ultimately ended up working on Weinstein’s movie, but says that she’s kept quiet about the hotel room experience up until now out of fear and guilt:
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…I didn’t want to hurt his family. I felt guilty as if I did something wrong. I was also terrified that this was sort of thing had happened to so many women I know but not one has said anything because of fear. I want women and girls to know that being harassed or abused or raped is NEVER their fault and not talking about it will actually cause more damage than speaking the truth.
Cara ends by pointing out that this abusive power dynamic is not unique to Hollywood, and that it’s important to have these difficult conversations so that we can remove these predatory men from their positions of power:
In every industry…men abuse their power using fear and get away with it. This must stop. The more we talk about it, the less power we give them. I urge you all to talk and to the people who defend these men, you are part of the problem.
Though talking about predatory behavior is always scarring and difficult, it has been incredibly important and powerful to read these women’s stories.
Weinstein was fired by his company over the weekend, and it was reported on Monday that his wife, Georgina Chapman, is leaving him.
Though Weinstein has been quick to assure media outlets that he is currently in therapy and attempting to work through his “issues,” this is ultimately not his story anymore. The women he stepped on for so long are now rising up and reclaiming the narrative, in the hopes that this sort of behavior will ultimately be stamped out of the industry.
There’s a long way to go — but we should all be prepared to listen.