French actress Lea Seydoux joins a growing list of women who say Harvey Weinstein tried to initiate an unwanted sexual encounter with her. Writing in the Guardian she says Weinstein demanded to meet her for drinks after a fashion show. She says he kept looking her over “as if I was a piece of meat.” She was invited up to his room and went. After a female assistant was dismissed, Weinstein literally pounced:
We were talking on the sofa when he suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me. I had to defend myself. He’s big and fat, so I had to be forceful to resist him. I left his room, thoroughly disgusted. I wasn’t afraid of him, though. Because I knew what kind of man he was all along.
Seydoux says she saw Weinstein making similar moves on a young actress at a subsequent event. “That’s the most disgusting thing,” she writes, “Everyone knew what Harvey was up to and no one did anything. It’s unbelievable that he’s been able to act like this for decades and still keep his career.”
There has been a lot of speculation in the past couple days about whether the fallout from this will be limited to Harvey Weinstein or could spark a chain reaction that takes down other big names in Hollywood. We saw an indication yesterday, surprisingly from Terry Crews, that the scandal might be expanding. That has continued today with a story about Ben Affleck gaining traction. But Lea Seydoux suggests there are many more Weinsteins out there. Without naming names, she says she’s encountered similar behavior from several of her previous directors:
The first time a director made an inappropriate comment to me, I was in my mid-20s. He was a director I really liked and respected. We were alone and he said to me: “I wish I could have sex with you, I wish I could f**k you.”
He said it in a way that was half joking and half serious. I was very angry. I was trying to do my job and he made me very uncomfortable. He has slept with all of the actresses he filmed.
Another director I worked with would film very long sex scenes that lasted days. He kept watching us, replaying the scenes over and over again in a kind of stupor. It was very gross.
Yet another director tried to kiss me. Like Weinstein, I had to physically push him away, too.
She concludes her piece saying, “This industry is based on desirable actresses.” That’s certainly true. There’s a reason so many of the woman around Weinstein were world famous stars and it’s not solely because they could act. In fact, there’s a reason that the pipeline for Hollywood talent often comes from professional modeling agencies.
There has always been a degree of fantasy, for both men and women, in the films Hollywood produces. That was true of Clara Bow, the “it girl” in the 1920s and it was also true of Rudolph Valentino, the original “Latin Lover.” In every decade since there have been actors and actresses who are as famous for their good looks and sex appeal as they are for their talent. The situation might be exploited by the moguls but it’s created by popular demand. I don’t think that’s likely to change anytime soon, if ever.
So I’m not sure how you keep the creeps and cads out of Hollywood. So long as it exists, wherever it exists, it will always hold a special appeal to men like Harvey Weinstein, more so I think than other lines of work. What can change, and maybe we’re starting to see it change this week, is the code of silence that allows the creeps to get away with their bad behavior for so long.