Lauren Sivan: Roger Ailes had me sit on his lap

Remember reporter Lauren Sivan? She’s the Harvey Weinstein accuser who found herself trapped in the empty kitchen of his New York restaurant and was then forced to watch him masturbate into a potted plant. Today the Hollywood Reporter published a piece in which several of Weinstein’s accusers talk about coming forward to tell their stories. In her piece, Sivan notes that Weinstein wasn’t the only incident of sexual harassment she experienced in the business. She claims former Fox News executive Roger Ailes once told her to sit on his lap so he could feel her diaphragm:

My first job out of college was at Fox News. I thought it was normal, to feel like you had to be attractive to men to get ahead. Before I went on-air in a local market, I was a producer for eight years. I’d see it all from the production side: Female talent would show up for work and boss Roger Ailes would call down to the control room and say her skirt was too long, she’s not wearing high heels, tell her to change: “I don’t want to see flats ever again.” I would think, “It’s television — there’s an aesthetic to worry about.”

What’s not normal is when Roger made you, as on-air talent, twirl for him, to see how you look from behind. He’d be lying on his office couch, feet up. I remember he had me sit on his lap. He didn’t think I was projecting my voice properly and wanted to feel my diaphragm. I knew this was not OK. But all the women there who wanted a career walked this fine line with Roger.

That’s worlds apart from Weinstein is accused of doing but it really is amazing he could get away with something so blatant for so long. Ailes resigned in July of 2016 after former host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against him. He died in May of this year.

Other actresses who wrote about their decisions to make accusations against Harvey Weinstein include Mira Sorvino and Natasha Henstridge. Sorvino writes:

I have been an advocate for women and girl victims as UNODC goodwill ambassador against human trafficking since 2009, but it’s so much harder to come forward and be your own voice of, “Hey, I’ve been haunted for 20 years by what you did to me.” And I got away without being raped, not like so many of the other people we’ve found out about recently. But I’ve been afraid of him ever since. Every time I saw him at any public event, I plastered on this false smile, just trying to get past it, like everything is normal…

Once I decided to tell my story in print, so that other women and girls would not be victimized by Harvey Weinstein, I felt an enormous peace wash over me — that I had the courage to tell the truth about a beast, and in doing so ended his dominion of intimidation that had lasted over two decades.

Actress Natasha Henstridge said she struggled with labeling herself a victim:

I don’t like being a victim, or the idea of people thinking of me as weak. But to be a victim doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means that somebody did something bad to you. I had to come to grips with that. I spent three and a half weeks after the stories came out teetering constantly. It was like PTSD.

Meanwhile, Rose McGowan continues to scorch the earth in her #RoseArmy campaign against Weinstein. Today McGowan tweeted that Meryl Streep was a “lie” and also went after her former co-star Alyssa Milano for sympathizing with Weinstein’s estranged wife. “Alyssa, maybe you and Georgina can call up Camille Cosby,” McGowan said on Twitter, referring to the wife of accused rapist Bill Cosby.