Over the past six days, numerous women have come forward with their stories of Harvey Weinstein using his position as Hollywood producer to sexually harass them with relentless abandon. Some of the women who have spoken out include actresses like Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino, and more, as reported by Slate.
Another Hollywood actress has been added to their number, as Boogie Nights actress Heather Graham has broken her silence about that time when Harvey Weinstein had tried to coerce her into sex in exchange for a movie role.
Graham told her story exclusively via Variety on October 10.
Heather Graham writes that in the early 2000s, Weinstein called her into his office to offer her a movie role. After presenting her with a pile of scripts, he asked her to choose which movie she’d like best. As the conversation progressed, Harvey Weinstein told her that he and his wife agreed that he could sleep with whomever he wanted when he was out of town. The 47-year-old actress writes that she walked out of the meeting feeling uncomfortable. While Weinstein didn’t explicitly ask her to sleep with him, the actress writes that “the subtext was there.”
Graham wrote that she was asked to do a follow-up meeting at Weinstein’s hotel a few weeks after their first encounter. Feeling uneasy, she contacted an actress friend and talked to her about her ordeal. That actress offered to come with her to the meeting. On her way to the producer’s hotel, her friend called to tell her she couldn’t make it, which put the actress in an uncomfortable predicament. Having decided not to push through with the meeting, she told Weinstein she “had an early morning and would have to postpone.”
“Harvey told me that my actress friend was already at his hotel and that both of them would be very disappointed if I didn’t show. I knew he was lying, so I politely and apologetically reiterated that I could no longer come by.”
That was the last time she spoke to Weinstein. After the awkward encounter, the producer never asked her to star in one of his films. Graham never opened up about her experience, at least until Ashley Judd spoke out about her own unpleasant experience with the producer a few days ago. Inspired by Judd’s bravery, Heather found the courage to speak up. But there was guilt thrown into the mix too on account of the countless women who could have been saved if she came forward sooner.
“If I had spoken up a decade ago, would I have saved countless women from the same experience I had or worse?” Graham wrote.
She then mulled over the lingering doubts that had prevented her from speaking out about her ordeal and pointed out that many women who had been sexually harassed in the workplace probably shared the same doubts.
“The question — and this is not an excuse — is what defines sexual harassment in the workplace? He didn’t explicitly offer a trade — sex for work — even though I knew that was what he was implying. And I hadn’t gone to his hotel. I know this is an inner dialogue many women have — it’s part of what’s holding so many of us back from sharing our stories. We don’t want to be attacked for reading into something that may or may not have been there. We don’t want to be looked at as weak for not being able to handle ourselves in a business run by men. We don’t want to lose work by being defined as a Difficult Woman. We don’t want to be the first or only voice in.”
Heather Graham writes that by coming forward with her story involving Harvey Weinstein, she hopes to start a dialogue that will redefine sexual harassment in the workplace and will empower women to speak out when they feel that they are being harassed.
“I hope that dialogue covers the gray areas where we ask ourselves, ‘Did what I think happen just happen?’ and that we are no longer shamed into feeling that we should grow a thicker skin, or that our story ‘isn’t good enough to count.’ I’m glad the victims are being heard, that powerful voices in the industry are speaking up to say this kind of behavior isn’t acceptable anymore, and that a predator is finally facing the consequences — it means the world is starting to change for the better.”
What are your thoughts in regards to Heather Graham’s claims about Harvey Weinstein?
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