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“In 1997, I was raped here by Harvey Weinstein”: Asia Argento’s powerful Cannes speech, in full

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Kayleigh Dray
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CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: Asia Argento attends the Closing Ceremony & screening of 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 19, 2018 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images)

Asia Argento delivered a scathing attack on Hollywood’s sexual predators during a speech at the Cannes Film Festival’s closing ceremony.

The list of allegations against Harvey Weinstein continues to grow steadily longer: more than 100 women have accused the disgraced Hollywood producer of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct. Thirteen of these women have accused him of rape, including Asia Argento

And now, using her platform at the Cannes Film Festival’s closing ceremony, Argento has publicly condemned her alleged rapist – and those who “covered up” his crimes – in a searing speech.

Stepping up to present the Best Actress award, Argento leaned into the microphone and told the audience: “I have a few words to say.”

Then, with Cannes jury member Ava DuVernay stood beside her in solidarity, Argento continued: “In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes. I was 21 years old.

“This festival was his hunting ground.”

Argento continued: “I want to make a prediction: Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again.

“He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that once embraced him and covered up for his crimes. Even tonight sitting among you, there are those that need to be held accountable for their conduct against women. For disgusting behaviour that has no place in this industry… no place in any industry or workplace.”

The actress finished by issuing a stark warning to these individuals, saying: “You know who you are. You do not belong in this industry. 

“But, most importantly, we know who you are, and we will not allow you to get away with it any longer.”

Argento first revealed that she had been raped by Weinstein in The New Yorker exposé about the disgraced Weinstein Company producer’s history of sexual assault.

In the piece, she described being assaulted by Weinstein as a 21-year-old after she was lured into an empty hotel room under false pretences.

“I am still trying to come to grips with what happened,” she told Farrow in the piece.

“It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare… [and] I was not willing.”

Argento also revealed that she didn’t physically fight Weinstein off, something that has prompted years of guilt.

“The thing with being a victim is I felt responsible,” she said. “Because, if I were a strong woman, I would have kicked him in the balls and run away. But I didn’t. And so I felt responsible.” 

She described the incident as a “horrible trauma” and added that, decades later, sex is still ruined for her. 

“I’ve been damaged,” she said. “Just talking to you about it, my whole body is shaking.”

Weinstein strongly denies all accusations made against him.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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