As the allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein continue to stack up, with police investigations under way in both London and New York, Kate Beckinsale is one of the latest to say she has had disturbing experiences with the film mogul – and is calling for the industry to “stop allowing our young women to be sexual cannon fodder”.
The Underworld actor says she met Weinstein in London hotel The Savoy when she was just 17, and that he later “couldn’t remember” if he had assaulted her or not.
She also claims that her career suffered repercussions whe she “said no to him professionally” over the years.
In an Instagram post, Beckinsale said that she had assumed the initial meeting would be in a conference room, but was told to go to his hotel room.
“He opened the door in his bathrobe. I was incredibly naive and young and it did not cross my mind that this older, unattractive man would expect me to have any sexual interest in him. After declining alcohol and announcing that I had school in the morning I left, uneasy but unscathed,” she writes.
But Beckinsale reports that “a few years later he asked me if he had tried anything with me in that first meeting. I realised he couldn’t remember if he had assaulted me or not.”
The actor goes on to say that she had, in subsequent years, “said no” to him several times, which resulted in threatening behaviour and, she believes, harm to her career.
She adds that she didn’t feel supported within the film industry for standing up to him.
“I had what I thought were boundaries – I said no to him professionally many times over the years –some of which ended up with him screaming at me calling me a c**t and making threats, some of which made him laughingly tell people ‘Oh Kate lives to say no to me’.
“It speaks to the status quo in this business that I was aware that standing up for myself and saying no to things, while it did allow me to feel uncompromised in myself, undoubtedly harmed my career and was never something I felt supported by anyone other than my family.”
Following recent reports in The New York Times and The New Yorker, several women have come forward accusing Weinstein of inappropriate behaviour, abuse of power, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape, while both men and women in Hollywood have publicly denounced his alleged actions, some saying they had heard rumours while others claim they were unaware.
The scandal has resulted in stories of other TV and film stars coming to light, forcing Ben Affleck to apologise for groping a TV presenter’s breast on camera and Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa to say he was “truly sorry” for making a rape joke at a Comic Con appearance.
Weinstein has been sacked from his own company, amid calls from Rose McGowan – one of the women who came to a private settlement with the producer – for the entire board to resign.
While he denies any allegations of non-consensual sex or “acts of retaliation” against people who refused any alleged advances, his spokesperson has said that he “has begun counselling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path.”
In a previous statement, he said: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it.
“Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”
However many, such as Emma Thompson, believe being willing to attempt counselling is not enough.
“I don’t think you can describe him as a sex addict,” she said during an appearance on Newsnight.
“He’s a predator. He’s an actual predator, he’s dangerous and what he’s done and what he’s doing is criminal.”
Beckinsale ended her post by calling for a shift in the film industry overall.
“I would like to applaud the women who have come forward , and to pledge that we can from this create a new paradigm where producers, managers, executives and assistants and everyone who has in the past shrugged and said ‘Well, that’s just Harvey /Mr X/insert name here’ will realise that we in numbers can affect real change.”
She continues: “For every moment like this there have been thousands where a vulnerable person has confided outrageous unprofessional behaviour and found they have no recourse, due to an atmosphere of fear that it seems almost everyone has been living in. I had a male friend who, based on my experience, warned a young actress who said she was going to dinner with Harvey to be careful. He received a phone call the next day saying he would never work in another Miramax film; the girl was already sleeping with Harvey and had told him that my friend had warned her off.
“Let's stop allowing our young women to be sexual cannon fodder, and let’s remember that Harvey is an emblem of a system that is sick, and that we have work to do.”
Image: Rex Features