Weinstein’s hotel room ‘ambush’ left writer terrified and desperate to escape
Sunday - 08/10/2017 22:34
WRITER Liza Campbell says Harvey Weinstein summoned her to his hotel room to talk about work — but soon left her terrified and clamouring for an escape route.
YET another woman has come forward with allegations about inappropriate behaviour from disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
British artist and writer Liza Campbell writes about how a fledgling working relationship with Weinstein took a terrifying turn in a first-person piece for the Sunday Times.
Having known the power player when he was just starting out as a producer, Campbell says she got a call from Weinstein out of the blue in 1995, when she was newly divorced and looking for work and he had climbed the Hollywood ladder.
She said there had never been any “flirting or chemistry” between them — “the man is Olympically ugly.”
Weinstein offered her some work as a freelance script-reader with his company, Miramax. She gratefully accepted, working on scripts for films like The Usual Suspects and Shakespeare in Love before the work dried up.
In another phone call a few months later, Campbell mentioned to Weinstein that the freelance work had stopped. He summoned her to his hotel room — three interconnected suites at the Savoy — to discuss the matter.
As she entered, Campbell writes, the two or three assistants working with Weinstein vanished. Soon, he too had disappeared, leaving to go to the bathroom — she assumed it was to use the toilet.
Then she heard the sound of taps running and an invitation from Weinstein to join her for a champagne in the bath.
At first, Campbell writes, she was furious — she recalls yelling back, “If you come back into this room with no clothes on I’m going to f****** lose my temper.”
But then, fear set in. Weinstein is “huge, a pocked bullock,” and she wanted to escape. It took trying three doors before Campbell could get to an unlocked exit and flee the suite.
Days later, as the anger subsided, she says she felt “the crushing realisation that there never was a job; only a hidden hook.”
“When you consider the almost identical stories coming out about him now, it seems likely to me that he has been at it for more than 20 years,” she writes.
Weinstein has been rocked by a devastating New York Times report documenting decades of legal settlements stemming from sexual harassment allegations levelled by former employees and associates, as well as accusations of improper sexual advances from actor Ashley Judd.
Campbell is one of several women to come forward with fresh allegations since the original New York Times report was published last week.
Over the weekend, Lauren Sivan, a former news anchor, told The Huffington Post that Weinstein trapped her in an empty restaurant and tried to kiss her. When she refused, she said Weinstein masturbated in front of her.
He has struggled with forming a coherent response, veering from contrition to combativeness, in the face of the tidal wave of allegations.
An initial statement to the Times acknowledged past mistakes, while pledging to reform himself.
Shortly after, Weinstein’s lawyer Charles Harder said he was preparing to sue the paper, accusing it of making “false and defamatory statements.”