Weinstein caresses woman before alleged rape in video
New York – A video of Harvey Weinstein caressing and propositioning a woman who accused him of rape aired on television Wednesday.
Melissa Thompson, who sued Weinstein in June, said she made the recording, shown by Sky News, while demonstrating video technology for the movie mogul-turned-#MeToo villain at his New York City office in 2011.
Weinstein is seen on the video rejecting a handshake from Thompson and then hugging her instead and rubbing her back.
He then caresses her shoulder as they sit side-by-side in front of her laptop computer during what was supposed to be a business presentation.
At one point he tells her: “Let me have a little part of you. Can you give it to me?”
After quickly agreeing to use the technology to promote his movies, Thompson said Weinstein put his hand up her dress.
The video, which only captures the two from the waist up, doesn’t show Weinstein’s hands at that point, but does show Thompson reacting with discomfort and telling Weinstein, “That’s too high. That’s too high.”
It also shows her joking about his advances, saying that “data is hot.”
Sky News aired only portions of the video. Thompson’s lawyers declined to share it with The Associated Press.
Weinstein’s lawyer said the full video “demonstrates that there is nothing forceful” and shows “casual, if not awkward, flirting from both parties.”
“Anything short of that is intended to make Mr. Weinstein appear inappropriate and even exploitative,” lawyer Ben Brafman said. “It was produced by Ms. Thompson to bolster her position in a civil lawsuit seeking money. This is a further attempt to publicly disgrace Mr. Weinstein for financial gain and we will not stand for it. Facts do matter.”
In an interview with Sky News, Thompson said Weinstein’s behavior was distracting and she struggled to stay “on script” with the product pitch. She said his affect changed from the start of the meeting, that his eyes had darkened and he “looked like a predator.”
Thompson said she later met Weinstein at a nearby hotel bar, where she said she expected to close the technology deal. She said Weinstein led her to a hotel room and raped her.
Along the way, she said, he rebuffed her attempts to fight or get away.
“If I would try to fight myself away from him, he would then move around to where he could block me in somewhere, and he’s a big individual,” Thompson told Sky News. “I constantly felt trapped, no matter where I turned.”
Weinstein has been charged in New York with sexually assaulting three women. Thompson is not among them. Brafman says the defense team has stacked up “overwhelming evidence” from email traffic and witness accounts to refute those allegations.
Weinstein is free on bail pending trial.
Thompson, who had previously worked on Wall Street, rejected suggestions that she encouraged Weinstein’s behavior.
She told Sky News she wanted to keep the conversation professional and politely pushed back at his advances while also trying to preserve the deal.
“I never met anyone that I couldn’t handle until Harvey Weinstein,” she said. “We don’t have to live with being raped when we think we’re going to a business meeting.”
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