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British actress Lysette Anthony voiced her support Sunday for fellow Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento.
“I’m going to be flayed alive for speaking out, but I cannot stand by while Asia Argento is hurled under a bus,” Anthony said in an interview in The Sunday Times (UK). “She has been extraordinarily courageous standing up to Weinstein. And now she’s being punished. She’s being vilified and abused.”
Argento, who was one of the first women to accuse disgraced movie producer Weinstein of rape, is currently facing accusations that she paid off former child actor Jimmy Bennett $380,000 for a sexual assault while he was 17 and she was 37 in California, where the age of consent is 18. She has denied the assault.
Anthony, currently starring on the British soap opera Hollyoaks, was the first actress in the U.K. to accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape. She said she was attacked after he showed up at her home during an incident in the late 1980s.
“When Asia told her story it was absolutely akin to mine and I cannot in good conscience let her carry the burden,” said Lysette, noting that many of Weinstein’s victims have been publicly assailed after coming forward. “It’s shaming and humiliating to stand up and say that man abused, raped and humiliated me and seriously damaged my career for many years.”
Lysette noted Ronan Farrow’s reporting of Weinstein hiring the Israeli intelligence firm Black Cube and ex-Mossad agents to try and prevent the original stories that accused him of assault from coming out. Anthony claims she has been dealing with her own “little spy,” someone posing as a journalist who she suspects was fishing for information, as the “budget version,” compared to who she believes Weinstein had hired for Argento. Weinstein has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and released a statement through his lawyer that he is currently considering if any legal action is warranted in response to these new claims.
“If you don’t understand, be thankful, because no one should have to go through what I went through — or what Asia is going through now,” she said. “It’s barbaric.
“I know people have been sitting around dinner tables looking to find us complicit. But this is not a story of actresses trying to further their careers,” she continued. “This is the story of a predator and a rapist. He’s hurt a shocking number of women. Please ask yourselves, ‘What is the cost of owning up to being part of his bloody harem?’ Quite a lot. The shame over years of degradation was enough to make me contemplate suicide at one point. A friend had to talk me down.
“I have waived my right to anonymity because it gave me a voice. But people should ask themselves a very simple question: why am I the only actress in Britain who has had the guts to use her name? Why the silence?” Anthony asked.
The actress also said her son Jimi has been bullied at school since she came forward with her story, with fellow students telling him that his mother was “Harvey Weinstein’s bitch.”
To the film industry at large, Anthony said, “I am appalled by the cowardice and collaboration that has gone on. People are very frightened.” To those that believe Weinstein will make a return: “Over my dead body,” she concluded.
Anthony also believes that Weinstein’s day in court is fast approaching, and said that she has detailed notes, diaries and corroborating evidence, and has been working extensively with police both in London and New York. While Weinstein is facing multiple charges in the U.S., the British case would be opened only if he were extradited there. British police have received allegations from 10 Weinstein accusers in total, one of whom is believed to be Uma Thurman, who accused him of trying to expose himself to her at a London hotel in the 1990s.
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