Claire Forlani on Harvey Weinstein Encounters: "I Escaped Five Times"
"I had two Peninsula Hotel meetings in the evening with Harvey and all I remember was I ducked, dived and ultimately got out of there," said the actress.
Claire Forlani has shared her experience of meeting with Harvey Weinstein, and said that she "escaped five times."
The actress — who starred in Meet Joe Black and has been featured on Hawaii Five-0, NCIS: Los Angeles and CSI: NY — was among the cast of the Miramax-distributed 2000 film Boys and Girls. She took to Twitter to recount how she "ducked, dived and ultimately got out of" her meetings with the Hollywood producer. She said she was previously approached by Ronan Farrow to participate in his New Yorker exposé, but decided against it and ultimately regrets doing so.
"[Farrow] didn’t mention that it was about Harvey but when I received the email I instinctively knew it was going to be. I told some close men around me and they all advised me not to speak. I had already told Ronan I would speak with him but from the advice around me, interestingly the male advice around me, I didn’t make the call," she said. "Today I sit here feeling some shame, like I’m not a woman supporting other women. I just read Mira Sorvino’s article in Time and she writes of how scared she was to speak out and participate. I take little solace in that.
"You see, nothing happened to me with Harvey — by that I mean, I escaped 5 times," she recalled. "I had two Peninsula Hotel meetings in the evening with Harvey and all I remember was I ducked, dived and ultimately got out of there without getting slobbered over, well just a bit. Yes, massage was suggested. The three dinners with Harvey I don’t really remember the time period, I was 25. I remember him telling me all the actresses who had slept with him and what he had done for them. I wasn’t drinking the cool aid [sic], I knew Harvey was a master manipulator. He also announced to me at the last dinner I had with him at Dominic’s that his pilot knew to be on standby because he could never get me to sleep with him, to which I did what I always did, make light of the situation, a joke here or there and moved on. You see, I always thought I was a pro at handling these guys, I’d had a fair amount of experience. Sometimes I got angry, really angry. I wondered why I had Prey stamped on my forehead but this I kept to myself.
"This sort of thing was something my generation dealt with, all the time," the actress explained. "For me it started at age 14, my parents had two male friends who I trusted and adored and they were deeply inappropriate. It happened all the time when I modeled and it happened all through my twenties in the film business. For us it was something you weren’t supposed to make a big deal out of; it was sadly our normal."
Forlani then commended the women who have spoken up, about Weinstein and others over the years. "I remember when Thandie Newton spoke out about a director that I had also had a disgusting experience with and I felt scared even reading what she said publicly about him, thinking, ‘Damn, she’s gonna get crucified for that,’" she said. "Yet I was in awe for her bravery and balls, she was a female crusader, modern suffragette and I loved her for it. But I also knew I didn’t have those balls, too scared of the repercussions This was because when you did react or tell a man to shove it, there were always repercussions. I was punished when I was brave. So I learned to let it go and carry on.
"I am feeling very moved that these brave women who came forward are creating alchemy of all bad, brutal ugliness. That maybe now a safe and respectful work environment for the generation coming up will happen. I feel excited, I really do, that this could be a thing of the past, that these men will now not feel they have carte blanche to intimidate, sexualize, bully and ultimately hurt women or girls. I’m not naïve enough to believe it can be eradicated but it can be a different time and that after all this pain, suffering and fear, it can be a new time in this business. I am proud of my community. I love what I do. There are so many beautiful people in this business. So may the bad seeds please leave the stage?”
Weinstein's decades of alleged sexual harassment claims were first detailed in last week's New York Times report and further explored in the New Yorker's exposé, which includes three claims of rape. He has since been fired from The Weinstein Co. and suspended by BAFTA, and USC's School of Cinematic Arts has rejected his $5 million endowment to grant scholarships to women directors. His producing credit has since been pulled from TWC's television shows, with Amazon reviewing its buzzy pair of upcoming shows from the company. A criminal investigation has been opened by the New York Police Department.