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Lisa Gentile, a country-pop singer and songwriter, is alleging that Sex and the City actor Chris Noth sexually victimized her in 2002 in her New York City apartment.
During a Thursday press conference, lawyer Gloria Allred appeared alongside her client to announce Gentile’s decision to “break her silence” despite her being unable to litigate a lawsuit as the statute of limitations has expired in her case under New York State law.
“She believes that breaking her silence may help others who have been victimized by powerful men in their lives,” Allred said. “Because what Lisa alleges happened to her almost 20 years ago, under the law in New York State, it is too late for her to have access to justice in New York State.”
Gentile’s allegation is yet another among a mounting group of accusations against Noth, which began with two women accusing the actor of sexual assault in The Hollywood Reporter. Two more women have since come out with their own allegations of Noth’s misconduct, including one who alleges an incident took place on the set of Sex and the City.
Noth has denied all allegations. He issued a statement to THR about the initial claims: “The accusations against me made by individuals I met years, even decades, ago are categorically false. These stories could’ve been from 30 years ago or 30 days ago — no always means no — that is a line I did not cross. The encounters were consensual. It’s difficult not to question the timing of these stories coming out. I don’t know for certain why they are surfacing now, but I do know this: I did not assault these women.”
Gentile alleges that the actor forcibly groped her after inviting him into her New York apartment one night in early 2002, where she was then living with roommates. The singer says she first met Noth in 1998 while frequenting the Da Marino restaurant in New York with her friends and family, and that the two became more acquainted over discussions of “music and show business.”
The night she alleges Noth assaulted her, Gentile says the two had met up with several others at the aforementioned restaurant before Noth offered her a ride home. “When we arrived at my apartment, he asked if he could come up. I told him I had nothing to offer him to drink, and he said, ‘That’s OK.’ He just wanted to see where I lived.”
After he entered her apartment, Gentile says Noth approached her in the kitchen and “started kissing me almost right away.” That’s when he began to get more aggressive, she alleges, squeezing her breasts, using her hands to lift his shirt and forcing one of her hands toward his pants.
“I finally managed to push him away and get out of his grasp and yelled, ‘No, I don’t want this,'” Gentile said before noting that Noth “became extremely angry and started screaming,” then stormed out of her apartment.
Gentile says she told her roommate about the incident that same night, and that Noth called her roommates’ landline the next day to threaten her to stay silent. “He warned me that if I ever told a soul about what happened the night before that he would ruin my career that I would never see again, and that he would blacklist me in the business,” the singer recalled. “He hung up on me and I immediately called my mother and father crying.”
“I was afraid to come forward because of Mr. Noth’s power and his threats to ruin my career,” she added.
While Gentile currently can’t bring a case against Noth in New York, during the presser, Allred urged for support of the Adult Survivors Act (ASA), which was passed by the New York Senate in June. Sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal, the legislation, if passed, would create “a one-year window for the revival of time-barred civil lawsuits based on sex crimes committed against individuals who were 18 years of age or older.
“I’m speaking out now in support of the other four women who have courageously come forward before me. I feel that we should have our day in court to seek to hold Mr. Noth accountable for what he did. I’m also speaking out to ensure the rights of my nieces, my goddaughter and future victims of sexual harassment and assault,” Gentile said.
Allred noted that the singer’s support of the bill is in part why she has chosen to go public with her allegations. “She understands that many victims of sexual abuse do not come forward until years later, for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they think that nobody will believe them or that they will be blamed for what happened to them. In other cases, they may be threatened or feel threatened or they will be retaliated against by the powerful person who has victimized them,” Allred said.
“The result is that adult survivors of adult sexual abuse in New York are denied access to justice because when they are finally courageous enough to come forward, they are barred by law from pursuing a lawsuit and having a judge and jury decide their case in a New York court of law,” Allred added.
During the presser, Allred also shared that Gentile has not had any contact with the other accusers, but urged And Just Like That stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis — who recently shared their support of sexual assault victims in a joint statement published to social media — to speak out in support of the act.
“Their endorsement of this act will be important to its passage when the New York Legislature begins its session next month,” Allred said.
She also called on New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, the first woman to occupy the position, to push for passage of the ASA when she delivers her State of the State address Jan. 5.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to reps for Noth, Parker, Nixon, Davis and the New York governor for comment.
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James Gordon Meek