In recent times, Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual abuse or rape and Lupita Nyong’o has also joined the list of 45 women and counting.
The Academy-award winning actress published an op-ed in the New York Times describing her ordeal with the former producer and Hollywood magnate Harvey Weinstein.
Lupita lays emphasis on two different encounters, the first INVOLVED him asking her to come into his room for ‘a message’, in her words “Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage. I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe. I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.
He agreed to this and lay on the bed. I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation. Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that.”
Lupita further narrates the second incident which she describes as a shocking experience after they had dinner immediately she was done participating in a stage reading of Harvey’s new Broadway show, ‘Finding Neverland’, in her words “Let’s cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal.” I was stunned. I told him I preferred to eat in the restaurant. He told me not to be so naïve. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing. He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them.
I was silent for a while before I mustered up the courage to politely decline his offer. “You have no idea what you are passing up,” he said. “With all due respect, I would not be able to sleep at night if I did what you are asking, so I must pass,” I replied.”
From Lupita’s response Harvey would have understood quiet clearly, the young actress stand on this, but he is a man that insists on not taking no for an answer, and so he goes ahead to have the following conversation with her;
HARVEY: “Then I guess we are two ships passing in the night.”
LUPITA: I had never heard that saying before, so I remember asking him what it meant.
HARVEY: “It means just that, we are two ships going in two different directions”
LUPITA: “Yes, I guess we are.”
HARVEY: “So we are done here, you can leave.”
One would think that Harvey would stop at sexual assault but he also threatens the young star about her career path, just before Lupita steps out, she decides to find out about their working relationship by asking “I just want to know that we are good”, Harvey replies by saying “I don’t know about your career, but you’ll be fine”.
Harvey could not stop Lupita Nyong’O from shinning as she won the the Academy award in 2014, almost immediately, she was offered a role in a Weinstein Co. film which she had to decline. According to her “I knew I would not do it simply because it was the Weinstein Company, but I did not feel comfortable telling this to anybody. I turned down the role, but Harvey would not take no for an answer. While at Cannes, he insisted on meeting with me in person. I agreed to do it only because my agent would be present.
[…] I ran out of ways of politely saying no and so did my agent. I was so exasperated by the end that I just kept quiet. Harvey finally accepted my position and expressed that he still wanted to work with me at some point. “Thank you, I hope so,” I lied.”
Lupita Nyong minces no words in this publication as she ends on this note “Our business is complicated because intimacy is part and parcel of our profession; as actors we are paid to do very intimate things in public. That’s why someone can have the audacity to invite you to their home or hotel and you show up. Precisely because of this we must stay vigilant and ensure that the professional intimacy is not abused.
[…]Though we may have endured powerlessness at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power. And we hopefully ensure that this kind of rampant predatory behavior as an accepted feature of our industry dies here and now.
Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing. I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence.”
In the fight against sexual harassment, Lupita Nyong’O alongside Angelina jolie, Lena Headey and 45 others to speak up.
On this note that it has to be made clear that Harvey Weinstein is not the only person who has sexually harassed a lot of persons; hence there is a need to speak up against sexual harassment.