After Harvey Weinstein showed no remorse over the NY Times' report about "decades of sexual harassment allegations," former News 12 reporter Lauren Sivan came forward with her disturbing story of how the Oscar-winning producer masturbated in front of her (into a potted plant). Now the owner of the club where the incident occurred says he believes her because of his memory of that night.
Sivan had told the Huffington Post that, a decade ago, she and a friend joined Weinstein and some other people at Socialista, a West Village club that Weinstein was an investor in. He offered Sivan a tour, and Sivan, after telling a friend to look for her if she wasn't back in 10 minutes, agreed. When they were in the kitchen, Weinstein asked two employees to leave. From the Huffington Post:
Once they left, Sivan says Weinstein leaned in and tried to kiss her. Sivan rejected that attempt and told him she had a long-term boyfriend. Weinstein then said to Sivan, “Well, can you just stand there and shut up.”
At this point, Weinstein and Sivan were in a vestibule between the kitchen and bathrooms. The only way for Sivan to get away from Weinstein required her to get past him and go through the kitchen. Sivan says she was trapped by Weinstein’s body and was intimidated.
Weinstein then proceeded to expose himself to Sivan and began to masturbate. Sivan said she was deeply shocked by Weinstein’s behavior and was frozen and didn’t know what to do or say. The incident in the vestibule didn’t last long. Sivan says Weinstein ejaculated quickly into a potted plant that was in the vestibule and then proceeded to zip up his pants and they walked back into the kitchen.
Socialista co-owner Armin Amiri said that after Sivan went public, Weinstein and his lawyers sought his help in denying the allegation. But Amiri now says his "memory clicked" and he remembered an incident in which Weinstein (described by his sous chef as "some fat fuck") had apparently forced employees out of the kitchen.
"I went to check things out and saw Harvey soon after, fixing his belt, behind the bar. I never saw the woman," he said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. "My chef and I go to the kitchen. He picks up a pot that had been placed back on the stove. It had been defiled. It was so bizarre. We couldn’t believe it happened."
In an interview with Megyn Kelly, Sivan explained that she came forward because Weinstein blamed his behavior on growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. "That apology was the final straw for me,” she said. “Enough is enough with this guy. There was no remorse. There was no acknowledgement of the type of behavior that was going on," she said. "If he did this with me, who was just a stranger, who is not an actress in Hollywood and doesn’t need anything from him, I can only imagine how many other women something like this has happened to."
Weinstein's spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter that he was unable to comment because he's in rehab—but offered a statement from Giuseppe Cipriani, a part owner of Socialista: "To my knowledge, no incident occurred at the premises on the night in question and nobody complained about, or reported any such alleged incident to me."
Here's the full statement from Amiri, who is also an actor (he has had roles in Reservation Road, The Wrestler and The Weinstein Company's Factory Girl):
“Last week, after Lauren Sivan came forward with her awful story about Harvey Weinstein and the ‘potted plant’ at Socialista, he contacted me. We hadn’t spoken in years. He told me he needed a statement about his involvement in Socialista, which I said I’d be happy to provide, and I did, and then his lawyers said he needed one saying I hadn’t seen anything that night. I told them I knew something happened that night, I just hadn’t known what specifically. I couldn’t make a statement absolving him because when she came forward, my memory clicked.
Harvey had been an investor in Socialista and I had appeared in one of the films he distributed, ‘Factory Girl.’ What I remember about this incident is that my sous chef came into my office, furious, telling me that ‘some fat fuck’ saying he’s an owner — he didn’t know the name — had come into the kitchen with a woman and shoved a $100 bill at him and told him to get out. It was like 1:30 in the morning and he’d been the only one still there. The chef told me he was going to quit.
I went to check things out and saw Harvey soon after, fixing his belt, behind the bar. I never saw the woman. My chef and I go to the kitchen. He picks up a pot that had been placed back on the stove. It had been defiled. It was so bizarre. We couldn’t believe it happened.
I couldn’t prove any of it so I never confronted him. Harvey was an investor and it was around the time he married Georgina Chapman.
My heart goes out to all the brave women who have come forward. Once Ms. Sivan spoke out, and after being contacted by several media outlets, I’ve felt responsible to state what I remembered.”