A new, extremely harrowing account of sexual assault has emerged as more women come forward about their experiences with producer Harvey Weinstein. This time, actress Annabella Sciorra described to the New Yorker's Ronan Farrow that she was violently raped by Weinstein in the 1990s. She said, "He shoved me onto the bed, and he got on top of me. I kicked and I yelled."
Farrow contacted Sciorra back in March, telling her a pair of sources told him "that she had a serious allegation regarding the producer. Sciorra, however, told me that Weinstein had never done anything inappropriate. Perhaps she just wasn’t his type, she said, with an air of what seemed to be studied nonchalance." But once his article, with accusations from numerous women noting sexual harassment and even rape, was published on October 10th—a few days after the New York Times' report of Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment and pattern of paying off accusers—Sciorra called Farrow back: "She was still living in fear of him, and slept with a baseball bat by her bed."
"I was so scared. I was looking out the window of my living room, and I faced the water of the East River," she told him, recalling their earlier conversation. "I really wanted to tell you. I was like, ‘This is the moment you’ve been waiting for your whole life....'" she said. "I really, really panicked. I was shaking. And I just wanted to get off the phone."
Sciorra, whose career was on the rise after starring in Jungle Fever in 1991 and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle in 1992, starred in The Night We Never Met, a film produced by Miramax, the indie production company Weinstein co-founded with his brother Bob.
After Sciorra finished making “The Night We Never Met,” she said that she became ensconced in “this circle of Miramax,” referring to Weinstein’s studio, which was then gaining an increasingly dominant role in the industry. There were so many screenings and events and dinners, Sciorra said, that it was hard to imagine life outside of the Weinstein ecosystem. At one dinner, in New York, she recalled, “Harvey was there, and I got up to leave. And Harvey said, ‘Oh, I'll drop you off.’ Harvey had dropped me off before, so I didn’t really expect anything out of the ordinary—I expected just to be dropped off.” In the car, Weinstein said goodbye to Sciorra, and she went upstairs to her apartment. She was alone and getting ready for bed a few minutes later when she heard a knock on the door. “It wasn’t that late,” she said. “Like, it wasn’t the middle of the night, so I opened the door a crack to see who it was. And he pushed the door open.” She paused to collect herself. Weinstein, she continued, “walked in like it was his apartment, like he owned the place, and started unbuttoning his shirt. So it was very clear where he thought this was going to go. And I was in a nightgown. I didn’t have much on.” He circled the apartment; to Sciorra, it appeared that he was checking whether anyone else was there...
Then Weinstein grabbed her, she said. “He shoved me onto the bed, and he got on top of me.” Sciorra struggled. “I kicked and I yelled,” she said, but Weinstein locked her arms over her head with one hand and forced sexual intercourse on her. “When he was done, he ejaculated on my leg, and on my nightgown.” It was a family heirloom, handed down from relatives in Italy and embroidered in white cotton. “He said, ‘I have impeccable timing,’ and then he said, ‘This is for you.’ ” Sciorra paused. “And then he attempted to perform oral sex on me. And I struggled, but I had very little strength left in me.” Sciorra said that her body started to shake violently. “I think, in a way, that’s what made him leave, because it looked like I was having a seizure or something.”
She also mentioned that the audiotape, from the 2015 NYPD sting investigating Italian model Ambra Battilana's accusation against Weinstein that he groped her breasts, "really triggered me."
On the tape, Weinstein is heard apparently begging Battilana to enter a hotel room and watch him shower. She says, "I don't feel comfortable... Please I don't want to do something I don't want to do." Weinstein tries to reassure her, "I'm a famous guy... I am not going to do anything, I swear on my children."
"Why yesterday you touch my breast?" Gutierrez asks. To which he replies, "Oh, please, I'm sorry, come on, I'm used to that... I won't do it again." According to Farrow, "Sciorra remembered Weinstein employing the same tactics as he cornered her, backing her into her bedroom. 'Come here, come on, cut it out, what are you doing, come here,' she remembered him saying. She tried to be assertive. 'This is not happening,' she told him. ''You’ve got to go. You have to leave. Get out of my apartment.'"
She believes that Weinstein blacklisted her after the rape, "From 1992, I didn’t work again until 1995. I just kept getting this pushback of ‘We heard you were difficult; we heard this or that.’ I think that that was the Harvey machine." When she made a film in 1995 in London, Sciorra says that Weinstein found her somehow, and would leave messages at her hotel and send cars, even showing up at her room one night, prompting her to barricade her hotel room door and beg to be moved to a new hotel.
At the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 while promoting Cop Land (a Miramax film), Weinstein's room was next to hers, Sciorra said. Early one morning she opened the door and "here’s Harvey in his underwear, holding a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a tape, a movie, in the other. And it was horrific, because I'd been there before." She ended up calling all the hotel services to summon someone to her room.
The reaction to director Asia Argento's revelation that Weinstein raped her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 also factored in Sciorra's decision to come forward. In Argento's native Italy, commentators have been victim-blaming her, with one saying, "I feel that he was raped by her" and another claiming she was "trying to justify high-society prostitution."
Sciorra said that the attacks on Argento and other accusers reinforced her fears about speaking out, but they also finally made her believe that she had no choice but to do so. “The way they’re treating Asia, and the way they’re treating a lot of women, is so infuriating,” she said. The attempts to downplay the significance of Argento’s allegations made her realize the importance of her own story. “O.K., you want rape?” she said, addressing those commentators who questioned whether Argento’s experience qualified. “Here’s fucking rape.”
Sciorra had also kept quiet about the rape, telling few people. Her close friend Rosie Perez heard about the London incident and asked what happened, and Sciorra then described the 1992 assault, "I said, ‘Oh, Annabella, you’ve gotta go to the police.' She said, 'I can’t go to the police. He’s destroying my career.'"
Harvey Weinstein at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 12, 2017 in Sun Valley, Idaho (Getty Images)
The NYPD is reportedly investigating a 2004 rape claim, from actress Lucia Evans, who said that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Tribeca office. The LAPD is also investigating rape allegations, as are British authorities.
When asked about whether the NYPD was aware of Sciorra's accusation, the police's public information department sent this older statement about Harvey Weinstein, from Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, "The NYPD Detective Bureau has been following up on information received, including certain published reports, alleging that there may additional victims in connection with the Harvey Weinstein matter. We have been reviewing records in an effort to identify any prior complaints involving him. To date, no official complaint reports have been identified. In addition, several calls have been received on our CrimeStoppers Hotline regarding Mr Weinstein. None of those calls have alleged any criminal conduct within the New York City area. Based on these calls, referrals have been made by the NYPD to other jurisdictions, both within the US and overseas, to the appropriate authorities. We will not comment any further on the nature of these calls. As part of our inquiries, detectives have conducted interviews, the specifics of which will not be provided at this time. I want to remind everyone that this ongoing matter involves potential victims of sexual offenses, and as such, the NYPD must remain cognizant of the appropriate privacy and confidentiality concerns. We encourage anyone who may have information about any sexual offenses to report it to the police."
Boyce has also said regarding Evans' rape accusation, "The statute of limitations does not expire. That’s first-degree criminal sex act; it never expires. Not to do that would be not doing my job. So we are going to speak to her."
Weinstein has denied all accusations of assault, claiming that relationships were consensual. He has, however, admitted bad behavior, which he chalked up to his generation, ""I came of age in the 60's and 70's when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. I have since learned it's not an excuse, in the office - or out of it. To anyone. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them. I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go."
Farrow's article also includes Daryl Hannah's descriptions of her frightening encounters with Weinstein, where he would pound on her hotel room doors: She managed to flee her ground-floor room one time and she was with her makeup artist another time, and they put a dresser in front of the door. He also allegedly tricked her into thinking there was a party she had to attend, trying to trap in her an empty room. Hannah, who starred in the Kill Bill films for Weinstein's company, said, "I did tell people about it. And it didn’t matter."
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) October 28, 2017
— Daryl Hannah (@dhlovelife) October 28, 2017
This morning, Perez, also a survivor of sexual abuse, posted a message of support for Sciorra on Facebook, saying in part, "I am so so sorry this horrible thing happened to you and the other women who have come & those who have yet to come forward. Although you had told me about this violent criminal act of rape years ago, reading Ronan Farrow's The New Yorker article has me in tears of sorrow and anger. I hope Ronan's piece has offered you the life boat you've been waiting for after all these years of suffering in silence. I hope our friends & others who you did not tell will now sympathize and understand why you have been in such turmoil for so long."
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office, which declined to pursue
charges against Weinstein in 2015, said earlier this month, "If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have. Mr. Weinstein’s pattern of mistreating women, as recounted in recent reports, is disgraceful and shocks the conscience. Any individual who feels that she may have been the victim of a crime by this person in Manhattan is strongly encouraged to contact our Office’s Sex Crimes Hotline at (212) 335-9373."