Accusations of sexual misconduct continued to mount Tuesday against disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein, with a former actress coming forward in Los Angeles saying the film producer offered to green-light her movie script in 2008, but only if she watched him masturbate.
Louisette Geiss, who appeared in shows including “The Drew Carey Show,” “Two and a Half Men” and “King of Queens,” is only one of a number of women alleging sexual misconduct by Weinstein. While Geiss may not be a recognizable name, other Hollywood stars — including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Mira Sorvino — added their names to the list of Weinstein sex targets.
Geiss said she first met Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival, then ran into him again at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in 2008, when she met with him to pitch a film script.
Geiss said the pair originally met in a restaurant, but when it closed, they reconvened in Weinstein’s office, despite her reluctance given what she claimed were stories she had heard about Weinstein’s actions toward women.
According to Geiss, Weinstein seemed genuinely interested in her script, but about 30 minutes into the meeting, he went to the bathroom, and emerged wearing only a bathrobe “with the front open and he was buck naked.”
“He told me to keep talking about my film and that he was going to hop into his hot tub that was adjacent to the room, just steps away,” she said. “When I finished my pitch, I was obviously nervous and he just kept asking me to watch him masturbate. I told him I was leaving. He quickly got out of the tub and grabbed my forearm as I was trying to grab my purse, and he led me to his bathroom, pleading that I just watch him masturbate.
“My heart was racing and I was very scared. I pulled my arm away finally and headed toward the door. He started following me and telling me he could introduce me to Bob Weinstein and that I could get a three-picture deal and he would green-light my script, but I had to watch him masturbate.
“I was on the verge of tears, but I pulled it together and quickly exited,” she said.
Geiss, a mother of two who now works in real estate, said she told her sister and a friend about the confrontation, and over the years, she would tell people the story when asked about why she got out of the movie business.
Geiss’ attorney, Gloria Allred, said she was calling on Weinstein to agree to mediation or arbitration, saying such a move would give him a chance to provide justice for alleged victims and perhaps to restore his damaged reputation.
Allred’s daughter, attorney Lisa Bloom, had been working with Weinstein until Saturday, when she announced she was parting company with the film producer. Bloom said last week she had been working with Weinstein for about a year, calling him an “old dinosaur learning new ways.”
Bloom’s involvement with Weinstein sparked criticism against the noted civil-rights attorney, who has represented women who claimed to be victims of sexual harassment. Her more recent clients have included Mischa Barton, Blac Chyna and two women who said they were harassed by then-Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly — radio psychologist Wendy Walsh and Occidental College professor Caroline Heldman.
Allred said Tuesday she loves her daughter, and that Bloom works in a different law firm and makes her own decisions about who she works with. Allred denied having any conversations with Bloom before her daughter announced she was parting ways with Weinstein.
The latest accusation came on the heels of an explosive new report in the New Yorker, which includes allegations of harassment and sexual assault from a variety of women, including actresses Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette.
In the article, actress Lucia Stoller contends Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him during a 2004 casting meeting. Actress-director Asia Argento alleges that Weinstein performed oral sex on her against her will in France in 1997. Arquette contends in the article that Weinstein greeted her in a bathrobe when she met him at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the early 1990s, and he put her hand on his genitals. Sorvino said Weinstein chased her around a Toronto hotel room in 1995.
The article also included an audiotape recorded by the New York Police Department during a sting operation in 2015. According to the New Yorker, Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez told police Weinstein had groped her during a meeting, so the next day, she wore a wire when she met with the producer at the Tribeca Grand Hotel.
The recording documents Gutierrez repeatedly objecting to what happened the previous day and Weinstein continuously urging her to sit with him and not embarrass him at the hotel that he frequents. Weinstein never faced criminal charges in response to Gutierrez’ allegations.
In the aftermath of the New Yorker article, and last week’s New York Times article detailing years of harassment allegations against Weinstein — leading to his firing from The Weinstein Company on Sunday — numerous women have come forward with allegations of wrongdoing by the Oscar-winning producer.
On Tuesday, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow added their names to the list of accusers, telling their stories to the New York Times.
Former Secretary of State and failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — a longtime beneficiary of Weinstein’s political donations and support — issued a statement Tuesday saying she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein.”
“The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated,” Clinton said. “Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”
Weinstein spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister issued a statement to the New Yorker in response to the latest allegations.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” she said. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
Weinstein was originally placed on indefinite leave by The Weinstein Company in response to the New York Times article. But the company’s board announced Sunday it was firing him outright in response to “new information” that came out in the days since.
The company did not specify what the new information was. But over the weekend, new accusers emerged, including British writer Liza Campbell and television reporter Lauren Sivan, who both claimed to have experienced graphic encounters with Weinstein.
–City News Service