(Warning to our readers: This story contains graphic descriptions.)
A former actress added her name Friday to the list of women alleging sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein, saying the producer agreed to meet with her to help her career, then quickly exposed himself and told her sex was the path to success.
Speaking at the Woodland Hills office of attorney Gloria Allred, Heather Kerr told reporters she was employed by a business manager who worked with Weinstein, and she got the chance to meet with him in the late 1980s.
Kerr said Weinstein sat uncomfortably close to her on a couch, asking her if “she was good.”
“The next thing I knew, he had unzipped his fly and he pulled out his penis,” Kerr said, adding that Weinstein then forced her to touch it.
“He told me that this was how things worked in Hollywood and that all of the actresses that had made it had made it this way,” said Kerr, who made guest appearances in the 1980s on shows including “Facts of Life” and “Mama’s Family.”
“He spelled it out for me,” she said. “He told me that first I would have sex with him and then he would take me to parties and show me who I needed to sleep with after that, but first he needed to know how good I was.”
Kerr said she left the room and rushed to the elevator. The following Monday, she quit her job.
“Not long after that, I quit acting,” she said. “I continued doing theater for a while, but I quit pursuing acting as a career. I have told parts of this story to only a very few people over the years. I felt so powerless because he is after all very powerful and very well known and very successful. I didn’t think anyone would believe me. I was nobody. Why would they?”
Kerr is the latest woman to share her story of alleged mistreatment by Weinstein, who has been fired from The Weinstein Company, expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, suspended by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and put on a path to expulsion by the Producers Guild of America.
Weinstein, 65, is believed to be in Arizona undergoing sex-addiction therapy. He has apologized for his behavior, but through a spokeswoman, he has denied sexually assaulting anyone.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” Sallie Hofmeister 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.”
Kerr’s allegations come on the heels of Thursday’s announcement by the Los Angeles Police Department that it is investigating a sexual assault allegation against Weinstein.
That allegation was made by an Italian model-actress who claims Weinstein raped her in 2013 at a hotel while she was in town for an Italian film festival.
Speaking to reporters Friday morning in downtown Los Angeles, the woman’s attorney, David Ring, declined to discuss details of the criminal investigation, but said the woman was encouraged to go to police after learning about other women who had gone public with their stories about Weinstein.
“She has no other purpose or reason other than she wanted to come forward and tell her story about what happened, and of course the fact that 30 or 40 other women have come forward and shared their experience certainly helped her to come forward, but there are other factors as well,” Ring said.
“… What happened to her was really horrible,” he said. “It’s had a humongous, huge impact on her life. In a sense she’s relieved to have come forward now to be able to share what happened with the LAPD, but she’s also extremely scared, and rightfully so. She’s a mom. She has young children.”
Police in New York and London have said they are investigating allegations of sexual assault involving Weinstein. The Los Angeles Times reported that the NYPD has two active sex crime investigations into Weinstein, while London authorities are investigating allegations made by three women.
The woman represented by Ring told The Times the alleged assault occurred at Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel, which is located in Los Angeles, where she was staying while attending the eighth annual Los Angeles, Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest in February 2013.
She said she spoke briefly to Weinstein at the festival, but he later showed up “without warning” in the lobby of her hotel and called her, asking if he could come to her room. She instead agreed to meet him downstairs, but he showed up at her door a short time later.
“He … bullied his way into my hotel room, saying, `I’m not going to (have sex with you), I just want to talk,” the woman told The Times. “Once inside, he asked me questions about myself, but soon became very aggressive and demanding and kept asking to see me naked.
He grabbed my by the hair and forced me to do something I did not want to do. He then dragged me to the bathroom and forcibly raped me,” she said.
Weinstein left after about 45 minutes, and “acted like nothing happened,” the woman said.
“I barely knew this man,” she told The Times. “It was the most demeaning thing ever done to me by far. I sickens me still. … He made me feel like an object, like nothing with all his power.”
She said she told a priest, a friend and a nanny at the time, but was afraid to come forward to police. She said she decided to come forward Thursday at the urging of her children.
At the time of the attack, she was 34 years old and living with her three children in Italy, The Times reported.
The fallout against Weinstein began earlier this month with a New York Times article claiming Weinstein had reached financial settlements with eight women for alleged sexual harassment. Days later, the New Yorker ran an article detailing more allegations of harassment, along with three women accusing Weinstein of sexually assaulting them.
In the days since, more women have come forward to talk about about alleged harassing behavior by Weinstein — including actresses Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan, Kate Beckinsale, Cara Delevingne, Lupita Nyong’o and Minka Kelly. McGowan has said she was raped by Weinstein.
The Oscar-winning film producer issued a statement after the New York Times article conceding that his behavior at times crossed a line.
“I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed,” Weinstein said. “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”
The Weinstein allegations have led to a national discussion about the widespread problem of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and beyond.
—City News Service
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