Oscar winner Mira Sorvino insists there are many more women who have yet to go public with accusations of sexual misconduct against disgraced film boss Harvey Weinstein.
The actress reveals she was inundated with support and alerted to other stories when she came out about the producer shortly after an expose in The New York Times detailed Weinstein’s alleged inappropriate behavior.
Mira alleged the movie boss regularly “harassed her” for a sexual relationship, even showing up at her apartment in the mid-1990s.
“He started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around,” she claimed.
Now, in a piece for The Hollywood Reporter, the actress writes: “I don’t know a woman who hasn’t had something happen to her. Some of the incidents may have been slight, but most women I know have endured something that isn’t very slight.
“The week that the (journalist) Ronan Farrow piece came out in The New Yorker, five people reached out to me, three of them in the business, telling me what Harvey had done to them, and these people have not come out. Another friend came out to me about having been abused as a child. None of us knew that this had happened to so many of us.
“The day that the story was published, (actress) Annabella Sciorra called me and said, ‘Oh my God, Mira, I’ve known you for years…’, and then she said, ‘Harvey raped me’. I had no idea. She was making up her mind about what she wanted to do, and we talked for an hour. It was so horrifying, and I cried for her. Eventually she also gave her story to Ronan (Farrow).”
Sorvino adds: “Here’s the part that people don’t understand. There’s a lot of people who think, ‘You all knew, you kept silent and you could have prevented so many people from being hurt’. But I only knew of myself for a while and then was told only by one other young woman about her experience… No one could imagine the serial level of predation that has since become open. I don’t think the actors knew. Maybe the people who run actors’ careers… knew. Maybe those people knew the tally much more.”
Mira admits she was “very young” when her experiences with Weinstein began at the Toronto Film Festival in Canada, adding, “He was running the company and deciding on the Oscar campaign (and) you think, ‘I don’t want to offend him. I don’t want to anger him, I just need to get out of this situation as gracefully as I can’.
“You’re thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, Harvey Weinstein is massaging my back, what do I do?’ You’re young and you don’t know how to deal with it. You don’t start thinking, ‘Oh, he’s a sexual predator…’ It wasn’t like I was going to suddenly assume some kind of Krav Maga (fighting) pose. You just want to get out.”
Mira reveals she turned to Farrow after asking her minister for advice. She urged the actress to “go forward with my story”.
She adds, “Everyone remembers me telling them at the time. Quentin Tarantino was my boyfriend right after these things happened, and he remembers me telling him. No one ever said, ‘You should go up against Harvey, you should report him to the authorities. You have a case here’.
“Quentin thought that he was just really crushing hard on me. That was his interpretation. I was just happy that Quentin was my protector. I think that’s why Harvey stopped trying with me, because he would never mess with the girlfriend of his star director.
“My dad (actor Paul Sorvino) asked me, ‘Mira, did you tell me not to do anything about it because you were afraid that it would get me in trouble?’ I said, ‘Yes, I was afraid that you were going to get arrested for beating him up’. People say there are lists out there, that Harvey had a blacklist not only of people he was allegedly investigating but also of people who weren’t supposed to be hired sent to casting people and agencies.
“I know women with whom I’ve talked since who felt that their careers were derailed. I’ve heard stories about calls being made to their agencies saying that they were drug addicts when they didn’t touch drugs.”
The actress fears her career was affected by her Weinstein snub, adding, “I won an Oscar with (Weinstein’s company) Miramax. To not continue and star in their movies much past that doesn’t make sense,” she explains. “I felt if I had accepted Harvey’s advances, I would have continued to make movies with them, and they were the people winning the Oscars for that decade. I was not offered any movie roles past 1996. I was still on the fringes of the Miramax family after that, but once Quentin and I broke up, that was it. Radio silence.”