After his highly publicised arrest earlier this year, and subsequent release following his posting of is $1m bail, justice hasn’t been swift in the case of Harvey Weinstein. And the cries for it will no doubt increase, now that a video has emerged showing the disgraced film mogul behaving inappropriately with a young woman at a business meeting – hugging, touching and making sexually suggestive comments.
Then-28-year-old Melissa Thompson was at The Weinstein Company offices in New York, in September 2011, to pitch her tech start-up company's new video and analytics service. As part of the demo, she recorded the meeting.
While she says she expected to meet with the marketing team, the video shows Weinstein arriving alone, saying “don't interrupt” to nearby staff, shutting the door and locking it. Thompson is seen offering Weinstein a handshake, but he pushes her hand out of the way and hugs her, running his hands up and down her back and murmuring, "that's nice, let's keep it up".
When he sits down, he asks: "So am I allowed to flirt with you?" At one point he tells her: “Let me have a little part of you. Can you give it to me?” Thompson alleges that after agreeing to use the technology to promote his films, Weinstein then put his hand up her dress. The video only captures the two from the waist up, but does show Thompson reacting with discomfort and telling Weinstein: “That’s too high. That’s too high.”
Thompson said she later met Weinstein in a nearby hotel lobby, where she expected to close the technology deal. She says that Weinstein then led her to a hotel room and raped her.
Thompson alleges that after agreeing to use the technology to promote his films, Weinstein then put his hand up her dress
The recording and alleged rape are being used as part of a civil suit against Weinstein. Over the past year, dozens of women have accused Weinstein of assault and harassment and he currently faces both criminal charges and civil suits. Since the first women spoke out, more than 80 have come forward to accuse the 66-year-old of sexual harassment and rape, and the #MeToo movement has seen allegations about dozens of other public figures come forward. There were so many that The Pool began compiling a comprehensive list of each accusation to keep up with the news, which you can view here.
Weinstein was arrested in May this year on charges of rape, a criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct against three women. Thompson is not among them. Separately, a federal judge in Manhattan is deciding whether a civil lawsuit brought by six women against both Weinstein and men on the board of his film company should go forward. Weinstein was released on bail after pleading not guilty in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on charges that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2006.
While the footage is harrowing, it can’t be promised it will speed up the judicial process. It is not the only high profile and damning development in the Weinstein case: in July, a judge denied a request from prosecutors to place him under house arrest in light of new charges against the movie producer that carry a penalty of life in prison if he is convicted. A month later, a US federal judge ruled that British actor Kadian Noble’s sex-trafficking lawsuit against him could go ahead – setting the stage for a landmark case. Her lawyers in New York argued that, because Weinstein dangled a film role for Noble before assaulting her in 2014, he should be liable for damages under a sex-trafficking law, which makes it a crime to coerce someone into sex in exchange for something of value. Weinstein tried to get the case thrown out, with his lawyers arguing that because no money and nothing of value changed hands, the allegations did not amount to sex trafficking. US district judge Robert Sweet said that the case could move forward to trial, however. This month, federal prosecutors are also investigating if Weinstein violated wire fraud and other potential legal violations in efforts to silence women who accused him of sexual misconduct with hush money.
Since his release, Weinstein has also been working as a paralegal on his own case, according to his lawyer, Ben Brafman. It has so far resulted in two indictments on charges like rape and criminal sexual acts. For his remaining accusers, the wait continues.