Days after claiming to HuffPost reporter Yashar Ali that Harvey Weinstein had once masturbated in front of her, TV journalist Lauren Sivan went public on Megyn Kelly TODAY to discuss the Hollywood mogul’s alleged misconduct.
Speaking Monday, Sivan recalled the alleged incident with Weinstein, calling it “disgusting and kind of pathetic.”
“I was at a dinner in New York City one night with a bunch of friends. I sat down at a table at an empty seat and he came up behind me and said, ‘I think you’re in my seat,'” Sivan told Kelly of Weinstein. “He was very polite, very warm, very conversational. He asked me what I did. We started talking about news, we started talking about politics, he was complimenting me and telling me how impressed he was with how much I knew.”
Sivan described her alleged conversation with Weinstein as “really warm” and “great.”
“I was this local reporter at the time. To be able to talk to this huge Hollywood mogul and feel like you were holding your own in a conversation — it felt great,” she said.
Soon after their alleged first meeting, Sivan claims she went with Weinstein to a second location, a restaurant and bar he owned. According to Sivan, Weinstein suggested they should take a tour of the kitchen in the location’s downstairs area. It was then, Sivan alleges, that Weinstein “cornered” her.
“We walked through this kitchen into, like a vestibule — where there are bathrooms and a hallway and a door out to this restaurant, was locked. It was closed. And that’s where he cornered me, in this vestibule, and leaned in and tried to kiss me,” Sivan claimed. “Which I immediately rebuffed. I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. I had no idea that’s what this was. I’m sorry. I have a very serious boyfriend and I’m not interested.’ And I thought it would end there. But that’s when he blocked the entrance — or exit for me. And said, ‘Well, then, just stand there and be quiet.'”
Sivan said she was “completely shocked” by Weinstein’s alleged actions and claims “he immediately exposed himself and, you know, began pleasuring himself. And I just stood there dumbfounded.”
She added, “I was so shocked. I could not believe what I was witnessing. … It was disgusting and kind of pathetic, really, to stand there and look at this man, you know? But more than the disgusting act itself — which, of course, was gross — was the demeaning part of it all. That just 20 minutes earlier he was having this great conversation with me and I felt so great and flattered by it. And then, ‘Stand there and be quiet’ just negated any warm feelings I had.”
Sivan alleges the incident with Weinstein ended “relatively quickly.”
Representatives for Weinstein did not immediately respond to request for comment (and Kelly asserted that Weinstein’s representatives also did not respond when NBC asked for comment before airing its interview with Sivan).
Sivan came forward after a bombshell New York Times report that documented “decades” of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, who was officially terminated from The Weinstein Company on Sunday night
Last week, Lisa Bloom, a lawyer then advising Weinstein, said Weinstein denies “many of the accusations” presented in the Times story “as patently false” and Weinstein’s attorney Charles Harder said his client was preparing a lawsuit against the Times. Weinstein himself gave a statement to the paper apologizing for “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past,” adding that he planned to take a leave of absence from the company “to deal with this issue head on.” (Weinstein did not comment on the Sivan claims.)
Speaking to Kelly, Sivan said she was compelled to come forward after reading Weinstein’s statement. “His apology was the final straw for me,” she said. “Enough is enough with this guy. There was no remorse, there was no even acknowledgment of the type of behavior that was going on. If he did this with me, who’s just a stranger, who is not an actress in Hollywood and doesn’t need anything from him, I can only imagine how many other women this has happened to.”
Kelly, who has known Sivan for years, was instrumental in the ousting of Fox News’ Roger Ailes last year, after she backed up women who worked at the network and alleged assault. She left Fox News shortly after and officially joined NBC News earlier this year.