Asia Argento among three women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault
Asia Argento and two other women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein in a story published Tuesday by The New Yorker, which also includes new claims of misconduct from actresses Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino.
Argento, an actress and filmmaker, alleges that Weinstein raped her by forcibly performing oral sex on her. The actress claims she was invited to a hotel room by Weinstein in 1997, where he asked her to give him a massage. From there, Argento claims, Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her. "It wouldn't stop. It was a nightmare," she said. "I was not willing. I said, 'No, no, no.' … It's twisted. A big fat man wanting to eat you. It's a scary fairy tale." According to the New Yorker, Argento admitted to "consensual sexual relations with him multiple times over the course of the next five years," a fact that reporter Ronan Farrow notes Argento readily allowed "complicates the story."
But, Argento added, "Just his body, his presence, his face, bring me back to the little girl that I was when I was twenty-one," the age she was when the alleged assault occurred. "When I see him, it makes me feel little and stupid and weak… After the rape, he won."
In 2000, Argento directed a film called Scarlet Diva that included a scene reminiscent of the claims she made against Weinstein. After the New Yorker story posted, Argento shared the scene online.
Weinstein denied the allegations made by Argento and others via a statement released by his representative to The New Yorker. "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. 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."
Representatives for Weinstein did not respond to EW's request for comment.
In addition to the Argento claims, actresses Sorvino (who won an Oscar for the Weinstein release Mighty Aphrodite) and Arquette (who starred in Weinstein release Pulp Fiction) both allege Weinstein acted inappropriately with them. "He started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around," Sorvino claimed of an incident in a Toronto hotel room around the release of Mighty Aphrodite in 1995.
Arquette claimed she met Weinstein at a hotel as well, where he tried to force her to give him a massage and touch his penis. "My heart was really racing. I was in a fight-or-flight moment," she said, adding she told Weinstein, "I will never do that."
Also included in the New Yorker story is audio of Weinstein speaking with model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who in 2015 alleged Weinstein groped her without consent. (Weinstein was not charged with any crimes in the incident.) In the audio, which The New Yorker notes was "captured during a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015," Weinstein admits to groping Gutierrez's breasts and is heard trying to get her to come back to his hotel room against her protests.
"I'm going to take a shower. You sit there and have a drink," Weinstein is heard saying to Gutierrez on the tape. After she asks him about touching her breast, Weinstein says, "he's used to that" and claims he "won't do it again."
Listen to the full audio below.
The piece also includes an account from Lucia Evans, who claims she met Weinstein at his office, where he allegedly "assaulted" her by forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
"I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don't. I tried to get away, but maybe I didn't try hard enough," Evans claimed in the piece. "I didn't want to kick him or fight him. … He's a big guy. He overpowered me." Evans claimed she "just sort of gave up. That's the most horrible part of it, and that's why he's been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it's their fault."
A third woman, unnamed by The New Yorker, also claimed Weinstein "forced himself on me sexually."
Last week, a New York Times story revealed decades of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein. In the wake of its publication, Weinstein was terminated from The Weinstein Company, the company he co-founded with his brother, Bob. After the Times story published, a local New York reporter named Lauren Sivan alleged that Weinstein exposed himself and masturbated in front of her.