'I’m livid that used me...to lure and manipulate innocent, vulnerable women'
Halle Berry’s former manager Vincent Cirrincione has been accused of sexual harassment by nine women.
The women told The Washington Post that Cirrincione made unwanted sexual advances toward them over a period of two decades ranging from 1993 to 2011. Several of the women — all of whom are actresses of color — also allege that the manager, who is white, presented himself as an “important gatekeeper” for aspiring actresses of color in Hollywood, and “took advantage of that dynamic to prey upon young women,” reported the Post.
Three of the women say Cirrincione presented sex as a condition for his representation, and that when they refused, he did not take them on as clients. One of the actresses also claims he masturbated in front of her in his office while acting as her manager.
Berry released a statement on Instagram and Twitter Friday evening. “Yesterday I was saddened by the alligations [sic] against my former manager, Vincent Cirrincione, but today I’m sick after reading the horrifying detailed accounts of his abuse towards 9 women,” her statement read.
“I’m livid that used me, and the role model he helped me become, to lure and manipulate innocent, vulnerable women of color for his predatory actions. I’m deeply hurt and I want these woman and countless others to know I see you. I hear you. You matter. I will fight for you,” Berry concluded.
All of the women tell the Post that they sought Cirrincione’s management specifically because of his reputation for “boosting the careers of black actresses such as Berry and in later years Taraji P. Henson, clients whose names and film achievements the women say he dangled before them as bait.”
No criminal allegations against Cirrincione have been made and none of the women have sought legal recourse.
Cirrincione issued a statement to the paper in which he took responsibility for pursuing consensual sexual relationships with some of his clients, but denied allegations that he demanded sexual favors in return for his representation.
“We live in a time where men are being confronted with a very real opportunity to take responsibility for their actions. I support this movement wholeheartedly. I have had female clients and employees my entire career in this industry. I have built a reputation for advancing the careers of women of color,” Cirrincione said.
“I have had affairs while in committed relationships, ones I am now ashamed to say are coming to light and shading my past and my reputation. I can say without a doubt that I have never used favors, sexual or otherwise, as a reason for managing anyone. I want to make it clear that not one of those relationships were anything but consensual.
“I take responsibility for my part in the situation and I am not here to diminish anyone’s feelings or experiences. I apologize to these women, my past and present partner, my clients and employees for the pain this is bringing them. I was under the impression I was living my life as a supportive man to women. It is with a heavy heart that I see now I was wrong.”
Berry, who has been outspoken in her support of the women’s movement, said in a statement that she ended her relationship with Cirrincione after learning of a misconduct allegation against him three years ago.
“Over three years ago, a woman was on the radio saying that Halle Berry’s manager was her worst casting couch experience ever,” she said. “That news literally stopped me in my tracks. I immediately confronted Vince about it, and he denied it completely. But even with his denial, something didn’t feel right in my spirit, and with the possibility that it could be true, I immediately ended our over-25-year relationship.”
Cirrincione continues to manage Henson, who told the Post that she never witnessed any of his alleged inappropriate behavior. “I’ve never had any issue with this on any level,” she said. “He totally respected me.”
Henson added that she regards Cirrincione as a “father figure” who at times paid for her rent, child-care fees, and even her son’s school tuition.
“He saw a single mother trying to make her dreams come true, and he nurtured that,” Henson said. “He wrote checks and wouldn’t ask for anything in return. It wasn’t coming from a creepy place. If anything, it empowered me. Like this man believes in me. I love him for that.”
She also denied that Cirrincione was a “gatekeeper” for actresses of color. “He is always brutally honest with me about black women’s space in this industry. I just looked to him as a man who understood the black woman’s plight in the industry. I never looked at him as a magical, mythical creature,” she explained.
Henson added, “He would say: ‘I did this with Halle, because I know how the game is played. We have to carve your own lane. You have a voice out here. He didn’t sugarcoat how hard it is here for us. We just have to keep fighting, and one day the doors will open.”
Cirrincione has also been Henson’s producing partner, and her publicist, Pam Sharp, is Cirrincione’s longtime girlfriend.