Yet another woman in Hollywood has come forward with sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
Actress and screenwriter Louisette Geiss said in a press conference with high-profile attorney Gloria Allred that Weinstein tried to force her to watch him masturbate while she was pitching a movie at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008.
“We went to his office and had a great conversation about his current film and about the film I was pitching,” Geiss said in a statement. “He seemed genuinely interested in the script I had co-written. After 30 minutes he excused himself to go to the bathroom.”
“He returned in a robe with the front open, buck-naked,” she went on. “He told me to keep talking about my film and that he was going to get into his hot tub which was in the room adjacent to his office, steps away. I kept talking as he got into the hot tub. When I finished my pitch, he asked me to watch him masturbate. I told him I was leaving. He quickly got out of the hot tub. As I went to get my purse to leave, he grabbed my forearm and pulled me to his bathroom and pleaded with me to watch him masturbate. My heart was racing and I was very scared.”
During the press conference, Allred said that she’s hoping to enter into arbitration with Weinstein. “If, as in when, he chooses to allow a process where there can be justice for him and for persons who allege they are victims, I think that will go a long way to helping to restore his reputation,” she said. “So I find that to be in his own self-interest for the future, and in addition, in the interest for the persons who allege they are victims, because there would be due process for both.”
Geiss is only the latest to go public with a damning story about an encounter with Harvey Weinstein. Last Thursday, the New York Times published an exposé detailing “dozens” of incidences of sexual harassment by Weinstein. The article and ensuing controversy caused Weinstein to be fired from his own company on Sunday.
The scandal escalated even more when, on Tuesday, the New Yorker published a bombshell report alleging that Weinstein sexually assaulted multiple women. Following that report, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie went public to the New York Times, saying that Weinstein sexually harassed them at points in their careers.
Allred’s daughter, Lisa Bloom, was previously advising Weinstein as the revelations came to light. She resigned last week, however, following significant backlash from women’s groups and Allred herself, who said she would have declined to represent Weinstein but “would consider representing anyone who accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual harassment, even if it meant that my daughter was the opposing counsel.”
Near the end of Tuesday’s press conference, Allred issued a warning to other men who might sexually harass women on the job. “The old adage of ‘never underestimate a woman’ could never be truer than it is today, especially if that woman is someone is someone seeking employment, or seeking to retain their employment,” she said. “Because there are many lawyers who will help them and advise them in reference to what they can do if they are sexually harassed on the job.”