Shock, disgust, and shame — that’s how one of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers described her experience of allegedly being trapped by the movie mogul as he engaged in a sexual act.
TV reporter Lauren Sivan discussed the details of the incident Monday morning in an appearance on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today.” Kelly opened the show by declaring “He’s out” as pictures of Weinstein scrolled on the talk show set’s LED screens.
Sivan has joined a growing list of accusers who have come forward since last Thursday when the New York Times published an extensive report detailing decades of allegations that the veteran movie mogul sexually harassed women, from actresses to secretaries and script readers. Weinstein was fired Sunday night from the company he co-founded with his brother, Bob Weinstein, in 2005 as a result of the mushrooming scandal.
Sivan described the decade-old incident in which she met Weinstein at a party at a New York restaurant in which he was an investor. At the time she was an anchor for News 12 Long Island; at present she is an anchor for Fox O&O KTTV Los Angeles.
Sivan said Weinstein lured her to the restaurant’s kitchen and tried to kiss her. When she rebuffed that advance, he allegedly blocked her passage in a narrow corridor while he masturbated, according to Sivan.
“I just stood there dumbfounded,” Sivan said. “I could not believe what I was witnessing.” She recalled thinking that he was “disgusting and kind of pathetic.” The lengthy apology that Weinstein issued in a statement after the Times report hit was “the last straw” that made Sivan come forward with her story because she felt he showed “no remorse.”
Kelly said at start of the interview that she has been friendly with Sivan for years, and she also noted that she has known Weinstein for some time. Last year, Kelly’s disclosure that she endured sexual harassment from former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes helped speed the ouster of one of the most powerful figures in media.
Sivan told Kelly that after she rejected his kiss, Weinstein told her: “Well then just stand there and be quiet.” Earlier in the evening at the party, Sivan said she’d enjoyed a lively conversation with the famed producer about politics and presidential history, among other topics. He then invited her to take a tour of the restaurant’s kitchen.
“The most demeaning part of it all was that 20 minutes earlier he was having this great conversation with me,” she said. “I felt so great and flattered by it. And then to be told ‘stand there and be quiet’ negated any warm feelings.”
Sivan said she was shocked by “the casualness” of his actions. Amid her dismay, she wondered if she’d managed to send him the wrong signal of her interest in him.
“There’s that feeling of shame,” Sivan said. “Perhaps I did something to give him the wrong impression.”
Sivan said she decided not to go public with the story because she was in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend and didn’t want to disrupt her life. “I was lucky enough to never have to work with [Weinstein] again,” she said.
The day after the incident, Sivan said Weinstein called her at the News 12 studio and asked if he could see her again. She recalled telling him “absolutely not” and she quickly hung up.