Paula Wachowiak, a now-62-year-old woman from Buffalo, N.Y., has come forward alleging that Harvey Weinstein exposed himself to her when she was an intern for Weinstein in 1980, making her case one of the oldest alleged instances of Weinstein’s misbehavior.
According to the Buffalo News, Wachowiak was working as a production assistant on Weinstein’s first film, “The Burning” at the time of the incident. She met Weinstein when she was 24 years old, a single mother, and was studying at the University of Buffalo. Weinstein was well-known in the Buffalo area as part of the booking duo Harvey & Corky, bringing A-list acts like The Rolling Stones and Cher to Buffalo.
After Wachowiak reached out to Weinstein to try and intern for Harvey & Corky, the producer offered her a PA gig on “The Burning,” working with the film’s accountant.
One day, Wachowiak was asked to take a bunch of checks in a manila folder to Weinstein’s hotel room to get them signed.
“When I got to Weinstein’s room he let me in but he was behind the door when it opened,” Wachowiak wrote in an email. “When I got into the room I realized that he was holding a hand towel around his waist.” She stated that she could tell he was naked under the towel.
“Relax, these are movie people,” she said she told herself. “They think nothing of walking around naked. Just keep your eyes on his face and don’t look down. And for God sake don’t let on that you want to run out of the room screaming.”
Wachowiak said Weinstein then dropped the towel after taking the manila folder from her, and was indeed nude. “He sat on the bed with the folder over his groin and pointed to checks and asked me why we were paying for this or that,” she said. Eventually, Weinstein asked her to massage a kink in his shoulder.
Wachowiak, who said she had dealt with unwanted advances before, told him “that’s not in my job description.” Weinstein tried to persuade her, but gave in and signed the checks. Wachowiak took the checks and left, bursting into tears after she closed the door. She said she reported the incident to the accountant and production supervisor, but continued her internship until it ended. She ran into Weinstein only once more during her tenure; he asked her, ”So, was seeing me naked the highlight of your internship?” she said. Wachowiak responded, “Actually, Harvey, I think you’re disgusting,” to which he laughed and walked away.
Wachowiak saw him once more, at the premiere of the film, where he expressed exasperation at her presence. Though she never told any reporters about the alleged harassment, she said she told friends many times over the years, and states that although it traumatized her at the time, she has moved past it.
Weinstein’s expulsion from the Motion Picture Academy yesterday is just the latest in a long line of repercussions for the ex-mogul stemming from a New York Times expose, which shed light on eight separate instances where women alleged sexual harassment by the producer and he settled out of court. Numerous women, from high-profile actresses like Angelina Jolie, to Italian models have come forward since.