Asia Argento describes treatment by producer Weinstein

Asia Argento. Photo by Getty Images

ROME - Italian actress Asia Argento revealed her terrifying treatment by Harvey Weinstein in an interview with The New Yorker this week. Weinstein has been the subject of rumours of assault and sexual harassment throughout his time in Hollywood, and multiple publications have attempted to expose the stories, but have found it extremely difficult to find willing interviewees. Argento is just one of the women who has decided to come forward and disclose her treatment by Weinstein.

 Harvey Weinstein is the co-founder of the production and distribution companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company, and has produced cult classics like ‘Pulp Fiction’. His works have earned more than three hundred Oscar nominations.

 The New Yorker reports that over a 10 month investigation, 13 women have claimed that, between the 1990s and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them. Reporter Ronan Farrow interviewed these women, and was told from three of them that Weinstein raped them. These allegations include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex, and forcing vaginal sex. Another four women have claimed that they experienced unwanted touching. Four of his interviewees described encounters in which Weinstein exposed himself or masturbated in front of them.

 Allegedly, Weinstein raped Argento by performing oral sex on her 20 years ago. She remained silent out of fear that he would ruin her career, as in her words “he has crushed a lot of people before.” Asia Argento worked with Weinstein on the crime drama ‘B.Monkey’, released in the U.S. in 1999. In what The New Yorker calls “long and often emotional interviews”, Argento has described a long and complicated relationship with Weinstein that initiated from forced oral sex. Argento detailed the shame she felt in not feeling comfortable enough to physically push him away, and that this incident led to continued relations in which she never felt secure. A scene in her 2000 movie ‘Scarlet Diva’ alludes to her relations in a hotel with Weinstein, and she reports that multiple women have come forward to claim that they recognised the terrifying man in the production as Weinstein, as they have had similar experiences.

 The New York Times revealed multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein, and consequently Weinstein was fired from his company. Above this, current and previous employees have described a culture of compliance at the company, where many were aware of his actions and in some cases aided him in meeting women alone.

 The spokesperson for Weinstein, Sallie Hofmeister, has claimed that “Mr Weinstein believes that all these relationships were consensual. Mr Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path.”