A Harvey Weinstein accuser has just released a video to Sky News of their first encounter in his New York offices, just hours before she says the Hollywood mogul raped her in a hotel room.
Melissa Thompson, 28, recorded the September 2011 meeting as part of her demonstration of a new video platform her tech startup was pitching to the Weinstein Company. She was scheduled to be meeting the marketing team, but Weinstein arrived alone and told the other staff not to interrupt them, before locking the door.
The video then shows him rejecting Thompson’s offer of a handshake and instead hugging her and rubbing her back.
Throughout the meeting, Weinstein is seen repeatedly stroking Thompson’s arm and touching her.
He opens their meeting by asking: “Am I allowed to flirt with you?” to which Thompson replies “a little bit.”
The producer quickly agrees to use Thompson’s company’s technology, while telling her “You’re hot.”
At one point, he directly harasses Thompson: “Let me have a little part of you. Can you give it to me?”
In an interview with Sky News, Thompson says he then put his hand up her dress.
The video only captures the pair from the waist up, so you can’t see Weinstein’s hands at this point, but Thompson looks visibly uncomfortable and says: “That’s a little high. That’s a little high.”
Attempting to laugh off Weinstein’s constant advances, Thompson jokes: “Data is hot, right?”
Weinstein then arranges to meet Thompson in the Tribeca Grand hotel a couple of hours later.
According to Thompson, that’s where Weinstein led her to his hotel room and raped her.
“If I would try to fight myself away from him, he would then move around to where he could block me in somewhere — and he’s a big individual,” Thompson told Sky News. “I constantly felt trapped, no matter where I turned.”
Thompson rejected the accusation that she had led Weinstein on, saying she had worked on Wall Street previously but had “never met anyone that I couldn’t handle until Harvey Weinstein. We don’t have to live with being raped when we think we’re going to a business meeting.”
Weinstein’s lawyer Ben Brafman told AP that the video shows there is “nothing forceful” and describes what is shown in the video as “casual, if not awkward, flirting from both parties.”
Thompson’s allegations form part of a class action lawsuit against Weinstein, but she is not among the three women Weinstein has been charged with sexually assaulting in New York.
Brafman alleged Thompson’s video was published “to bolster her position in a civil lawsuit seeking money. This is a further attempt to publicly disgrace Mr. Weinstein for financial gain, and we will not stand for it. Facts do matter.”
Dozens of women have accused the Hollywood mogul of rape, sexual assault and harassment. Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex and has pleaded not guilty to six charges against him in New York. Several ongoing investigations in the U.S. and U.K. are looking into allegations against Weinstein.
Cover image: In this July 9, 2018 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives to court in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)