Following the watershed of sexual misconduct revelations, The Hollywood Reporter interviewed nine of the women who came forward with their accusations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein, a longtime pillar of the film industry, fell from grace almost instantly after The New York Times published a massive exposé of his alleged abuses on October 5. Since the Times published its story, even more women have come forward with stories of sexual harassment at the hands of Weinstein — right now, his list of accusers stands at 83 women.
The article, written and reported by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, introduced a new era: the era of believing women. THR spoke to Mira Sorvino, Natasha Henstridge, Louise Godbold, Lauren Sivan, Katherine Kendall, Larissa Gomes, Alice Evans, Dominique Huett, and Sarah Ann Masse about the lasting effects of coming forward with their stories. Almost all of them expressed a feeling of relief after coming forward. It's as if they finally broke the fourth wall and started talking directly to the audience.
"When this story broke, it was the first time I realized I wasn't alone," says Masse, whom THR notes is an actress and nanny.
Dominique Huett, who is suing the Weinstein Company after an alleged 2010 assault by the disgraced producer, said she felt a "shift" in the culture. "I feel like there has been a little bit of a shift where these women are being believed," she said, adding "Once the story was published I felt like that set the foundation."
Larissa Gomes noted that she'd been able to take comfort in the fact that most of Weinstein's accusers have similar stories. "It's strangely comforting to know that other women had very similar experiences — everything down to the end where he would still try at the very last moment when you're at the door, saying goodbye, holding the door kind of closed, and he'd be just making one last attempt, you know?" she said.
"The stories started coming, and you realize you're not the only one, and you start accepting that you've actually been victimized," explained Natasha Henstridge, an actress. "I don't like being a victim, or the idea of people thinking of me as weak. But to be a victim doesn't mean you're weak, it means that somebody did something bad to you."
Weinstein has denied any accusations of nonconsensual sex.
The women interviewed by THR are only a fraction of Weinstein's accusers. And, Weinstein was only the first of many powerful men to find themselves being held accountable for alleged sexual misconduct. Since the Times published its exposé of Weinstein, Matt Lauer was forced to leave The Today Show, Amazon executive Roy Price was suspended from the company, Netflix severed ties with Kevin Spacey, Warner Bros. ended its working relationship with Brett Ratner, and Louis C.K.'s movie I Love You Daddy was canceled — literally, the Orchard Films canceled the wide release.
The Weinstein effect made its way out of the entertainment industry, too. Journalists, CEOs, managers, and chefs all had to confront the fact that women were coming forward. The majority of Weinstein's accusers are actresses and those associated with the entertainment industry, but the women who have come forward with tales of sexual assault and harassment have ranged from chefs to writers to makeup artists and beyond. Weinstein's ousting inspired a renaissance of the "me too" hashtag, a social media campaign which allowed women and others to voice that they, too, had been a survivor of sexual assault. The world has finally began to listen.
Refinery29 has reached out to Weinstein for comment.
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