Former actress Heather Kerr today described being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, becoming the latest of more than 40 women who have accused the disgraced producer of sexual harassment, assault or rape.
Speaking at a press conference Friday at the Los Angeles offices of her attorney Gloria Allred, Kerr said she was an aspiring actress in 1989 when she was working for an entertainment business manager, one of whose clients was Weinstein. During a private meeting, she said, he asked her if she was good in bed, and then pulled out his penis and forced her hand onto it.
Allred said Kerr is one of several alleged victims to have reached out to the high-profile lawyer since allegations of decades of sexual harassment and assault came to light in reports two weeks ago in The New York Times and New Yorker. On October 10, she held a similar presser for Louisette Geiss, who recounted an incident with Weinstein at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
Weinstein’s reps have said he “unequivocally denies allegations of non-consensual sex.”
It’s one of two planned pressers involving Weinstein accusers today. Lawyers for the woman who accused Harvey Weinsetin of sexual assault in 2013 are speaking later this afternoon. The LAPD said yesterday it is investigating that claim.
Kerr recounted today that “Harvey called the office almost every day and I would answer the phones. He would ask me questions about myself and I would tell him that I was an actress, pursuing acting as a professional career,” she said. “He offered to meet with me and I asked my boss what he thought. He told me that I should definitely meet with Harvey because he could help me out in the film industry.”
She said they arranged a meeting at an office in Westwood. “I arrived and a person who appeared to be a secretary was leaving. She gave me a look like ‘I hope you’re ready for this.’ It was unsettling.”
Weinstein then called her into his office, she said, and told her to sit on the couch. He then proceeded to tell her “how things work in Hollywood.” Then he asked her if she was “good.”
“I started to tell him about my training and acting experience and he said, ‘No. I need to know if you are good.’ He said that if he was going to introduce me around town to directors and producers he needed to know if I was any ‘good.’ He kept repeating that word.”
She says she offered to provide him with her acting reel, and that “he had this sly, sleazy smile on his face.”
“I started to get a sick feeling in my stomach,” she said. “The next thing I knew, he had unzipped his fly and pulled out his penis. My heart started pounding. My mind started racing. How do I deal with this? Am I going to get out of this? How is this happening? He then grabbed my hand and pulled me towards him and forced my hand onto his penis and held it there. I was frozen with fear.”
She said she started rambling about being late for a rehearsal and “pulled my hand away as casually as possible.”
“He told me that this is how things worked in Hollywood and that all of the actresses that had made it had made it this way,” she said today. “He said, ‘Name anyone. Any actress you can think of and this is how they made it.’ He told me that first I’d have sex with him and then he would take me to parties and show me who I needed to sleep with after that, but that he first needed to know ‘how good’ I was.”
She says she got up and slowly backed out of the room, thanking him for his time. “I closed the door behind me and rushed to the elevator, which seemed to take forever, terrified that he would come after me and force me into his office.”
On the Monday following that “Friday nightmare with Harvey Weinstein,” she said, she quit her job and soon quit acting. She said she’s hasn’t spoken up until now because “I didn’t think anyone would believe me.”
Allred told a conference room packed with reporters that in light of all that’s come out recently about sexual harassment, “the balance of power has shifted in Hollywood. There have been and will continue to be serious career, financial and potentially criminal consequences for men who sexually harass women.”