The professional dancer hired as a body double for “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” testifying against Harvey Weinstein on Friday said she never got to shoot the one scene she traveled to Puerto Rico for because the producer ordered her off the set, whisked her away in a limo and raped her at a Ritz Carlton while she was supposed to be filming.
The witness, known as “Ashley M.” at trial, was testifying for a second day in a Los Angeles criminal court. She was just the second of eight women whose stories will be heard, and as a “prior bad acts” witness, hers is not one of the cases for which Weinstein is charged.
The day before, Ashley M. described how, arriving to the set alone for a dance scene as a body-double for the film’s lead, someone told her that “Harvey’s going to like you.” When the then-Miramax head and film’s producer arrived, he immediately asked her about a “naked massage,” tracked her down later for a “meeting,” ordered her to get in his limo with a female assistant, and minutes later was sexually assaulting her in his hotel room while she was in crying hysterics.
“I felt really violated. Part of me was still emotional, part of me was really upset,” she said. Having gone through the ordeal with Weinstein and missed her only call-time, she says she went home the following day.
“I was just a wreck and crying and just wanting to go home and talk to my mom. In my head I’m just wanting to get out,” she said.
On cross-examination, Weinstein defense attorney Mark Werksman asked her about her first conversation with Weinstein, when she testified that he suggested she give him a “naked massage.”
“He made it pretty clear he wanted to have sex with you?” Werksman said.
She responded, “I told him I was engaged and said I have to be on set.”
Werksman pressed Ashley M. on why she followed Harvey’s aggressive order to “go to Bonnie” [Bonnie Hung, Weinstein’s assistant] and get in his car when she was already feeling apprehensive.
“I just basically did what I thought he wanted to do,” she said, adding that she believed because Bonnie – who had assured her it was only to be a work meeting – was there she would be OK.
Werksman said in his opening statements that Weinstein’s accusers were all out to advance their careers – and he pressed Ashley M. on that matter, too.
“I really had no interest in being an actress,” she said. “I spent my life dancing and doing ballet, I was engaged and I wanted to possibly start a family. [My career] was not a focal part of my life.”
Werksman asked why she felt it was OK to go with Weinstein at a moment when her scene was about to be shot.
“I assumed he’s in charge and everyone answers to him,” she replied. “I figured he’d arranged something.”
She said Weinstein called her once sometime after the assault – though she says she never gave him or Bonnie Hung her phone number – to offer her a part. “I vaguely remember something about the movie ‘Damn Yankees’,” she said, adding that she declined it, and never worked with Weinstein again.
Earlier, Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez asked Ashley M. about running into Weinstein years later at a pre-Oscars party, which she attended with her then-husband, a well-known director whom Weinstein told Ashley M. he knew – just hours before allegedly pinned her on the hotel room bed, tore off her shirt and fondled her naked breasts while he masturbated. (Ashley M. testified that she called her then-fiancee, both before the assault, when she was feeling threatened by Weinstein, and afterward, telling him only part of what happened.)
Martinez asked Ashley M. what the couple did when they saw Weinstein coming. Ashley M. made a sharp gesture with her right arm and said, “We quickly ran the other way.”
Once she was excused from the stand, prosecutors called the director Charlie Matthau, Ashley M.’s fiancee at the time, and now ex-husband, though he testified that the two are still friends. Matthau corroborated their many phone calls, saying she was concerned about Weinstein before the assault, and “in shock” afterwards.
Weinstein faces 11 charges of sexual assault from allegations spanning from 2004-2013. The trial is expected to last into December after a two-week jury selection process seated a panel last Thursday of nine men and three women. Weinstein could face up to 140 years in prison if convicted.
He is already serving 23 years in a New York prison for criminal first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape, a conviction he has been granted the right to appeal. Weinstein has maintained his innocence since the New York Times first published accusations against him five years ago this month.
Testimony was to resume Friday afternoon.