Former filmmaker Louisette Geiss has stepped forward as the latest accuser of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein.
Geiss said Weinstein asked her to watch him masturbate during a conversation about one of her films at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008 at a press conference at her attorney Gloria Allred’s offices in Beverly Hills Tuesday.
She said that she agreed to meet Weinstein at the restaurant hotel where they were both staying after the premiere of “Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden,” which she had attended at Weinstein’s invitation.
When they arrived at the restaurant, however, they were turned away because it was closing, and Weinstein suggested to meet in his office attached to his hotel room. Geiss said she was hesitant because she had heard rumors about Weinstein, and agreed to go to his office as long as he would shake her hand in agreement he would not touch her.
She said they ended up having a “great conversation” about her movie, and that he “seemed genuinely interested.” But after excusing himself to go to the bathroom, he returned wearing a robe. “He was buck naked,” Geiss said.
Geiss said he proceeded to ask her to watch him masturbate, and when she tried to leave, he grabbed her arm and led her to the bathroom, “pleading [she] watch him masturbate.”
Weinstein said he’d introduce her to Bob Weinstein and “green-light my script, but I had to watch him masturbate,” according to Geiss. On the verge of tears, she left, she recalled.
Geiss said Tuesday that the ’08 encounter with Weinstein is the reason she left the movie industry.
Allred said she has heard from several other women who allege they are victims of Weinstein’s unwanted advances, and that the statute of limitations for each alleged encounter has since expired. She said the women never filed claims because they were afraid Weinstein could “ruin their careers.”
Allred is “inviting [Weinstein] to agree to engage in an arbitration of these claims with these women” with an agreed upon retired judge.
“This proposal is similar to what I suggested to Bill Cosby,” Allred said. “He was not wise enough [to agree].” Allred continued to say that she thinks one day Weinstein will want to return to Hollywood, and agreeing to an arbitration could be a “positive step he could take to restore his battered reputation.”
Geiss’ accusation comes just after three more women said Weinstein raped them in a New Yorker piece published Tuesday morning.
In a long-anticipated story following a 10-month investigation, journalist Ronan Farrow wrote that he spoke with 13 women who detailed various levels of sexual assault by Weinstein over two decades.
“Three women — among them [actress Asia] Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans — told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex,” wrote Farrow.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie also came forward Tuesday with stories of sexual harassment from the mogul.
The New York Times published a report last week that Weinstein has been sexually harassing and assaulting actresses and female employees for decades, and since several more have come forward. You can see Hollywood’s reactions to the scandal here.