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Sarah Polley: Harvey Weinstein Is ‘Just One Festering Pustule in a Diseased Industry’

“Away From Her” director says disgraced mogul insinuated that having a “very close relationship” with him would lead to her success as an actress

Filmmaker Sarah Polley penned a devastating essay in the New York Times on Saturday about her encounter with Harvey Weinstein as a young actress and the ways that reflects on her experience in the film industry more broadly.

In the essay, titled “The Men You Meet Making Movies,” Polley describes a photo shoot to promote the Miramax film “Guinevere” suddenly being halted and being called to Weinstein’s hotel room for a meeting.

Polley, whose adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s “Alias Grace” will premiere on Netflix next month, said Weinstein insinuated that having a “very close relationship” with him would lead to her success as an actress. Uninterested in acting at the time, Polley declined.

“I indicated that he was wasting his time,” she wrote. “We probably wouldn’t be friends or have a ‘close relationship.’ I just didn’t care that much about an acting career. I loved acting, still do, but I knew, after 14 years of working professionally, that it wasn’t worth it to me, and the reasons were not unconnected to the tone of that meeting almost 20 years ago.”

She also described other encounters she had with men in the industry as a young actress in which she was “humiliated, violated [and] dismissed.”

“Harvey Weinstein may be the central-casting version of a Hollywood predator, but he was just one festering pustule in a diseased industry,” she wrote. “The only thing that shocked most people in the film industry about the Harvey Weinstein story was that suddenly, for some reason, people seemed to care.”

“I hope that when this moment of noisy sisterhood dissipates, it doesn’t end with a woman in a courtroom, being made to look crazy, as these stories so often do,” Polley continued. “I hope that the ways in which women are degraded, both obvious and subtle, begin to seem like a thing of the past.”