The ickiness just keeps on coming.
Ever since The New York Times wrote the bombshell article exposing Harvey Weinstein‘s sexual harassment and sexual misconduct towards women earlier this month, more and more revelations from actresses across the globe have been coming to light.
So far, more than 30 women including the likes of Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosanna Arquette have shared their respective experiences, which range from rape to tales of nudity, unwanted advances, massages and threats to their careers if they didn’t comply with the powerful producer’s wishes.
As of Monday morning one more actress is adding her name to that list: Lauren Holly.
The Canadian star, who rose to fame with films like Dumb & Dumber and shows like Picket Fences, appeared on The Social (weekdays at 1 p.m. E.T., on CTV) in order to share her own encounter with Weinstein. Holly–who has appeared on the talk show numerous times over the past few years–confided that she didn’t want to “chase” a publication or use a “quiet” voice on social media, and wanted a safe, familiar space like the show to share her experience in full.
“There’s a few important things I want to make clear,” she began after explaining her reasoning for contacting the show. “This happened in the late 1990s; I was in my 30s. I was not a young ingénue and I was certainly not new to Hollywood, I was a seasoned, Hollywood person. I had been working there a lot, I was well known, I was not an innocent young girl that had just come there.”
“I was in my 30s. I was not a young ingénue and I was certainly not new to Hollywood.”
Holly went on to explain that she had worked for Weinstein on the film Beautiful Girls, and that she was used to interacting with him socially and on a personal level. So when she was asked to meet him in a hotel room to discuss her future with his company, she had no qualms about making the meeting, noting that hotel room business meetings are fairly standard in the industry.
“Everything seemed normal when I walked into the room. He had a big, silver bucket of champagne in the living room part of the suite and my first thought was, ‘Oh my God, I’m really important. Harvey Weinstein has champagne for me, this is very exciting. I think I’m going to make more movies with him,'” Holly said.
“Everything was absolutely normal, professional from the get go. We sat down, had a glass of champagne and had small talk. He mentioned to me that he had a big, whirlwind press tour coming up, he was going to be travelling a lot and then he asked to be excused.”
When Weinstein came back to the room dressed in a hotel bathrobe, that’s when everything changed. He kept up the professional banter, telling Holly about the various projects he had going on and what she might be a good fit for. All the while he made up an excuse about packing and asked her to follow him into the bedroom.
“He dropped his robe, went into the bathroom in front of me and began to use the toilet. All the time talking. At this point my head was exploding.”
“It had become the meat of the conversation at this point. [The talk] never stopped, you have to understand this. He dropped his robe, went into the bathroom in front of me and began to use the toilet. All the time talking. At this point my head was exploding,” she said. “He keeps the conversation going, he finishes, he turns on the shower, he gets in the shower he’s continually talking to me, he’s in the shower washing himself. Leaning out, asking me for responses. My head is going crazy at this point. He’s acting like the situation is normal. He’s acting like we’re having a normal encounter. I’m thinking to myself, ‘Am I just a prude? Am I supposed to be more open minded?’ I didn’t quite know how to handle myself at that moment.”
According to the actress, when Weinstein got out of the shower he dried off and came towards her naked, and that’s when she got really scared.
“He told me I looked stressed. He said that maybe he thought I could use a massage. Maybe I could give him a massage,” she recalled. “I began sort of babbling like I was a child. I think it was fear. I said, ‘I don’t know how to give a massage, I don’t have a massage license. Maybe if I called the front desk I could get a masseuse to come here.’ I didn’t know what to do, honestly. And then he began to get angry. And I began to get really afraid to be honest. I had to get out of there.”
Perhaps the producer picked up on that fear, because at that point Holly says that he told her if she did leave it would be a “bad decision” and that it would be bad for her career. That she needed to keep him as an ally.
“I pushed him and ran,” she told the audience, who burst out into applause.
But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t shaken — she still broke out in hives and and couldn’t stop crying. So when she arrived at a dinner party “given by some other sort of influential people in Hollywood” a little later on, they wondered whether she was okay.
She told them what had happened to her, and they immediately asked if he had touched her or if she was raped. When she said no, the response was as systemic as it gets.
“They said, ‘Then you need to keep your mouth shut because it’s Harvey Weinstein,'” Holly revealed.
Following that night, Holly wouldn’t comment on whether the incident impacted her career, but she did note that her roles began to trend more towards television. She also noted that at one point while she was in Toronto filming a miniseries years later Weinstein reached out again, saying they were staying in the same hotel and he wanted to meet up.
Holly avoided him at all costs, even going in and out of the back door of the hotel so as to hopefully never run into him.
“I felt like he was dangling that freeze out,” she noted.
The Social marked the first time Holly has come forward publicly with her encounter, something she says she felt she needed to do in part because she has three sons of her own and she wants them to grow up to not be men like that.
“They have to realize how they treat women. My youngest is 13 years old and he’s already six feet tall; I want him to be gentle and I want him to be respectful,” she said. “They knew I was upset this last week, and they saw pictures of the women who came forward and my son said, ‘Mom you should be there.’ And I said, ‘I know and I’m going to be. I’m going to speak up for myself.'”
Well we are glad that she did. The more women that come forward like this, hopefully the more things will change. Holly seems to agree with that, ending her conversation with these haunting words:
“Things need to change. Harvey Weinsten is our sacrificial beast.”
And the saga continues…
Catch The Social, weekdays at 1 p.m. E.T., on CTV