A US actor on Thursday testified against former film producer Harvey Weinstein at a court in New York in connection with the rape charges against him, AP reported.
The actor, best known for her role in the TV drama Sopranos said Weinstein had overpowered and raped her in her apartment in the mid-1990s. She described how he had barged into her apartment, threw her on a bed and then forced himself on her even as she tried to fight him off.
“It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake in a way that was very unusual,” the actor said, according to AFP. “I didn’t really even know what was happening. He got on top of me and he raped me.” She described the other sexual acts he forced her to perform and said: “I didn’t have very much fight left inside me at this point. My body just shut down.”
She confronted him about a month later when she ran into him, the actor said. “That’s what all the nice Catholic girls say,” she recalled Weinstein telling her then, adding that he also threatened her and told her that this should remain between the two of them. “His eyes went black and I thought he was going to hit me right there,” she testified. He also showed up uninvited at a hotel room in his underwear and with baby oil and a videotape one time, and made several other crude overtures, she said.
The actor added that the rape left her traumatised and that she began drinking and cutting herself after that. When the prosecutor asked why she did not call the police at the time, the actor said she was confused. “He was someone I knew,” she said. “I felt at the time that rape was something that happened in a back alleyway in a dark place.”
“At the time, I didn’t understand that that was rape,” she said, adding that she went public with her allegations only in October 2017 because she was “afraid for her life”.
The actor is the first of Weinstein’s accusers to testify at his trial. He is charged with forcibly performing a sexual act on a woman in 2006 and raping another in 2013. Weinstein has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 70 women but this trial in New York only relates to two women. The Sopranos actor’s attack is not a part of the trial because it is too old to be included in the charges. However, prosecutors are hoping to prove with the testimony of this actor and three other accusers the charge of predatory sexual assault against Weinstein.
The 67-year-old former Hollywood studio boss, who was arrested in May 2018, could get life imprisonment if convicted. Prosecutors in Los Angeles charged Weinstein with sexually assaulting two more women. The trial in New York is expected to go on till March.
The allegations of sexual assault were first reported by The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017, which led to the #MeToo and Times Up movements. The movements sought to expose sexual harassment and assault, especially at workplace.
Since the allegations against Weinstein became public, several people from within the American film industry and outside accused actors and directors such as Dustin Hoffman, Brett Ratner, Geoffrey Rush, Ryan Seacrest, Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman of misconduct.