Kenyan-born Hollywood sensation Lupita Nyong’o has become a role model to a lot of young women, especially African girls.
Lupita, a renowned Hollywood actress, made history when she won the coveted Oscar’s award in 2014. Many upcoming actors and actresses from around the world now look up to her as a symbol of success.
But like many emerging talents in Hollywood, Lupita has suffered her fair share of discrimination and harassment. Last week, the celebrated actress came out to narrate how a renowned Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, sexually harassed her while she was still in college.
In a lengthy statement published by the New York Times on Thursday, the Kenyan-American actress recounted how Mr. Weinstein made sexual advances on her for several years, promising to help her establish a successful career in Hollywood.
She remembered one incident that happened in Weinstein’s house where he had invited her to watch, together with his family members, a film he had produced.
“Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage. I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe,” Lupita narrated.
“I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one [massage] instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.”
Although she was able to walk away from the incident safely, the unwelcomed sexual advances didn’t stop. In fact she says that Mr. Weinstein became more direct in his advances, even telling her that she had to sleep with him if she wanted to be a successful actress.
“He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them,” she recounted.
It Wasn’t Me
But in a quick rejoinder, the Hollywood Mogul has refuted claims that he made sexual advances on Lupita, alleging that she is the one who invited him to New York to watch her Broadway show “Eclipsed”.
However, Ms. Nyong’o is just one of more than 40 women who have recently come out to accuse Mr. Weinstein of sexual harassment, majority of them Hollywood actresses.
Although Weinstein, who is currently undergoing a sex-addiction rehabilitation program, had initially denied these claims, he recently issued a statement apologizing for his unbecoming behavior.
“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it,” he said, after more women came forward with the same accusations against him.
In her accounts, Lupita says her encounters with Mr. Weinstein left her feeling alone and confused, opting to keep quiet.
“But now that this is being discussed openly, I have not been able to avoid the memories resurfacing. I have felt sick in the pit of my stomach,” she says.
Cases of sexual violence against actors and actresses in Hollywood are very common, with young and upcoming artists being the main target. Like Lupita Nyong’o, most victims choose to remain silent, often times blaming themselves for the violence.