Another woman, Sarah Ann Masse, has come forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Masse, an actress, comedian, and writer, shared her story with Variety amidst the aftermath of a New Yorker article on Tuesday that alleged that Weinstein had sexually assaulted multiple women, following the New York Times exposé that detailed “dozens” of alleged occurrences of sexual harassment by the former mogul.
Masse’s experience with Weinstein occurred in 2008, she told Variety. At the time, she worked as a nanny to support herself as she pursued an acting career in New York City. She said that her agency notified her of a job to babysit Weinstein’s three children (from his first marriage to his former assistant Eve Chilton) when he had them for the week (by this time, he had divorced Chilton and gotten remarried to soon-to-be-ex-wife Georgina Chapman).
“I first had a few pre-interviews with his assistants, who were nice young women,” Masse said. “It was on my resume that I was an actor. I was open about that from the beginning. But I also told them that I don’t use my nanny work as an opportunity to try to advance my acting career. I keep them separate.”
After about a month of pre-interviews, Masse said she was informed that Weinstein wanted to meet her. “They arranged for me to go to his house in Connecticut, so I drove out there.” When she arrived, she said, “Harvey Weinstein opened the door in his boxer shorts and an undershirt. My first thought was, ‘Oh, this is weird. Maybe he forgot this interview is happening. Maybe he thought I was the mailman. I’m sure he’ll be embarrassed and excuse himself and get changed.’ But he didn’t.”
She said that Weinstein had her sit down in his room and conducted the rest of the interview in his underwear. As a young actress, meeting Weinstein already intimidated Masse, she explained, but his behavior made her feel particularly strange. “I tried to tell myself it was just an odd quirk, that it was fine, and to keep going with the interview.”
As Weinstein continued to ask Masse standard interview questions, she said that two of his children ran into the room, curious to see who was visiting. “No one else was home, except for the kids,” she said. “He screamed at them to get out of his room and told them to not come back into the room until I had left, which I thought was really weird because I’ve interviewed for a lot of nanny jobs and [the parents] were always eager for me to meet the children and see how I interacted with them. He had this big burst of anger. I knew he had a reputation for being tough and intimidating, but I still thought it was odd.”
Masse said that eventually, Weinstein asked, “So, I know you’re an actor. How do you think that works with being a nanny? Do you think it’s a conflict?” She responded no, explaining that while she wants to be honest about pursuing acting down the line, she would never conduct herself during a nanny job in any way to try to advance my career. “Then he said, ‘Okay,’ smiled at me, and said, ‘You would never flirt with my friends or anyone to get ahead?’ And I said absolutely not, I would never feel comfortable with that.”
After asking a few more basic questions, the interview ended. When she got up to go, expecting a handshake, Masse said Weinstein instead grabbed her and “gave me this really tight, close hug that lasted for quite a long period of time. He was still in his underwear. Then he told me he loved me. I left right after that.” Masse said she left feeling uncomfortable, but since it was her first time meeting someone so powerful in the industry, she didn’t know how executives in the entertainment business typically conducted themselves. “I thought, ‘Gosh, maybe this is just how they treat everyone… Maybe it’s just that Hollywood schmooze thing.’ But I just didn’t feel right about it.”
A couple days later, Weinstein’s assistant got back to Masse, who remembers hearing, “Harvey’s not going to hire you because you’re an actor.” She responded, “‘Oh, that’s fine, I just think that’s weird because I was honest with you guys from the beginning that I was an actor.’ And [Weinstein’s assistant] was like, ‘Yeah, I know, but he just changed his mind.'” From then on, Masse said, “It felt like I dodged a bullet.”
Weinstein’s camp has not yet responded to Variety‘s request for comment.
Masse said she felt empowered to share her story after other women came forward with their encounters with him. She added that an incident on Tuesday, when she was physically assaulted by a man in Europe, gave her the final push to contact Variety and add her story to the narrative.
A few months before the Harvey Weinstein incident, Masse said she was raped by an actor. “I haven’t publicly outed him for the same reason. We work in the same industry and I see time and time again when women speak out and nobody believes them. Then they start dragging your name to the mud and trying to destroy your character and reputation. It’s a fine line to walk of wanting to be honest and wanting to warn other women about the predators that are out there, but not having to go through the trauma of reliving your experiences and having people call you a liar.”
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