“Harvey Weinstein told me he liked Chinese girls,” Rowena Chiu, who is herself of Chinese descent, wrote. “He liked them because they were discreet, he said — because they knew how to keep a secret. Hours later, he attempted to rape me.”
Chiu was hired by Weinstein in 1998 when she was fresh out of college, and claimed her alleged assault by Weinstein caused her to attempt suicide twice. According to her op-ed, the alleged assault happened in a hotel room at the Venice Film Festival during a meeting which she thought was to discuss scripts and film production.
“I found myself pushed back against the bed. I’d worn two pairs of tights for protection, and tried to appease him by taking one of them off and letting him massage me, but it hadn’t worked,” Chiu wrote. “Harvey moved in: ‘Please, he told me, just one thrust, and it will all be over.’”
She said she managed to escape the situation and the room and thinks that she was able to do so because her boss believed he would have another chance with her in the future.
“Harvey thought there would be another night to play the game, and half the fun was the chase — the opportunity to prolong a situation in which he could exert power,” she added.
She also alleged that Weinstein told colleague Zelda Perkins that he wouldn’t harass Chiu because he doesn’t “do Chinese or Jewish girls,” and claimed that, prior to her alleged sexual assault, he told her that “he’d never had a Chinese girl.”
Chiu also wrote about the cultural dynamics at play in her allegedly toxic relationship with the mega-producer.
“I learned the social benefits of being deferential, polite and well-behaved,” Chiu wrote of her upbringing. “As with many Asian women, this meant that I was visible as a sex object, invisible as a person. Harvey may not have created this imbalance, but he and many others have capitalized on it, knowingly or unknowingly, to abuse women of color.”
According to Chiu’s op-ed, she told her colleague Perkins about what had occurred in Venice; both women then attempted to report Weinstein’s alleged behavior but were thwarted multiple times.
“The message was always the same,” she wrote. “Who would ever believe us over the most powerful man in Hollywood?”
She said they went as far as hiring a law firm to represent them, but that backfired too.
“We had wanted to report Harvey to his superiors; instead, we were pressured into signing a nondisclosure agreement that prevented us from speaking to family and friends, and made it extremely difficult to work with a therapist or a lawyer, or to aid a criminal investigation.”
Even when the levees broke two years ago and over 90 women began accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault, Chiu was still too terrified to speak. She explained, “Remaining silent had become integral to my identity, both as a woman and a person of color.”
It was Christine Blasey Ford speaking out against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in September 2018, September 2018, 20 years after her alleged assault by Weinstein, that prompted Chiu to consider sharing her own story. Eventually she met with a group that included Ford, and was organized by New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. She later agreed to participate in the reporters’ book She Said and even appeared on Today.
Weinstein has refuted Chiu’s claims, saying they had a consensual relationship, which she denies.
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