One of Harvey Weinstein’s most prominent accusers spoke out on CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday morning.
Lauren Sivan, a Los Angeles-based reporter at KTTV, told anchor Alisyn Camerota about the alleged harassment. Sivan previously worked with Camerota at Fox News.
Sivan alleges she was harassed by Weinstein in 2007 at a party at a New York City restaurant where he was an investor. At the event he allegedly brought Sivan into the restaurant’s kitchen and tried to kiss her. When she refused, she said, he blocked a narrow passage leading to an exit and began to masturbate.
She said that while she didn’t go public with the story until recently, she never kept it a secret.
“I had told this story over the years to many, many people,” Sivan said. “Anyone who brought up his name, anyone who said they had any dealings with him, I would tell this story. This wasn’t a dark secret I was keeping.”
The reporter said that she never went public because “your name is out there, your name is forever linked to this incident.”
Three women accused Weinstein of rape in a story published Tuesday by The New Yorker, and others have accused him of assault and other misconduct. He was fired from the movie studio that bears his name.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein denied the rape allegations in a statement provided to CNN.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” the statement read. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
Sivan came forward Friday after reading accounts from other women and feeling dissatisfied with Weinstein’s response.
Sivan called his apology “absurd” and defended the other alleged victims: “He called them liars. He said the allegations were patently false against him. I knew otherwise. I knew what kind of guy he was.”
“Part of me felt guilty,” she admitted about her state of mind at the time of the incident. “I thought maybe I had given him that impression somehow earlier in the evening. Maybe I flirted; maybe I laughed too much.”
Sivan continued, “I was terrified when it first happened. I didn’t want anyone to know about this publicly. I just wanted to go along living my life. I wanted to pretend it never happened and hopefully never see him again. Because Harvey Weinstein wielded so much power — and I’m not even an actress in Hollywood — I thought one phone call from Harvey Weinstein, I could have lost my job. I could have been prevented from getting hired somewhere else if he wanted to do that.”
Camerota said, “You and I have been here before,” referencing her own story. Camerota said she was harassed by former head of Fox News Roger Ailes, who asked her for a personal relationship in exchange for more career opportunities. When she declined Ailes’s advances, she said he retaliated against her with bullying remarks about her presentation of the news. Attorneys for Ailes, who died in May 2017, denied the allegations.
Camerota noted that their situations were similar in that it took other alleged victims coming forward before “the flood gates opened” and the men accused were brought down. Specifically, she credited former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson with being the first woman to speak out about Ailes’s alleged harassment of female employees. Carlson filed a lawsuit in July 2016, and though Ailes denied any wrongdoing, numerous accusers came out in the following days and he left the cable news giant later that month.
“Do you feel that we are at some sort of inflection point in the culture in terms of coming forward about things like this?” Camerota asked.
“I hope so,” Sivan responded. “I hope there’s a tipping point.”