Melissa Sagemiller is the latest actress to join the chorus of women accusing former Hollywood powerhouse Harvey Weinstein of unwanted sexual advances.
Sagemiller told HuffPost that the once powerful movie producer, who earlier today was ousted from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, made three separate attempts to seduce her, even after the actress had rebuffed him.
The come-ons occurred in 2000, when Sagemiller was acting in “Get Over It,” a film distributed by Miramax Studio, which Weinstein managed at the time.
The film also starred Kirsten Dunst and Mila Kunis, whom Sagemiller suspects were left alone because they were underage at the time.
Sagemiller, who was then 24, recalled being told by an assistant that Weinstein wanted to have lunch with her in Toronto, where the movie was being filmed.
“I thought, ‘Oh, wow, the head of Miramax wants to take me to lunch — great!’” she said, adding that no one had warned her about the studio head’s behavior.
“I was prepped in that I’d heard he likes his leading ladies — that’s sort of the extent,” she said.
She described the meeting as flirty but normal until Weinstein took the actress — who at the time was an English major at the University of Virginia — to a bookstore where he said, “I’m going to buy you every Fitzgerald book in the bookstore, and I’m going to sign it to you, especially ‘The Last Tycoon’ because I am the last tycoon, and I‘m actually about to product the film, and it’s all about me, and you’re an English major — you’re so smart.”
Sagemiller said the advances continued during and even after the film’s production.
She said an assistant told her Weinstein wanted her to go to his hotel room so that the pair could discuss the film’s script.
“This is the horror of it all: You have another woman orchestrating this, knowing full well what is going to happen,” Sagemiller told HuffPost.
She said she was reluctant but ultimately visited Weinstein in his room.
“Immediately he had drinks. The script was on the kitchen counter. He was in his robe. He’s like, ‘Would you give me a massage,’” she said.
“I said, ‘Harvey, I’m here to discuss the script. I’m not going to give you a massage or any of that,’” Sagemiller told HuffPost.
Weinstein then used another familiar line on her.
“Ah, I have to take a shower; I just went to the gym,” the actress told HuffPost she recalled Weinstein saying.
“It was so gross,” she said.
Weinstein allegedly continued, saying, “Well, you’re not going to leave until you kiss me,” Sagemiller said.
She said Weinstein blocked the door to his hotel room, preventing her from leaving.
Sagemiller said Weinstein reminded her of “Jaba the Hutt.”
(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
“He just wouldn’t stop. It was relentless,” she said.
“And then he said, ‘Well, Renee did it and Charlize did it and this other actress did it. Don’t you want your career to be more than just this little teen film,’” she told HuffPost.
She said that she didn’t — and then Weinstein forced her to kiss him, she said.
“He said, ‘Well, you can’t leave until you kiss me.’ He literally would not let me leave,” she said.
Sagemiller said she kissed Weinstein, who she said reminded her of “Jabba the Hutt,” on the lips before slipping out of his hotel room.
He said, “Ok, you can go now. That’s all I wanted. Just do what I say and you can get your way,” Sagemiller said Weinstein told her.
“He was taking Accutane at the time, and his skin was peeling all over his face. His lips were peeling. He was like Jabba the Hutt. He was like a lizard that was molting. It was so disgusting,” she said.
Weinstein’s third and final attempt to coerce the young actress came after filming had been completed.
Sagemiller was scheduled to fly from Toronto to New York on a commercial flight, but Weinstein insisted she join him on his private plane.
She refused his offer, she said, and went to the airport to fly home separately, she told HuffPost.
She said she even called her agent at the time to say, “Do not take me off the flight I’m on. No matter who calls, do not cancel this flight that I have. It’s my separate flight from Toronto,” she said.
But when she got to the airport, having already checked her luggage, she heard her name over the loudspeaker.
“Melissa Sagemiller, please report to the security desk immediately. Melissa Sagemiller, please pick up the white phone at the security desk immediately,” she recalled hearing.
Sagemiller said Weinstein’s assistant was on the line to tell her that “We’ve gotten your bags off the plane. The car is out front. Get in the car.”
“They’d kidnapped my bags at this point, so I was just like, ‘Fine, you win, motherf—-r,’” she recalled thinking.
And so she, along with other actors, accepted the ride on his plane.
“He’s just sitting there. He pats his hand on the seat next to him, and he’s like, ‘See, Melissa, you can’t say no to me. I always get what I want.’”