A grand jury in New York indicted Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday on charges of rape and criminal sex. Weinstein once towered over Hollywood, and it is likely he would still be making movies and meeting with young actresses had more than 80 women not come forward against him.
One of the first to do so was actress Rosanna Arquette, best-known for her roles in Pulp Fiction and Desperately Seeking Susan. She first publicly accused Weinstein of assaulting her in a New Yorker article published in October.
She tells NPR's Mary Louise Kelly she believes Weinstein may have been responsible for sabotaging her career.
"I don't have an agent," she says with a laugh. "I think I'm still blackballed."
Arquette says she rejected Weinstein at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the early 1990s, when she went there to pick up a script and have dinner with him. She says that he came to the door in a white bathrobe, asking for a massage, and that he grabbed her hand and tried to force her to touch his erect penis. She says that she jerked her hand away and said "No," and that he told her she was "making a very big mistake."
Weinstein then named two other women, she says — an actress and a model — with whom he claimed to have had sexual relationships and whose careers he had advanced as a result. "I'll never be that girl," she said, and left.
"Got down the elevator. By the time I got to the bottom, the lobby, I had a completely different career," Arquette says. Roles started to disappear, and new opportunities didn't seem to come.
She's not the only actress who believes Weinstein damaged her career: Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd, Daryl Hannah and Annabella Sciorra all are among those who say the producer retaliated against them professionally.
Sciorra, who alleges Weinstein raped her, told the New Yorker that she felt the impact on her career almost immediately.
"From 1992, I didn't work again until 1995," Sciorra says. "I just kept getting this pushback of 'We heard you were difficult; we heard this or that.' I think that that was the Harvey machine."
Others recounted similar stories, saying they believed Weinstein told producers and directors to avoid casting them. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson confirmed in the New Zealand publication Stuff last year that Weinstein and his brother orchestrated a smear campaign that led him to avoid casting Judd and Sorvino.
"I burst out crying," Sorvino wrote on Twitter after seeing the story. "There it is, confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career."
"All of us have lost work," says Arquette. "You have the most powerful businesspeople in the world protecting [Weinstein] for years."
Now, Arquette says her focus is on supporting the women she says have been "raped and brutalized" by him. She says there are other women who have not yet come forward out of fear of being retaliated against like she was, and she hopes they'll feel more secure to do so now that he has been criminally charged.
"There are a lot more women, and a lot of lives and careers have been destroyed," she says. "And maybe they'll feel safer to be able to do that now."
Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex — as well as assertions that he retaliated professionally against women who rebuffed him. His lawyers have signaled that he will plead not guilty, and they have painted him as the victim of a Hollywood witch hunt.
"This is not a witch hunt," says Arquette, her voice rising. "This is not a witch hunt. This is [about] men who have done really horrible things and gotten away with it for years. ...
"No more. We say no more."
Renita Jablonski and Alyssa Edes produced and edited the audio version of this story.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
In New York yesterday, a grand jury indicted Harvey Weinstein on charges of first- and third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sex act. This is the latest twist in the downfall of a man who once towered over Hollywood and who would likely still be making movies had more than 80 women not come forward to tell their stories. One of the first to do so was the actress Rosanna Arquette. You know her from "Pulp Fiction" and "Desperately Seeking Susan" and so many other roles. She joins us now from New York. And needless to say, what you're going to hear is a frank and graphic discussion.
Rosanna Arquette, welcome.
ROSANNA ARQUETTE: Thank you. I'm happy to be here.
KELLY: I'm glad to have you here. I read something you said - that you didn't sleep a wink for two nights last week, the two nights in the run-up to Harvey Weinstein's arrest.
ARQUETTE: I don't think any of us did.
KELLY: Yeah. What was that like, I mean, watching him surrender to police in Manhattan?
ARQUETTE: Oh, my gosh, just even talking about it right now - it's - it really is emotional because I was on the phone with many, many of the women. All of us, especially the women that were raped, have so much trauma. But what we're witnessing - this paradigm shift - and watching him walk out with his smile - little, smirky smile was, you know - OK, what's going on? But for all of us, it's an important moment.
KELLY: And what's that conversation been like? Is the mood among you and other women who've come forward - is it celebration? Does this feel like vindication or what?
ARQUETTE: Well, it's a long time coming, and I don't know if any of us really felt that we would see this day. But I really applaud Cyrus Vance.
KELLY: This is the Manhattan DA.
ARQUETTE: The Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance - and there are a lot more women. And a lot of lives and careers have been destroyed.
KELLY: Did you just suggest that - are you in touch with other women who maybe have not come forward publicly yet who may still be considering doing so?
ARQUETTE: There are other women that haven't come forward, and maybe they'll feel safer to be able to do that now. You know, maybe they don't want to go through this 'cause it's certainly not fun. But what has happened is all of us as women I think are holding each other's hands across the world, and it's time to hold men accountable for their actions.
KELLY: Yeah. I do want people to understand what you alleged Harvey Weinstein did to you. This was in the early '90s.
KELLY: And you were supposed to meet him for...
ARQUETTE: For a film that he wanted me to do. And he had the new script, was excited about it, was supposed to have dinner with him.
KELLY: This was at Beverly Hills Hotel.
ARQUETTE: Beverly Hills Hotel - I arrive. And they said, Mr. Weinstein will see you upstairs. And I thought, oh, OK, like, he probably has the penthouse suite apartment, you know...
ARQUETTE: ...But immediately was, like, danger. Like, you - heart race - the vibe didn't feel right. I arrive. He has his white bathrobe on. Rosanna, I can't move my neck. I just can't move my neck. I can't move it. And I was like, oh, oh, I have this amazing masseuse. I have a chiropractor. No, no, no, no, no, Rosanna - and grabs my hand and, you know - erect. I pull it away. He goes...
KELLY: He tried to put your hand...
KELLY: ...On his erect penis.
ARQUETTE: And he said, Rosanna, you're making a very big mistake. Look what I've done for - and he mentioned two other actresses - famous actress, Oscar-winning actress and a very, very famous model. And I said, I'll never be that girl. And I left, got down in the elevator. By the time I got to the bottom of - in the lobby, I had a completely different career (laughter).
KELLY: In what way? What do you mean?
ARQUETTE: I think that things just started falling apart because...
KELLY: You're saying - what? - because he...
ARQUETTE: Work or...
KELLY: ...Followed through...
ARQUETTE: I don't...
KELLY: ...You say, on this threat and blacklisted you, or...
ARQUETTE: I think that he just - just, like, at a dinner - like, oh, well, I heard she's - oh, she's a pain in the ass. You just never know. Do I have proof that it was Harvey? The only proof I have is that I was spied on. There's a dossier on me. There's - why?
KELLY: I have to ask 'cause one of the roles for which you are most famous was "Pulp Fiction," which Harvey Weinstein produced.
ARQUETTE: Later, about maybe two years...
KELLY: Later. I mean, this was after the encounter in Beverly Hills.
ARQUETTE: That was - it was after the encounter, yep. It was.
KELLY: Why would you take a role working with him?
ARQUETTE: Because it was a big movie with - Quentin Tarantino asked me to do it. You want to work. You wanted to work with a great director who directed "Reservoir Dogs." And he had this new movie. And, you know, I met him, and he wanted me to do it. And how do I feel about that? Would I do it differently now? I mean, I was a lot younger and not as - you know, as wise as I am now. I probably would have - and what I know now, I would have done it differently.
KELLY: I was going to ask, yeah.
ARQUETTE: At the time, did I not know?
KELLY: I mean, asking in as non-judgmental a way as it is possible to ask, do you wish you'd come forward sooner?
ARQUETTE: Absolutely, but I know - look at what happened to - Rose McGowan was the first person, and she did. And they make a deal with her to keep her mouth shut. And there were a lot of people that were paid off to keep their mouth shut. I didn't ever have anything like that. I wasn't ever paid off to keep my mouth shut. And frankly, I didn't keep my mouth shut. And I did tell people. And I'm sure it got back to him that I was talking. And I never stopped myself from talking about it. I told people.
KELLY: You used the words not fun in describing the experience of coming forward. And I'm curious how people have reacted to you. Do you feel like you're being - you have been treated differently since coming forward?
ARQUETTE: There's a community of women - like I've said, we're all across the world, a link arm-in-arm, hand-in-hand - and boys - young boys who've been molested and raped. And I feel like we're an energetic chain that's - of a support system. So in that arena, it's been incredibly supportive. I wouldn't say it is so much in Hollywood. I mean, I don't have an agent (laughter). I think I'm still blackballed. But I continue to work and do my thing. And I always have. And it's certainly not helped my career.
KELLY: Let me ask you this. Harvey Weinstein, we should note, denies the charges. His lawyer says he's going to fight this.
ARQUETTE: Good luck. Good luck.
KELLY: Would you testify when and if he goes to trial?
ARQUETTE: I'll testify, but I don't know if - I think for me, it's, like, why did you spy on me? Why did you make my life difficult? Why is there a dossier on me? Why? It's hard because I'm - I haven't pressed any charges yet. I haven't done anything because, you know, I was trying to get, you know, the date, the time, the - you know, do you have any records of that meeting? And no, it's all - at this point, I don't know.
KELLY: You said you haven't pressed charges yet. You're not closing that door.
ARQUETTE: Yeah. I don't know. I mean, for me, many attorneys have reached out to me. There's a case there if I want. For me right now, the most important thing - I could burst into tears - is not - I am, like, small potatoes compared to the women that have been raped and brutalized by this man. And I'm standing back in support of them. That's the most important thing for me at this point.
KELLY: That is the actress Rosanna Arquette, one of the women who first accused Harvey Weinstein and helped launch the #MeToo movement. Rosanna Arquette, thank you.
ARQUETTE: Thank you so much. I have something to say. Can we say this?
KELLY: Mmm hmm.
ARQUETTE: This is not a witch hunt. This is not a witch hunt. This is men who have done really horrible things and gotten away with it for years. And we're - it's time to be held accountable for these past actions that money and power were able to hide their sick behavior. And that is what it's all about - no more. We say no more.
KELLY: Thank you.
ARQUETTE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.