Michelle Yeoh would have unleashed 'years of martial arts training' on Harvey Weinstein if he had harassed her

Michelle Yeoh said she knew Harvey Weinstein was a bully and not always honourable.
Michelle Yeoh said she knew Harvey Weinstein was a bully and not always honourable. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

HONG KONG - Film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has lost his reputation, his job and his Academy membership in an extraordinary fall from grace within one and a half weeks, should still thank his lucky stars.

It could have been worse: For instance, if he had tried to have one of his hotel room encounters with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, she would have unleashed "years of martial arts training" on him.

On Wednesday (Oct 18), Yeoh and Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi became the biggest Asian stars to lash out at Weinstein, after The New York Times and The New Yorker detailed multiple allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against him.

In another repercussion, Harvard University revoked the W.E.B. Du Bois award it had given the producer in 2014 for his contributions to African-American films.

He was an executive producer of two of Yeoh's recent projects, the 2014-2016 historical series Marco Polo and the 2016 sequel to the Oscar-winning 2000 movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She is also an ambassador for Aids research foundation amfAR, which he worked with for decades.

In a statement to the Associated Press, she said: "I knew he was a bully and not always honourable. I wasn't exposed to this side of him, otherwise he would have experienced the full effect of years of martial arts training."

Zhang, who starred with Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and broke into Hollywood, told The Associated Press she was glad not to have worked with Weinstein.

He tried to lure her into a film deal, promising to help her win an Academy Award, but she refused because his conditions were unfair, she said.


Prominent Harvey Weinstein accusers

1. Actress Ashley Judd

The 49-year-old is the first high-profile figure to go on the record about Weinstein.

Her story dates back to the 1990s, when, she said, he lured her to his hotel room for a "meeting" then tried to coerce her into giving him a massage or watching him shower. "Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it's simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly," she told The New York Times.

2. Former employee Laura Madden

She and Judd were quoted by The New York Times on Oct 5, in a blockbuster story that aired decades of previously unknown sexual harassment accusations against Weinstein.

3. Actress Rose McGowan

The 44-year-old is one of eight women Weinstein settled with, The New York Times said.

In 1997, he reached a US$100,000 settlement with McGowan, then 23, after an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival. The settlement was "not to be construed as an admission" by Weinstein, but intended to "avoid litigation and buy peace", according to the legal document reviewed by The Times.

4. Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez

In 2015, Weinstein invited Gutierrez, then 22, to his TriBeCa office to discuss her career. Within hours, she called the police. She told them Weinstein had grabbed her breasts after asking if they were real and put his hands up her skirt, the police report says.

5. Italian actress and director Asia Argento

The 42-year-old is one of three women interviewed by The New Yorker - two on the record - who accused Weinstein of rape.

She said he had forcibly performed oral sex on her in 1997 in a room at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc when she was 21.

6. Actress Mira Sorvino

Now 50, she won an Oscar for her role in the Weinstein-produced Mighty Aphrodite in 1996. She told The New Yorker she had been subjected to unwanted sexual attention from Weinstein when she was promoting the film.

7. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow

The 45-year-old is one of the biggest stars to go on the record about Weinstein. In a New York Times story published on Tuesday (Oct 10), she said that when she was 22, he invited her to his hotel suite for a work meeting and later proposed a massage.

She said she had fled in terror and later relayed the incident to her boyfriend at the time, actor Brad Pitt. Pitt confirmed that he later confronted Weinstein at a theater premiere and told him to never to touch her again.

8. Actress Angelina Jolie

The 42-year-old told The New York Times she "had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth and, as a result, chose never to work with him again and warned others when they did".

9. Actress Heather Graham

The 47-year-old's story dates to the early 2000s, when she had a meeting with Weinstein.

She wrote in Variety: "He mentioned that he had an agreement with his wife. He could sleep with whomever he wanted when he was out of town. I walked out of the meeting feeling uneasy. There was no explicit mention that to star in one of those films I had to sleep with him, but the subtext was there."

10. British model Cara Delevingne

On Wednesday, the 25-year-old posted a written account of her experience with Weinstein. She said that early in her career, she met the producer in his hotel room, where she found him with another woman. "He asked us to kiss," Delevingne wrote, adding that she had quickly got up and tried to leave.

"He walked me to the door and stood in front of it and tried to kiss me on the lips," she said, describing feelings of guilt because she later secured a part in one of his films.