LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A former actress became the latest woman to publicly accuse disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct on Friday (Oct 20), telling reporters he exposed and forced himself on her.
Heather Kerr, now 56, who appeared on 1980s US sitcom The Facts Of Life, claims Weinstein attacked her during a private meeting when she was an aspiring actress in her 20s.
“He asked me if I was good. I started to tell him about my training and my acting experience and he said, ‘No. I need to know if you’re good,’” Kerr, who now lives in Washington state, told a news conference.
“He said that if he was going to introduce me around town to directors and producers he needed to know if I was any good. He kept repeating that word.”
Kerr described Weinstein’s “sly, sleazy smile” as she offered to provide a reel of her acting work, a sick feeling growing in her stomach.
“The next thing I knew, he unzipped his fly pants and pulled out his penis,” she said, adding that Weinstein forced her hand onto it.
“I was frozen with fear, trying to remain calm, trying not to freak out, because after all, there was nobody else in the office,” she said.
She pulled her hand away “as casually as possible,” but Weinstein told her that “this is how things work in Hollywood,” and that all actresses who’d made it did it this way.
Weinstein spelled out his plan, she told reporters, starting with him having sex with her, and then introducing her at parties to other men with whom she needed to sleep.
Consoled by her attorney Gloria Allred, Kerr broke down in tears after revealing she quit acting soon after, convinced that no one would believe her if she reported what had happened.
“Harvey, you – and others like you – are done. Women won’t take it anymore,” Allred said.
“We are taking our power back and we will never allow things to go back to where they were when you and others abused women and made it clear to them that they had to put out or they were out.”
More than 40 women – many of them now high-profile actresses – have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault or rape.
He is being investigated by detectives in Los Angeles, New York and London.