Harvey Weinstein faces new accusations of sexual harassment after a Tuesday news conference held by feminist lawyer Gloria Allred and her client, former actress and screenwriter Louisette Geiss.
The news came after a morning full of new allegations against Weinstein, with multiple women, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, sharing stories of inappropriate behavior from the Weinstein Co. co-founder.
Geiss alleged that her encounter with Weinstein took place at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, where she was shopping a screenplay. Geiss met with Weinstein at a restaurant near closing time to discuss her pitch and said that he invited her to his office — adjacent to his hotel room — to continue their meeting.
Because of rumors she had heard during her time in the industry, Geiss told Weinstein that she would continue the meeting at his office only if he promised not to touch her. According to Geiss, Weinstein laughed off the insinuations and they shook hands in agreement.
Geiss claimed that, 30 minutes later, Weinstein excused himself and returned naked, wearing only a bathrobe, and instructed Geiss to continue talking as he got into the hot tub, before later asking that she watch him masturbate.
“I do not think that Harvey Weinstein understands or comprehends how much pain and suffering this brings to me and scores of other women,” Geiss said during the news conference, her voice thick with emotion.
For Geiss, whose alleged harassment took place in Utah, the statute of limitations expired in 2012.
Allred — whose daughter Lisa Bloom briefly worked as an advisor to Weinstein last week — urged Weinstein to waive the civil statute of limitations and allow both sides an opportunity to make their case.
“I am inviting him to agree to engage in an arbitration of these claims with these alleged victims and with an agreed-upon retired judge,” Allred said. “The women could present their claims of sexual harassment, and Mr. Weinstein could present his defense.”
Answering a question about why Weinstein would ever waive the statute of limitations, Allred said, “Why would he do it? Because I think he wants to work in this town again.”