Lupita Nyong’o Breaks Silence On Being Sexually Harassed by Harvey Weinstein

"Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing." Nyong'o writes in her New York Times op-ed.

Lupita Nyong'o is the latest actress to recount being sexually harassed by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

In an opinion piece published in the New York Times, entitled "Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein," the Kenyan actress opens up about how she first met the producer while a student at the Yale School of Drama. Given Weinstein's industry status, the young actress wanted to connect with him on a professional level, and she exchanged contacts with him in the hopes that he would consider her for a movie role.

Not long after, the producer invited her to dinner, and afterwards to his home where he asked to giver her a massage. Several other women have described a similar experience with the producer. She writes:

Harvey led me into a bedroom—his bedroom—and announced that he wanted to give me a massage. I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe. I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.

He proceeded to remove his pants despite her protests that it was making her obviously uncomfortable.

This was not the only time the producer made sexual advances towards her either. On another occasion, Nyong'o recalls Weinstein threatening her after she turned down his advances. "He told me not to be so naïve. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing," wrote Nyong'o.

In the past few weeks, dozens of actresses have come out with allegations against the producer—their stories span decades. Earlier this week, Buzzfeed reported that Weinstein dropped British-Nigerian actress Sophie Okonedo from a 1997 film, because he didn't consider her "fuckable."

Nyong'o's heard the stories of countless others whom Weinstein had assaulted, and felt compelled to speak out and "regain that power."

"I have felt such a flare of rage that the experience I recount below was not a unique incident with me, but rather part of a sinister pattern of behavior," said Nyong'o. "I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence."

Read her full account, here.

Many fans and fellow stars are giving her support on social media:

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox