The Silence Breakers: The 24 Women Brave Enough to Say #MeToo

Harvey Weinstein

WARNING: This article contains information about sexual assault which may be triggering to survivors.

On March 11 2020, Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sex crimes in New York City.

The 67-year-old movie producer, who is now likely to live out the rest of his life in a jail cell, was accused by several women of sexual misconduct.

Twenty-four of these brave women spearheaded the movement which saw him tried in a New York court (with a trial in California to come) and who were catalysts in propelling the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements.

These are their stories.

Ashley Judd

Actor Ashley Judd, 51, filed a sexual harassment claim against Weinstein in January 2019, however, it was dismissed by a federal judge in Los Angeles.

Judd’s legal team sued on the grounds that the harassment occurred within a professional relationship, however, it was not covered under California law at the time.

She accused Weinstein of defaming her in 1998 after she refused what she said were his sexual advances during a meeting at a hotel in late 1996 or early 1997.

“Weinstein appeared in a bathrobe, and, instead of discussing film roles, asked if he could give her a massage. She refused,” her legal team said at the time.

Ashley Judd
Actor Ashley Judd. Getty Images.

Caitlin Dulany

Actor Caitlin Dulany accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her in a room at the Hotel du Cap in Cannes, France in 1996.

After the sentencing on March 11, Dulany addressed the press.

“With today’s sentencing of Harvey Weinstein to 23 years in prison, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to all the women who spoke out,” she told Fox News.

“Harvey is going to jail for a very long time. And as I and so many continue to heal from the damage that has been done to our lives by this man, I can now celebrate a truly historic victory.”

“I have renewed faith that more women will come forward with their stories of assault, that they will be believed and that their abusers will be punished. I am certain that moving forward, the world will be a safer place for survivors of sexual assault and for future generations.”

Caitlin Dulany
Caitlin Dulany. Getty Images.

Dawn Dunning

Former actor Dawn Dunning took the stand during Weinstein’s rape trial, telling the court that in 2004 he offered her a movie role in exchange for a threesome.

“I’m losing time. I’m losing money. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” she said.

Dawn Dunning
Dawn Dunning. Getty Images.

Dominique Huett

Actor and model Dominique Huett claimed that Weinstein invited her to a Los Angeles hotel for a business meeting and then forced oral sex on her before masturbating in 2010.

On the day of the conviction, Huett called “any women who came forward” against Weinstein a “hero”.  

“Let’s change the culture even further and embrace the outspoken.”

“If Hollywood follows through with this initiative; it will be game-changing for all survivors of abuse. No one deserves to be shunned for being victimized. If they want to change the stain of this embarrassment they will correct it by calling in all the actresses who need work.”

Dominique Huett. Getty Images.

Emily Nestor

In 2014, Weinstein told actor Emily Nestor that she could help her career by accepting his sexual advances.

“She said he was very persistent and focused though she kept saying no for over an hour,” a Weinstein Company document read and cited by The Times.

Nestor was one of the women who went on record for the groundbreaking exposé written by Ronan Farrow.

Ronan Farrow and Emily Nestor. Getty Images.
Ronan Farrow and Emily Nestor. Getty Images.

Erika Rosenbaum

Actor Erika Rosenbaum accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her on three separate occasions.

In the worst instance, she accused him of grabbing her by the neck while masturbating behind her.

When Rosenbaum came forward in 2017, it was the first time she had told her story.

Erika Rosenbaum
Erika Rosenbaum. Getty Images.

“She kept saying no for over an hour.”

Jasmine Lobe

Writer and actor Jasmine Lobe claimed that Weinstein attempted to masturbate in front of her.

In 2013, she told her story but kept her alleged abusers anonymous. In 2017, she was finally ready to speak out.

“Everyone was afraid. Harvey had so much power that even people that I respected were afraid,” she told Page Six.

“I actually understood, but I felt maybe this was a good indicator not to come forward with his name. I think everyone was skittish and uncomfortable because Harvey Weinstein was so entrenched in the media world and it made everyone uncomfortable … We were all afraid.”

Jasmine Lobe
Jasmine Lobe. Getty Images.

Katherine Kendall

In 1993, actor and photographer Katherine Kendall had a meeting with Weinstein who exposed himself to her and tried to force her to show him her breasts.

After calling a cab so she could leave, Weinstein got into the cab with her. Kendall then exited the taxi in front of a bar, went in and told the bartender to pretend that they knew her. According to her story, Weinstein sat in the cab for 20 minutes and watched her through the window, before driving off.

“It’s a great day for women,” Kendall wrote on her Twitter.

Katherine Kendall
Katherine Kendall. Getty Images.

Larissa Gomes

In Larissa Gomes’ Twitter bio, she calls herself a “writer, actor, producer, silence breaker”.

When Gomes was 21-years-old, she was working on the set of Get Over It, a teen film produced by Miramax. In an interview with the LA Times in 2017, she detailed the alleged abuse she received at the hands of Weinstein.

“I had literally just begun acting … and here I was meeting the most powerful producer of the time,” she said. “It was intoxicating, it was validating.”

According to her report, Weinstein set up a breakfast meeting with Gomes under the guise of wanting to show her some scripts. The first meeting was professional, the second was not. Weinstein had her in his hotel room in the early evening and asked her to come into his bedroom.

Weinstein was allegedly on the bed and asked her to take off her shirt so he could see her breasts. She left the room and then he followed in a bathrobe and began to massage her.

“He would not stop. He just kept pushing his hands close to my chest forcefully until I finally was able to get up and away from him,” she wrote.

Weinstein told her, “You know, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd were exactly where you are at one point. Look at them now,” Gomes said.

When she tried to leave, Weinstein allegedly tried to kiss her on the lips.

Larissa Gomes
Larissa Gomes. Getty Images.

Lauren O’Connor

Lauren O’Connor was a literary scout at the Weinstein company who worked closely with Weinstein. In 2015, she wrote an internal memo that would once day become famous.

“I am a 28-year-old woman trying to make a living and a career,” she wrote. “Harvey Weinstein is a 64-year-old, world-famous man and this is his company. The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”

In 2017, the memo was leaked and became the fundamental base of the New York Times investigation by Farrow.

Lauren O'Connor
Lauren O’Connor. Getty Images.

Lauren Sivan

In 2007, Weinstein exposed himself, masturbated and ejaculated into a nearby pot plant in front of a TV reporter, Lauren Sivan.

Known as the “potted plant girl”, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Sivan said she was “OK” with the nickname, “as long as he’s forever known as the predator-rapist that he is.”

Before the trial, she told the outlet: “That would be healing for all of us, I think,” she said.

“To know that he wants to go back to Hollywood and continue his career is terrifying, and that’s one of the reasons many women didn’t want to come forward.”

Lauren Sivan
Lauren Sivan. Getty Images.

Lisa Rose

Actor Lisa Rose was just 22 when she got an admin job at the London office of Miramax. Approximately six weeks after she began working there, Weinstein came to town for a few days and she was sent to the hotel where he was staying.

“I was told he’d answer the door in a towel and would ask me for a massage. I was told to say no, to ignore him, and to walk away so I didn’t get too close,” she said in an interview with the Jewish Times in 2017.

According to Lisa’s story, once she was alone with the former producer, he asked her to rub his back. When she refused, he said: “Well, other people give me a massage”, but he never touched her.

When she talked about it afterward, people would say: “Well, that sort of thing just goes on.”

Lisa Rose
Lisa Rose. The Jewish Times.

“When she talked about it afterward, people would say: “Well, that sort of thing just goes on.”

Louise Godbold

Back in the early 1990s, Louise Godbold was a young commercial producer, who after a tour of Weinstein’s offices ended up in an empty room where she was allegedly cornered by Weinstein and he put her hand on his crotch.

A month later, she was invited for a meeting with him in a hotel suite, where she found him naked, demanding a massage.

Godbold is organising a survivor-focused conference where all of the speakers are “Silence Breakers”, or leaders of the global conversation around #MeToo.

Louise Godbold
Louise Godbold. Getty Images.

Louisette Geiss

In 2008, Louisette Geiss, then an actress and screenwriter, took a meeting with Weinstein at the Sundance Film Festival.

The dinner meeting continued at his hotel room, and after excusing himself, Weinstein returned in just a bathrobe.

According to Geiss, Weinstein promised to help her career if she watched him masturbate in the hot tub.

“When I finished my pitch,” she told reporters in October 2017, “I was obviously nervous, and he kept asking me to watch him masturbate. I told him I was leaving.”

Louisette Geiss
Louisette Geiss. Getty Images.

Lysette Anthony

British actor Lysette Anthony first met Weinstein when she was about 18 or 19.

“I was sent out on my own to do a big press launch that’s when I was made to go and have dinner with Harvey Weinstein,”

“Harvey at that point was a rock journalist; I was literally handed over in the lobby and told you have to have dinner with this man.

“He talked and talked and talked and told me he wanted to get into the film industry,” she said in an interview with Channel 4 news in 2019.

Over the next year, the pair became friends, however things took a turn when one day, he knocked on the door of her apartment.

“I have this memory of one morning in my little basement flat suddenly seeing this fat lump of a man stumbling down my steep little steps,”

“He knocked on the door it was in the morning I only had a gown on he pushed me against my coat rack and he raped me.”

During the interview, she said that at times she wondered if she was “responsible”.

“I must’ve sent the wrong message,” she said during the interview.

Lysette Anthony
Lysette Anthony. Getty Images.

Paula Williams

In 1990, Paula Williams, was a 20-year-old model and actor, who met Weinstein at a pre-Oscar party.

Weinsteing then invited Williams to a dinner party at his home the following week.

Hoping to further her career by making connections, she agreed, only to discover she was the only guest there.

According to her story, Weinstein began massaging her, then after offering her champagne, he exposed himself.

Williams escaped by running through the neighbouring yards in her heels, with a fear of being chased.

Paula Williams
Paula Williams. Getty Images.

Melissa Nesic

Melissa Sagemiller Nasic was 24-years-old when Weinstein demanded a kiss from her while wearing a bathrobe during a meeting in his hotel room.

At the time, she was also working on the film Get Over It, and claimed that Weinstein held her luggage hostage in a bid to get her to fly on a plane with him

Melissa Sagemiller Nesic
Melissa Sagemiller Nesic. Getty Images.

Melissa Thompson

Melissa Thompson accused Weinstein of raping her in 2011 and seven years later, she shared footage of an uncomfortable marketing meeting she had with him in which he pursued her and allegedly touched her inappropriately.

According to Thompson, the meeting took place just hours before the alleged rape.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson. Facebook.

Rosanna Arquette

Actor Rosanna Arquette was one of the first women to share details of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.

Quoted as part of Farrow’s investigation in the New Yorker, Arquette alleged that during a meeting in the early 1990s, Weinstein asked her for a massage before pulling her hand towards his crotch and after she stopped the interaction, he told her she was making a mistake.

The former actor also alleges that her career was derailed after the incident.

Rosanna Arquette
Rosanna Arquette. Getty Images.

Rose McGowan

Actor Rose McGowan accused Weinstein of raping her by performing oral sex in a hotel during the Sundance Film Festival in 1997 when she was just 23-years-old.

According to McGowan, Weinstein offered her $1 million USD to stay silent. She declined and has become the most vocal advocate for the #MeToo movement.

Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan. Getty Images.

Rowena Chiu

Rowena Chiu, Weinstein’s former assistant, alleged that he assaulted her in 1998 with fellow colleague Zelda Perkins.

According to her story, Chiu and Perkins repeatedly attempted to report Weinstein’s pattern of abusive behaviour but were “ignored and dismissed”.

They were then forced to sign a 30-page non-disclosure agreement.

“The negotiations were conducted under conditions of extreme duress,” Chiu wrote in an Op-Ed in The Times.

“We were once kept at the office overnight, from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m., escorted to the bathroom, provided with the barest minimum of food and drink and not permitted pen and paper to keep notes. We were not even allowed to keep a copy of this most egregious of agreements: We had signed our lives away in a complex 30-page document that we could not refer to.”

Chiu attempted suicide twice following the incident.

Rowena Chiu
Rowena Chiu. Getty Images.

Sarah Ann Thomas (Masse)

Sarah Ann Thomas went public with her accusation against Weinstein in October. In an interview with Variety in 2008, she said she had applied to be the babysitter for Weinstein’s children and arrived to interview at his home, only to find him in boxer shorts and an undershirt.

According to Thomas, he made inappropriate comments about flirting to get ahead in her career and gave her an extended hug at the end of their meeting.

Sarah Ann Masse
Sarah Ann Masse. Getty Images.

Tomi-Ann Roberts

Tomi-Ann Roberts was waiting tables when she met Weinstein and Bob Weinstein, who had just begun Miramax.

They asked Roberts to come for a meeting about a new film that they were producing and she got to what she thought was Weinstein’s apartment, she was the only one there.

“And it was in this — down a rather darkened hallway that I discovered him in the bathtub. And that encounter, as you might imagine, was petrifying to a 20-year-old. I sort of stood there frozen. And Mr. Weinstein was quite calm about trying to explain to me that if I would at least take my top off, this would demonstrate to him that I wasn’t going to be shy about doing so in front of the cameras. The movie was likely to have topless scenes. And looking back, as I’ve said in several interviews now, I’m slightly ashamed to think that the only way I could imagine getting out of there was not running, but rather politely sort of self-effacingly apologizing for the fact that I didn’t feel comfortable with that. And so I did eventually exit and found a payphone, called my boyfriend, and basically threw my acting aspirations in the wastebasket,” she said in an interview with Democracy Now.

Tomi-Anne Roberts
Tomi-Anne Roberts. ABC.

Zoë Brock

In 1997, New Zealand actor, model and writer Zoë Brock was 23-years-old when Weinstein invited her to his hotel room on the pretense that there was a party.

Instead, according to Brock, Weinstein was there alone and naked, asking her for a massage.

Brock then locked herself in the bathroom and was eventually escorted to another hotel by Weinstein’s assistant.

Zoe Brock
Zoe Brock. Getty Images.

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual or physical violence, please call 1800-RESPECT, a national telephone support line or find more support services HERE.

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