A Montreal actress is adding her voice to those accusing disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.
Erika Rosenbaum, 37, said there were three separate instances nearly 15 years ago where Weinstein aggressively came on to her.
In the worst case, she accuses him of grabbing her by the neck in front of a mirror while masturbating behind her.
“He did that while looking me right in the eye,” she said.
Rosenbaum said she met Weinstein at a party in Los Angeles in her early 20s. Afterward, they booked a meeting to discuss her career. But the meeting’s location was changed to a hotel at the last minute, she said, and when she arrived, Weinstein’s tone shifted.
“I suddenly found myself fending him off, as though we were on a first date and he was making unwanted advances,” Rosenbaum told CBC News on Thursday night.
She said she was trying to avoid embarrassing or angering him, because she was aware his negative opinion could sink her career. She said she protested, but he persuaded her to give him a massage.
“In a surreal scene from a bad movie, I massaged his back and then he let me go. I walked away confused and ashamed,” she said.
Allegations pile up
The former co-chair of The Weinstein Company now faces numerous allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, including three women who say he raped them.
Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow are among the actresses who allege Weinstein made unwanted advances against them.
Since the New York Times published an investigation last week, more than 30 women have made similar allegations.
Weinstein, through a spokesperson, has denied any non-consensual sexual conduct with any women.
He was fired from The Weinstein Company on Sunday.
‘I was afraid of him’
Rosenbaum kept in touch with Weinstein after their first meeting, believing she would be able to stop his advances. In Toronto, two years after the first incident, she scheduled another meeting with him.
That meeting was also diverted to a hotel room at the last minute, she said.
Rosenbaum said he answered the door without pants. Once again, she insisted she had to leave, but he reassured her they were friends. She said he appeared angry and flustered, and again, she worried that leaving would agitate him and harm her career.
“He talked me into the bathroom. I was afraid of him,” she said.
That’s when he masturbated in front of her, she said.
The third time, his casting agents flew her to New York. She said after the meeting, she was called to his office, where she said he tried to kiss her.
She went back each time believing she could convince him to behave.
“I was too young to know how to handle it. I just knew I couldn’t make an enemy of this guy,” she said.
First time speaking out
Until now, Rosenbaum has never told her story. She still works as an actress, with credits in films including Brooklyn, Wicker Park and The Trotsky.
She told her parents for the first time on Thursday night, hours before it would be published in news reports.
“I really feel for all who’ve had this experience. It is very confusing and it can be very damaging,” she said.
“I felt like if I did not use my negative experience to add one more name to the list of women he has affected in this way, he would still be somehow getting something from me. I would still be keeping his secret,” she said.
“And I owe him nothing.”