In the wake of the October 5th New York Times report surfacing decades of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, numerous women in the film industry have come forward with their own accounts of abuse at the hands of the disgraced Hollywood mogul. On Friday it was Vietnamese model and retired actress Vu Thu Phuong, who faded into relative obscurity after a dispiriting experience on the 2010 Weinstein production Shanghai.
“I can’t be silent anymore. It’s time that I liberate myself,” she wrote in a Facebook post, partially translated into English by Saigoneer. “It’s time that I can explain about the Shanghai failure and why I shelved my ‘American dream’ as well as the contract with Weinstein’s film company.”
In 2008, the Weinstein Company offered Phuong a bilingual speaking role as a supporting character in the film. During production the scope of her part was scaled back, she claims, and in the final edit, so many of her scenes were omitted that her appearance onscreen hardly registered.
Crestfallen, she agreed to meet with Weinstein about the prospect of future work with the company.
“Everything suddenly turned dark when I saw Mr. Harvey Weinstein standing before me with only a towel around his waist, smiling,” she writes of their encounter.
Weinstein went on to intimate that the film he envisioned casting her in would require her to star in several sex scenes.
“I can teach you, don’t worry. Many stars have also been through this,” he allegedly told her. “Just treat this as necessary experiences so that you’ll have a stronger foundation in the future.”
She spurned him, “thinking at the moment that if he were to rape me or kill me, would anybody find out and stop him?”
Chagrined by her reduced role and reeling from Weinstein’s advances, she returned home to Vietnam. “I decided that I didn’t want to sell myself to enter Hollywood,” she writes in her Facebook post. “Weinstein should be punished for disrespecting and devaluing women.”
The behavior Phuong describes aligns with the general pattern of harassment detailed in numerous other accounts by actresses of Weinstein’s misconduct. According to Vulture’s exhaustive list of all the allegations against Weinstein to date, in 1984 he told Tomi-Ann Roberts, a Colorado College psychology professor and former actress, that “if she didn’t show her breasts in private, she wouldn’t be able to do it in the film, as her character may have a topless scene.”
[Images via Saigoneer]