Lupita Nyong’o is the only Black actress to publicly come forward and share her experience of sexual harassment by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
In his denials of wrongdoing, Weinstein has not specifically named any of his more than 50 white female accusers, which include Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rose McGowan and Annabella Sciorra. But he made a public statement responding to Nyong’o’s claim to flat-out deny it and put the blame on her.
Nyong’o, 34, contributed an op-ed to The New York Times, published Oct. 20, extensively detailing her account of instances where she was in the presence of Weinstein.
“Now that this is being discussed openly, I have not been able to avoid the memories resurfacing,” she wrote. “I have felt sick in the pit of my stomach.”
“Harvey led me into a bedroom his bedroom and announced that he wanted to give me a massage,” Nyong’o writes in a New York Times op-ed.
The day after the actress, who won an Oscar for her role in “12 Years a Slave,” published her piece, Weinstein issued the followingstatementthrough his representative:
“Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry,” the statement reads. “Last year, she sent a personal invitation to Mr. Weinstein to see her in her Broadway show ‘Eclipsed.'”
Sheela Raja, a clinical psychologist specializing in sexual assault and author of “Overcoming Trauma and PTSD,” explained Weinstein’s choice to confront Nyong’o.
“There are unconscious biases we have about people who seem credible, who we see as a ‘good’ example of a victim,”Raja toldThe Sacramento Bee. “He’s targeting the person he thinks is most vulnerable.”
Many were outraged by Weinstein’s efforts to specifically call out the actress:
Did Weinstein respond to any other specific actress Or are y’all seeing what I’m seeing. https://t.co/fdzGrg3K4r
April (@ReignOfApril) October 21, 2017
Harvey Weinstein wouldn’t respond to rape allegations from white women but he was quick to attempt to refute Lupita. https://t.co/apRDHgydDa
Denizcan James (@MrFilmkritik) October 20, 2017
14 white women and Lupita Nyong’o speak out against Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults.
Weinstein only rebukes Nyong’o.
Wonder why pic.twitter.com/k0DnMNOEIo
Millennial Politics (@MillenPolitics) October 21, 2017
Actress and activist Jane Fonda cut to the chase in an interview on Wednesday saying allegations of sexual harassment and assault made by Black women and other women of color don’t get the same public attention as accusations made by “famous and white” women.
Fonda, along with Gloria Steinem, were guests on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” to discuss the Weinstein scandal.
“This moment, this ‘me too’ moment,” Hayes began, “the Weinstein dam breaking was one thing, and then this sort of cascade afterward. I’ve been reading account after account. What do you make of this moment we’re in”
“It feels different,” Fonda said. “It feels as if something has shifted.
“It’s too bad that it’s probably because so many of the women that were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein are famous and white and everybody knows them.
“This has been going on a long time to Black women and other women of color and it doesn’t get out quite the same. But, I think it’s so huge, this story.
“And so much is coming out that it shows it went on for so long, over so many countries, with people pimping for him, that it’s really made a big difference that women have come forward. Hopefully, it’s like a domino effect, affecting other industries.”
Fonda’s comments caused a stir on social media. Roland Martin,commentator for TV One and the host of “News One Now” tweeted:
Damn. Jane Fonda bringing the wood! And she’s 100% right. When white women complain, America listens. Black women Nope. https://t.co/MKQT12jExG
rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) October 27, 2017
Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center and daughter of slain civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King,tweeted, “Jane Fonda’s words underscore the need for an understanding of intersectionality and issues relative to Black women.”
In regard to allegations of sexual assault, Raja said that stereotypes about Black women from slavery continue to “pervade our society.”
“Look at the history of this country, such as slavery and Jim Crow laws, that basically said white men had the right to do what they wanted with Black women,” she told The Sacramento Bee. “Unfortunately, stereotypes that came from that time of Black women being sexually available and promiscuous pervade our society even now. … That means they may not fit into the image of a ‘believable woman’ that many people have.”
Women around the world have used the hashtag #MeToo to share accounts of sexual harassment or assault.Actress Alyssa Milano gave the hashtag a boost using her Twitter account.
However, in 2006, feminist Tarana Burke created Just Be Inc., a nonprofit organization that helps victims of sexual harassment and assault. Burke gave her movement a name: Me Too.
Milano later tweeted:
Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 16, 2017
“Some women of color noted pointedly that the longtime effort by Ms. Burke, who is Black, had not received support over the years from prominent white feminists,” according toThe New York Times.
Twitter users have noted Burke’s efforts:
Natasha Taffy Apple (@natashaapple_) October 30, 2017
Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) October 16, 2017