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A TV journalist who said Harvey Weinstein exposed himself to her said the apology the legendary Hollywood producer gave amid accusations of sexual misconduct was “the final straw” that led her to speak out about the experience.
“That’s when I said, 'Oh no. Enough is enough with this guy.' There was no remorse, there was no even acknowledgement of the type of behavior that was going on,” Lauren Sivan told Megyn Kelly TODAY in an exclusive television interview.
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Sivan was an anchor with a Long Island cable news station when Weinstein struck up a conversation with her at a Manhattan restaurant in 2007, she recalled.
Later, at another restaurant, one he owned, Weinstein invited her to tour a downstairs kitchen. That’s where he cornered her in a vestibule, tried to kiss her and then masturbated in front of her, Sivan said.
“If he did this with me, who was just a stranger, who is not an actress in Hollywood and doesn’t need anything from him, I can only imagine how many other women something like this has happened to,” said Sivan. Her story was first reported by HuffPost.
Weinstein was fired from Weinstein Company on Sunday amid the fallout of the sexual misconduct scandal.
The accusations, first reported by The New York Times, spanned over a period of nearly three decades.
His accusers ranged from Hollywood actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan to employees of Miramax, the movie studio he founded with his brother, Bob.
In a statement last week, Weinstein apologized for his behavior, saying he came of age in the “60s and 70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different.”
"I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it,” he said.
Weinstein’s attorney, Charles Harder, issued a separate statement calling the Times article “saturated with false and defamatory statements” and threatened to sue the newspaper.
Sivan said her brief encounter with Weinstein inclined her to side with his accusers.
“I absolutely believe all of their stories, all of their stories," she said. "The casualness that he had in just luring me down there —he knew exactly what he was doing. That gave me the impression I was definitely not alone. I was definitely not the only one.”
She said she didn’t come forward earlier because she didn’t feel powerful enough to face off against someone she described as a “huge Hollywood mogul.”
“He was a titan in Hollywood, he could ruin your career if he didn’t like you," she said.
Wendy Murphy, a women's rights attorney, said that many victims of harassment have legitimate reasons to fear retaliation after reporting an incident. Still, she advises women to do it anyway.
"Your single incident might be one of many, and everyone feels like they're the only one, but if you report, then you start to see, 'Oh, I'm not alone," she said on Megyn Kelly TODAY. "Then the possibility of retaliation is diminished, because it's a lot harder to retaliate against five or 10 women, than one, but you won't know you're the only victim unless you tell."