Lea Seydoux on Harvey Weinstein: ‘He’s big & fat, so I had to be forceful to resist him’

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Lea Seydoux is a 32-year-old French actress, probably best known for her role in Blue Is the Warmest Color and Spectre (where her role was terrible, but I don’t blame her for that). She’s been a working actress for years and years, she’s been nominated for Cesar Awards (the French equivalent of an Oscar) four different times. She won the Palme d’Or in Cannes for Blue Is the Warmest Color. All of that means that she’s dealt with a lot of men like Harvey Weinstein in her life. And she’s had enough. Lea shared her story with The Guardian, and she is f–king awesome. You can read the full piece here.

I meet men like Harvey Weinstein all the time. I have starred in many films over the last 10 years and have been lucky enough to win awards at festivals like Cannes. Cinema is my life. And I know all of the ways in which the film industry treats women with contempt. When I first met Harvey Weinstein, it didn’t take me long to figure him out. We were at a fashion show. He was charming, funny, smart – but very domineering. He wanted to meet me for drinks and insisted we had to make an appointment that very night. This was never going to be about work. He had other intentions – I could see that very clearly.

We met in the lobby of his hotel. His assistant, a young woman, was there. All throughout the evening, he flirted and stared at me as if I was a piece of meat. He acted as if he were considering me for a role. But I knew that was bullsh-t. I knew it, because I could see it in his eyes. He had a lecherous look. He was using his power to get sex. He invited me to come to his hotel room for a drink. We went up together. It was hard to say no because he’s so powerful. All the girls are scared of him. Soon, his assistant left and it was just the two of us. That’s the moment where he started losing control.

We were talking on the sofa when he suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me. I had to defend myself. He’s big and fat, so I had to be forceful to resist him. I left his room, thoroughly disgusted. I wasn’t afraid of him, though. Because I knew what kind of man he was all along.

Since that night in his hotel room, I’ve seen him on many other occasions. We are in the same industry, so its impossible to avoid him. I’ve seen how he operates: the way he looks for an opening. The way he tests women to see what he can get away with. He also doesn’t take no for an answer. I once went with him to a restaurant and when he couldn’t get a table he got angry and said: “Do you know who I am? I am Harvey Weinstein.” That’s the kind of man he is. I’ve been at dinners with him where he’s bragged openly about Hollywood actresses he has had sex with. He’s also said misogynistic things to me over the years. “You’d be better if you lost weight,” he said. That comment shocked me.

One night, I saw him in London for the Baftas. He was hitting on a young woman. Another time, at the Met Life ball, I saw him trying to convince a young woman to sleep with him. Everyone could see what he was doing. That’s the most disgusting thing. Everyone knew what Harvey was up to and no one did anything. It’s unbelievable that he’s been able to act like this for decades and still keep his career. That’s only possible because he has a huge amount of power.

[From The Guardian]

You know what I love about Lea? That she doesn’t feel guilty or ashamed. None of Harvey’s victims are guilty of anything, but almost all of the victims who have come forward have talked about the guilt and shame they felt for being in that position, for being manipulated, for the sinking realization that this was his game all along. Lea’s not playing that. F–k that noise, she’s saying. He’s gross and fat and obscene and crude and vile and monstrous she’s saying. He is pathetic and she saw through him. Good for her.

After the Weinstein story, Lea continued to detail the other humiliations, harassments and abuses she’s suffered at the hands of male directors. When she was in her mid-20s, a director who she “really liked and respected” told her, “I wish I could have sex with you, I wish I could f–k you.” She also gave a not-so-blind-item about the director of Blue Is the Warmest Color, Abdellatif Kechiche, describing work on a film with “very long sex scenes that lasted days.” She says the unnamed director “kept watching us, replaying the scenes over and over again in a kind of stupor. It was very gross.” Lea and Adèle Exarchopoulos were both pretty open about the bad experiences they had on that film.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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76 Responses to “Lea Seydoux on Harvey Weinstein: ‘He’s big & fat, so I had to be forceful to resist him’”

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  1. Rose says:

    I love Lea she’s so cool. Blue is the Warmest Colour is a brilliant film but each sex scene is about 95% longer than they need to be. In fact I think the film would work without any of the sex scenes because their acting and chemistry is amazing anyway.

  2. Suki says:

    Does this also explain why there aren’t so many parts for older actresses? These men target the young. This seems to expose a further reason why women are phased out of Hollywood at a certain age and it’s wrong.

  3. Sara says:

    Lea Seydoux is the granddaughter of one of the most powerful men in French movies, connected to the Pathé Empire. This, again, is to point out that even movie royalty (Argento, Paltrow, Jolie) was not protected.

  4. Lizzie says:

    all of these women are awe inspiring.

    kaiser – have you slept? are your fingers literally on fire from typing. are your eyes crossed from looking at the screen? you should do a spa day this weekend. you and everyone at CB have been doing awesome work here in 2017 – the year irony decency and hope died.

  5. Steph says:

    I love that she had the guts to say that everyone knew about it but did nothing. These kind of comments make the other actors look laughable about not knowing.

  6. Purplehazeforever says:

    She makes a point that I have repeatedly stressed… Weinstein was very powerful & that is why he was allowed to continue for as long as he did. Women were scared of him, they continued to work with him and he made everyone a lot of money. I know many commenters think this is nothing but I’m not sure you can overlook this. These are actors and actresses trying to get work. A powerful man in the industry blackballs you like he did to Mira Sorvino, Roseanna Arquette, Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd. And I think even Paltrow’s career suffered too. I’m rethinking everything now that I know he’s harassed and/ or assaulted these women. The narratives that came out about Jolie at the time. How much of that was Weinstein? This pr*ck and we still want to hold others complicit??? Good God, I’m getting ragey.

  7. Wren33 says:

    To me, these stories speak to a huge perception gap between men and women. When men say that they heard rumors but had no idea that he was assaulting people, they mean that they knew he was a perv and that he slept with a lot of young actresses. But if they see him inviting a girl up to his room, they don’t see the fear inside her.

    • Natalie S says:

      But they are friends with some of these women. Men knew to warn women. They knew; they’re just looking for plausible deniability.

      • kaiko says:

        not to argue your points, because I agree, but ya know…men can be pretty dense about these sorts of things, especially if they are preoccupied with their own agenda at these events, plus the excitement, the mind is all over the place with all the interviews, the networking with who’s who, etc etc… the male brain is not good at multitasking or reading subtle human behaviors very well even when not highly distracted.

    • lucy2 says:

      I think this is a good point Wren. A lot of men don’t understand or realize the fear that most women have. They just don’t. I think that’s why it’s so important to have conversations like this, and for them to listen. Not to say “not all men!” or fake cry about protecting daughters, but to really listen and do their best to understand what it must feel like to have that fear.

  8. EOA says:

    More women in more positions of power in all industries helps to ease this. That is not to say it will solve all problems but when women have positions of authority, they do focus on creating better, safer environments for other women.

  9. Tig says:

    Good for Lea- and esp for continuing to call out that director of “Blue…”. If memory serves, these two had quite a war of words last year.

  10. rachel says:

    Léa is not fucking around. And I agree with one poster, she’s probably talking about Tarantino.

  11. Katherine says:

    Really appreciated her article

  12. Vovicia says:

    I never knew she was that big in French and foreign films before I saw her in Spectre. What a shame that she got involved with that rubbish. I don’t hate Bond films – but that one in particular was just such crap.
    I also like her attitude about it. Because as the article went on I kind of started thinking, ‘Why does she keep going to dinner or places with this guy?’ And my sense is – she knew what he was and what he would try and figured she could handle it. This is the attitude and practical skills that we need to be teaching our young girls. The French seem to come by it rather more naturally…..

    • Susanne says:

      I do love her matter of fact way of telling the story. It does seem so french, like the ‘meh’ shrug they do.
      I disagree that we should all fearlessly and knowingly walk into these situations. She got lucky. He could have prevented her from leaving the room, and worse.

    • lucy2 says:

      I had the same instincts reading it. “Don’t go up to the room! Don’t have dinner with him again!” It’s like watching a horror movie – don’t go in there! But I took it less as she thought she could handle him, and more like she felt like she HAD to.
      “It was hard to say no because he’s so powerful.” She went in with her eyes open, she did see through him, but she still felt she had to go. Such an abuse of power.

      Also, this assistant sounds like they need to be held responsible too – this is several victims now who have said whoever the assistant is aided him in all this.

    • kaiko says:

      But Lea didn’t need anything or owe him anything, as many of his victims felt they did. She had success, she has the money and connections and isn’t desperate for Hollywood fame/fortune…hence it wasn’t as hard of a situation for her to deal with once she knew what his MO was. Glad she’s calling out other big name abusers though, that is what is needed.

  13. teacakes says:

    I love Léa, I’ve been a fan ever since her Levi’s commercial days, and I love her for speaking out.

    Her piece is a good one, too – her contempt for Wankstain comes across so loud and clear. And I love that she lays into her pervert producers and directors so directly, especially that asshole from BITWC who had the nerve to exploit her and then accuse her of being spoiled. Léa isn’t having any of it.

    • Honeybee Blues says:

      Oh Teacakes, I’m so happy you mentioned Levis. I can’t remember the source of what I’m disclosing, but I remember it being beyond credible. So, Wankstein (thank you, Sixer) used to have his assistant purchase his Levis in two sizes; the one that fit, and the one he wished fit. Then, said assistant would take off the outside, waistband tag on the larger size, and sew on the smaller sized tag, which I believe was a 34W, which he hasn’t seen in decades. Too fucking funny! And I remember thinking at the time, “Who could invent this? Must be true.”

  14. Metoo says:

    With all the talk of sexual assault and sexual harassment, I made a quick list of my own. I counted 12 times I’ve been either one or the other in my lifetime. First one when I was 8 (which was the worst of all and may have set me up to accept the rest) all the way through to the last which happened on Sunday a week before my 48th birthday.
    This is my number. Am I above or below average? No idea. It’s not discussed in polite company. All but two I’ve kept secret, never reported or complained about to anyone. I completely understand all the women that have come forward. It’s not normal, not acceptable, but somehow there’s almost no point in doing anything about it because it’s so commonplace.
    In case you’re wondering…
    1. Relative
    2. Stranger at airport
    3. Neighbour in elevator
    4. Neighbour in elevator again
    5. Stranger in mall
    6. Stranger in mall again
    7. Stranger on street
    8. Different stranger on street
    9. Co-worker
    10. Co-worker
    11. Co-worker
    12. Gym class instructor

    • frisbee says:

      Perhaps if women take to Twitter and make a list like this society as a whole may just start to appreciate the gravity of the situation and how this totally unacceptable behaviour has become normalised and accepted as part of life. I can list six – and I consider myself to have got of lightly compared to some – how bloody awful is that really?
      We can hashtag it @abuseiscommonandreal….

    • paranormalgirl says:

      With very little thought, I can name 9 times. WIth some thought, it’s going to be up there. It’s sad that we are able to do this.

    • Beckysuz says:

      Wow that made me think. I’ve got at least 4 that I can think of right off the top of my head. It’s scary to think how often things like this happen. I definitely feel a real burden to teach my three boys about respect and consent. As horrifying as it would be to have my daughter experience anything that I have, I would be wrecked if my sons treated women in this manner.

    • Metoo says:

      Seems my number is higher than average. Maybe because I’m older? Hope it doesn’t mean I’ve been complicit. I only counted actual unwanted physical touching. Not catcalls or other non-physical types of harassment. That would be way too hard to calculate. My number is off the top of my head, there may be more that I pushed out of mind, for now. But 12 does seem high, regardless.

      • KiddVicious says:

        I was wondering if you were counting cat-calls or verbal assaults and was thinking I had too many to even remember, starting with grade school.

        I guess I’ve been “lucky” with physical assaults with only 2 and they were college age, basically attempted date rape.

      • Metoo says:

        @Kiddvicious – yeah, catcalls and veiled innuendos, can’t even remember those, nevermind count them. Sadly, those only get an eyeroll at this point. But, for you – date rape, wow, that’s just awful.
        I always thought that things like this only happened to me, or “normal” people. Always saw famous people as sheltered from experiencing this. Naive, I guess. I’m really hoping all this offers perspective. But, I don’t expect anything to change really. My niece is 16 and already been through it once. At least I can hope her number freezes there.

      • tmot says:

        I’m 50. I have lost count.

        One completed rape and a LOT of nonconsensual touching (etc).

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      I was thinking of making a list, too. Could probably list 4-5 quickly, and does my (male) boss throwing me up against a wall behind his closed office door to threaten me because I asked for the title/raise I deserved count? It wasn’t sexual. ; (

      This doesn’t include catcalls, requests to smile, comments on my body, or what higher management did or didn’t do about reported incidents at work.

  15. kibbles says:

    I love her directness and that she places blame squarely on this pig and not on herself. Maybe that’s the difference between a liberal European woman and an American? I also love that she put other people in the industry on blast: “Everyone could see what he was doing. That’s the most disgusting thing. Everyone knew what Harvey was up to and no one did anything.” Yep. That’s what many of us have believed all along. That’s why we don’t believe these politicians, actors, and actresses who have stated they never heard or experienced anything with this pig. He was probably hitting on women and harassing them openly at events, fundraisers, and premieres. These people – his former friends – just accepted it because of the power and money he had. They probably reasoned to themselves that these women wanted it just to have a chance at being in one of his movies. I never was into Lea as an actress, but I love this article she has written and will watch more of her films in the future.

    • Bridget says:

      France in general isn’t great when it comes to Body autonomy and sexual assault (“love culture” anyone?). Lea speaking up is a reflection of Lea.

      • Truthful says:

        Not really .
        I am French and around lea s age and the ” love culture” you are talking about was more still in place at our parents’ time .
        And by the way rape in France isn’t dismissed the way it is on the US, it is 1 – a very serious crime ( if the reubenville awful events has occurred in France the guys would have been sentenced 15/ 20 years minimum… football career or not…)and 2- not assumed as the victim fault ( the way you were dressed or if you have been or not under the influence doesn’t matter: it is not even asked by the police…)

        So not really… Lea talk reflects pretty much our me culture .that has clearly evolved during the last 30 years…

      • Bridget says:

        Your using the Steubenville case is like my using the big gang rape case in France as my example.

        Many, many things have been written about women’s place in French society. I’m sorry that you disagree, but I am most definitely not the sole holder of this opinion.

      • Truthful says:

        “The big gang rape case” can you develop please…

        I took the Steubenville case as an example… sadly you have a lot , a LOT of them… like a lot!! (apparently any campuses have yearly “events”… we don’t)

        “Many, many things have been written about women’s place in French society. ”

        Again can you please point out a specific?

        As a french women I am shocked whenever I travel to the states: everything is controlled from your sexuality, to your matrimonial status, to the right things to do regarding your age, to the way your are supposed to dress regarding this one and behave still regarding this one…

        We don’t have this: I am going to marry… or not…. The fact that I sleep with whomever I want is my concern (and doesn’t give the right to others to judge me … or assault me…) , the fact that I can sleep the very first night doesn’t mean that it won’t be serious with the guy (as he won’t define me throughout only this sole fact), the fact that I can be drunk and not pointed as a target for assault,… when I will be 40… 50 and up I would be able to dress however I want AND be still considered attractive by men till I die…all these things seem quite difficult to do if not age/ ladylike behavior appropriate in the states…

        So again please can you provide a specific source? like just one written thing about women’s place in french society.

        ps: our president is married to a woman 24 years older than him… compare the situation to your presidential couple…

  16. Gigi says:

    I’m reading all of these stories from the women he’s harassed and they all mention “the assistant”…hmmm Did she help? Did she know what his intentions were all along? Why didn’t she help?

  17. Icantremembermyusername says:

    I wish we could all have the spark and fire and confidence that French women seem to possess. Jealous.

  18. ALF-M says:

    Lèa’s grandfather is the the Chairman of the major French Movie Studio Pathe, she is the grandniece of the founder of the major French Studio Gaumont and the daughter of the founder of the Parrot! How the hell did this happen to her? I’m not victim blaming her for not publically calling HW out when it happened, but you’d think with her family’s powerful in the film/tv industry in Dranxe and internationally, she would have been protected. Guess no one was safe from HW?

    • kibbles says:

      Yes. Think about it. If this can happen to wealthy, well-connected women at the upper echelons of society and the entertainment industry, just imagine what happens to industry writers with no connections, or working actors and actresses looking for even a small speaking or non-speaking role. Lesser known actors and industry workers are being exploited everyday, and we’ll never hear about it because the media deems those people not to be important enough.

  19. Hola says:

    This guy is a huge pig and he’s probably just the tip of he iceberg of the debauchery and misogyny and straight up abuse that goes on in Hollywood. What makes me sad is how much more attention and outrage this is getting than the allegations and proof of child abuse and pedophilia that is also a big problem in Hollywood. What’s up with that?

    • tmot says:

      He is very well known and until recently was very powerful, and there are people willing to come forward and name names.

      Until someone chooses to expose these other men *by name* it will never blow up like this has. It will just remain another thing that “everyone knows” but no one really wants to think about.