Lena Headey tells a horrifying story about rejecting Harvey Weinstein twice

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Of course Matt Damon is in this photo. OF COURSE. Back in 2005, Lena Headey had a role in The Brothers Grimm, starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. Harvey Weinstein/The Weinstein Company produced the film. And that was when Lena Headey came into Harvey Weinstein’s path of perversion. Lena shared her Weinstein story on Twitter and it is full of some horrifying imagery. I am going to be haunted by her description of Weinstein’s hand gripping her arm all week. I’m going to be haunted by the thought of “what if the key card worked?” all year.

“The first time I met Harvey Weinstein was at The Venice Film Festival. The Brothers Grimm was showing there (during shooting I was subjected to endless bullying by the director Terry Gillam). At one point Harvey asked me to take a walk down to the water, I walked down with him and he stopped and made some suggestive comment, a gesture, I just laughed it off, I was genuinely shocked, I remember thinking it’s got to be a joke, I said something like…oh come on mate ?!?? It’d be like kissing my dad !! let’s go get a drink, get back to the others. I was never in any other Miramax film.”

“The next time was in LA, years later. I had always carried the thought that he’d never try anything with me again, not after I’d laughed and said never in a million years. I believed that he respected my boundary and maybe he wanted to talk about potential work. He asked me to meet for breakfast. We ate breakfast, we talked about films, film making. He asked me a few questions about the state of my love life. I shifted the conversation back to something less personal. Then he went to the loo. He came back and said, let’s go up to the room, I want to give you a script.”

“We walked to the lift and the energy shifted, my whole body went into high alert, the lift was going up and I said to Harvey, I’m not interested in anything other than work, please don’t think I got in here with you for any other reason, nothing is going to happen I said. I don’t know what possessed me to speak out at that moment, only that I had such a strong sense of don’t come near me.”

“He was silent after I spoke, furious. We got out of the lift and walked to his room. His hand was on my back, he was marching me forward, not a word, I felt completely powerless, he tried his key card and it didn’t work, then he got really angry. He walked me back to the lift, through the hotel to the valet, by grabbing and holding tightly to the back of my arm, he paid for my car and whispered in my ear, Don’t tell anyone about this, not your manager, not your agent. I got into my car and I cried.”

[From Lena’s Twitter & E! News]

It’s often said by victims of acquaintance/date rape or sexual assault that they had a moment, before the assault took place, of some sixth sense pinging that something is not right, that someone is not safe, that their fight-or-flight instinct was being triggered before the danger even happened. That’s what happened to Lena in that elevator – he was about to successfully manipulate Lena into doing what he wanted, which was getting her alone in a hotel room. But her sixth sense pinged and she felt it. Think about how bad it would have gotten if she hadn’t made that speech in the elevator. Think about how bad it would have gotten if his key card worked. God, these are the real pre-Halloween horror stories, aren’t they?

(Also: tell me more about Terry Gillam being a bully. I’ve heard rumors that he’s a misogynist and a douchebag. We need some on-the-record confirmations.)

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Photos courtesy of WENN, Getty.

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63 Responses to “Lena Headey tells a horrifying story about rejecting Harvey Weinstein twice”

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  1. trollontheloose says:

    this waste of skin still wants to make movie and is persuaded that his friends will back him up once he is out of rehab. And unfortunately I do believe that he will succeed.. Starting by Oprah who wants him “if he recognizes his bad behavior”. She should give a huge platform to all the victims. She should invite each one of them so they can will bring their stories so other predators can see that their time of assaulting/preying is up. One by one. But it is utopia.

    • Renee2 says:

      I SMH @ Oprah but since she is also a victim of rape and incest I think she might have a bit of Stockholm syndrome. I don’t think that you have to give her any slack, I just think she is messed up from it and that is where her issues with food stem from.

    • lavin says:

      He’s lower than pond scum.

    • flan says:

      Don’t watch any of his movies.
      Not even if your favourite actor is in it, or whatever other excuse.

      Oprah really wants him?
      That disgusts me.

  2. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    That’s one of the worst parts. He made SUCH good movies, she still got up to go see the script he had. Crazy.

  3. Margo S. says:

    Terry looks like a complete pompous prick.

    Lena is so lucky that the key didn’t work. But fvck, fat ass Harvey grabbing and moving her around like she’s his pet?! FCUK YOU HARVEY.

    • flan says:

      He has a similar look to Harvey. Is it just some kind of requirement for douche men in Hollywood to look like that?

  4. Mara says:

    I stopped liking Terry Gilliam after his absurd comment on Amber Heard (I think he said some dodgy stuff before that as well.) It sucks because Monty Python and Brazil are obviously brilliant and now they have big fat asterisks on them saying the director is a moronic dinosaur.

    • Really says:

      Terry Gilliam is a misogynist apologist and bullie, he went after Michelle Williams when he was the one that incresed the dangerous behavior and enviroment around heather ledger, he made some irresponsible and victim shaming about Amber heard defending Johnny debt.
      Lena also retweeted a comment about him being exposed by her, he has the fame to be a bullie.

    • ell says:

      what did he say about amber heard?

      • Handwoven says:

        Hey, googling Terry Gilliam Amber Heard gets me this BS that he tweeted out:

        “Like many of Johnny Depp’s friends I’m discovering that Amber is a better actress than I thought.. if only the… “bruise” would stay in one place.
        Below is a reasonable version of what many of us felt. ”

        And then he links to Doug Stanhope’s BS.

        So, there it is, scumbag acts like a scumbag. And I am using scumbag in the original sense of the word here, as in my mind Terry Gilliam is basically a sentient used condom.

      • ell says:

        thank you for finding out. this is UGH, disgusting. i have zero respect for those who didn’t believe amber heard, regardless of what they thought of her before she openly talked about the abuse, if you imply she’s lying you’re a coward.

    • mkyarwood says:

      He was the silent, surrealist cartoon maker anyway. Cleese is also a womanizing misogynist. Palin and Jones write books and do lovely history series, tho, check them out instead.

      • Mara says:

        I love Michael Palin, can’t wait for Death of Stalin. You’re right John Cleese was cancelled a while ago. I’m liking Eric Idle more and more (especially with all the stuff he does now about science and The Infinite Monkey Cage – great show) – I really hope he is one of the good ones.
        Still doesn’t help with Brazil though.

      • flan says:

        What did John Cleese do?

        Another ‘hero’ losing his pedestal, I guess.


      • anon says:

        @Mara and mkyarwood — Yes about the smart funny Michael Palin, always loved him,

    • msd says:

      I stopped liking Gilliam when he said all sorts of horrible things about Michelle Williams after Heath Ledger died. I think in a Vanity Fair article? So the Amber Heard comments didn’t surprise me at all. He also – surprise, surprise – stuck up for Polanski.

      He’s really misogynistic and difficult but men give him a pass because he’s a “genius”.

      Much as I love Monty Python stuff, most of the guys involved were really sexist and awful to women.

  5. Sixer says:

    *howl of rage*

    I don’t know about anyone else but this is all too much. I feel battered and tired and heartsick.

    • Nikki says:

      Yes, I love Celebitchy, and I know we owe it to each victim to read what they’ve gone through, but it is also making me heartsick at the start of each day. So much vile predation out there…It feels like the world is overwhelmingly dangerous to women, and the work world is skewed to a no-win situation. I’m framing it that everyone is learning the extent of the problem, and hopefully next time some creep warns a woman “not to tell a soul, not your manager, your agent, no one,” that she’ll remember that Harvey Weinstein was brought down. It IS sickening to think he could possibly bounce back professionally from this after pseudo-therapy; perhaps there’ll be a backlash against anyone who tries to work with him in the future. But he was still fired, everyone will be wary of him always, he’s lost his marriage and children, and he’s kicked out of professional organizations.

    • lavin says:

      To think for 3 decades he may have done this. It’s disgusting. It’s tragic, how many lives he may have ruined.

  6. ORIGINAL T.C. says:

    I’m wondering why he told her not to tell her agent or manager when he didn’t make the same threat to other actresses. And no one else in the lobby saw her being dragged to step in and try to help? I mean hotel guest, the workers I know are told to turn a blind eye. I’m curious if her manager and agent are British and Harvey didn’t want those across the pond to know that he is a rapist?

    • Nicole says:

      Or those managers were unaware while others fully knew the deal. Some of the stories talked about the managers sending them to these meetings. So I suspect maybe lena’s had very little clue as to what he was like

    • FF says:

      @ Original T.C.

      He told her not to say anything because he failed to get her into the room and because she put him on notice in the lift by being clear why she was going there. He could not claim she was playing a game, he could not blur the lines and confuse her as to why he preyed on her once he got her there, and, pointedly, he could not fool himself; then – finally – he could not get her into the room to intimidate her by force and shame her by assaulting her into being quiet – or even confusing anyone who heard the story second-hand by using the arguement that she still went into his room so….

      You can tell he understood what he was doing very well by how he acts as if his ego has been indefensibly wounded by being unable to force himself on her to prove that he’s still “the boss” in the situation: he felt he had lost control over her in the lift (and during the first incident), so his emphasis on telling her not to tell anyone is because in his mind she won that round because her rejection held when he could not get her into that room despite her still being caught in a situation that obviously traumatized her.

      So a very precise part of his MO is deliberately creating a situation to incite shame, guilt and coercion in these women by touching them, exposing himself to them, verbally abusing them, casting aspersions on their character with planted malignant gossip and rumour (which was also his repertoir), straight up bombardment and stalking, and/or when all else failed blacklisting.

      He is a serial rapist with a clear methodology, and he belongs in a jail cell.

    • magnoliarose says:

      He said to others. It didn’t matter because they all knew he was a creep, but I suppose he thought he could contain his image and it shames the victim even more.

  7. Nicole says:

    I’m just floored by all of this. And this is awful.
    Yesterday I was just thinking of all the people that made assaults like this easy for men like this. The agents that sent people to the hotels knowing what they know? The producers that do “nude lineups”? The biggest agency in Hollywood blocking Love when she spoke a truth that everyone was aware of. The people that praise abusive directors when it suits them (men and women here)? The men that didn’t do more? Yes Weinstein is horrible as are many many others who participated in this system.

    I guess it struck me that one man is not able to get away with this without a system backing him up. And that’s more than just in Hollywood

    • Sixer says:

      Yes. It’s beyond Harvey, isn’t it? It’s institutional. In a way, it reminds me of the Stephen Lawrence murder here in the UK, when an inquiry finally admitted the truth that British police forces were institutionally racist and it went way, way beyond the acts of individuals. Same thing here. Wankstain may well be a psychopath but he wouldn’t have got away with being one if he hadn’t been backed up by an abusive system.

      • brincalhona says:

        Once again, you’ve nailed it: it’s systemic and institutional. Unfortunately, organisations use cases like these to have one person take the fall and carry on as normal. We must and shall persist.

    • flan says:

      In the end the people who made Harvey powerful is us, the public.

      We went to his movies. We spent money that he could decide who would get it. That’s why he could keep so many quiet. They did not want to lose their jobs/perks/fame. Without the money we spent, he would have been nowhere.

      Of course we didn’t know. Or only thought it was only a shady casting guy somewhere indefinable. Or perhaps it happened only to actresses who ‘happily’ made use of the casting couch. Or perhaps we somewhat knew, but chose not to really know and still went to movies made by this guy and others like him.

      Now that we do know just how horrible it is, it’s up to us to no longer see movies that are made by these people. And perhaps, as a start, we can not throw our money at the millionth movie about a guy saving the day, where women are interchangable love-interests.

      Perhaps we can see movies made by women or other vulnerable groups instead.
      Or read books, articles online, watch art in a gallery etc etc, that are made by groups that are usually marginalized.

  8. AbbyRose says:

    Years ago I read an article about the death of Heath Ledger. They interviewed Terry Gilliam and he blamed Michelle Williams for his death. The was he spoke about MW was incredibly cruel and really turned me against him.

    • FishBeard says:

      Seriously? And he knew Heath all of what? A few months on a film set? Michelle can never catch a break when it comes to this shtuff

  9. Esmerelda says:

    I understand the “ping” of a sixth sense, it happened to me in a couple of situations and luckily I was able to walk out, but the “what ifs” still sort of haunt me. But a lot in my escapes was due to luck and not to foreplanning or to any inherent qualities that made me less of a victimisable target. Any victim that had the ‘ping’ and couldn’t get away, any victim that didn’t get the sixth sense… It doesn’t matter any, the responsibility in each and every case it’s on the predator.

    • Malificent says:

      You know when you’ve been slimed. Two different guys can say the same words in the same situation — and one will be totally harmess while the other one sets off alarm bells.

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      yes, I have too. We were alone in his room and he was just.. it was pressure. His mom (we were teenagers) asked him to go to the store, so we left. He went in alone, and once he did I got out and ran home (I lived just a few blocks away, thankfully).
      He called me, and when I broke it off, he told me it was a mistake, I’d miss him- something like that.
      Not once, did I.
      You sometimes just know.

      • Giddy says:

        I have written before about the wonderful book The Gift Of Fear. In it the author speaks of survival signals that we need to always listen to. He asserts that all have these signals but that so often we don’t listen to them, especially if you are female. He mentions how women often get one of those survival signals: you hesitate to get on an elevator with a man who you have a sudden aversion to, your blind date worries you, you flag down a cab and then suddenly don’t want to get in it. He says we need to listen and act on all those signals, that they are literally survival signals. But he writes that women often hate to seem rude, so we don’t run when we should. All of you paid attention and acted on your fear. That’s great!

      • jetlagged says:

        @Giddy, I recommend that book to anyone and everyone. It’s been on my bookshelf for the better part of a decade, and I still go back to re-read parts of it on a regular basis.

      • flan says:

        It’s weird but I had an aversion against that Grimm movie since before it came out. People asked me to come see it, but I really didn’t want to and haven’t so far. It seemed like such a ‘cool’ bro-movie that had no room for any agency in women playing in it.

        After that, I also learned more about the Brothers Grimm. How they used folk stories told by women and changed them. That didn’t help with my aversion against this movie.

    • lucy2 says:

      We all have to trust that instinct when we feel it. It won’t always save everyone, but we need to know it’s ok to feel that instinct and to say “no, this isn’t right”.

      • Esmerelda says:

        True! We’re socialised to be polite, accommodating, to excuse others and never over react. We’re not socialised to just leave without an explanation whenever we feel preyed upon. That might offend the poor poor predators…

      • flan says:

        @Esmeralda, so very well said!

  10. monette says:

    When did this creep ever do any work?? He basically assaulted or tried to assault hundred of women a year. All that mental and physical energy, planning, scheming. He must have had some terrible urges for power and control.
    He has deep, deep psychological issues.
    He is very similar to a serial killer, same impulse control problems.
    I wonder what would have happened if he had put all this energy, effort and intelligence into something good or constructive.
    Just think about it!

  11. Mrs. Darcy says:

    Horrifying and a lucky escape for Lena. I keep wondering when did this vile pig ever do any actual “producing” in between trying to rape every woman he ever met – seriously, like what do producers even do that he had all of this free time to ruin so many women’s lives? Did he do anything besides flash scripts around – it just raises a lot of (possibly beside the point but still) questions about the Hollywood machine, this guy was seen as like the top producer, and yet it seems he barely had time to do anything besides be a scumbag. I don’t know, I find it weird/fascinating, I think the whole house of cards is going to come tumbling down at this rate, maybe we will finally see more women and diversity in film now. It really is mind blowing. Terry Giilliam is a disappointing dumbass too, grrr. Good on Lena for telling the truth.

    It’s so systemic and messed up, the silence being broken is truly shattering the entire social conscience, my entire Facebook feed is flooded with #metoo and it is heartbreaking and unifying all at once. I have only experienced “mild” aka standard sexual harassment by most standards, but still, I find it all so moving and important and it is making me proud to be a woman for all the sh*t we deal with with so much dignity and strength. Feeling super emotional tbh.

  12. Misogynist says:

    Terry Gilliam twitted about Amber Heard like insinuating she was lying and before he blamed Michelle Williams for Heath’s death and I’m sure he did more things like this or worse against women. Is his nature to attack women #cancelled

    • ell says:

      horrible what he said about amber heard, i cancelled everyone who did not believe her tbh. sherylinn fenn who played audrey in twin peaks is also forever cancelled.

    • Div says:

      Yep, I remember being horrified back in the day when I read what he said about Michelle….so I wasn’t surprised that he made sexist, awful comments against Amber also.

    • Flipper says:


      What did Sherilyn Fenn say?

  13. ell says:

    i remember the problem between lena and terry gillam being that he was forced to cast her, he didn’t want her, he wanted another actress. that’s obviously no excuse to bully lena though, so disappointing.

    and her story sound super scary, i get really triggered by men losing their patience and being furious.

  14. OTHER RENEE says:

    Why are we at all surprised? This isn’t just about Hollywood as many here have arrested to. Look at the #metoo response. It’s an historical world-wide reality: Women and children are abused daily by men everywhere on the planet. Men start 100% of wars. 99.9% of rapists are men. Almost all those guilty of sexual harassment (but not all) are men. It’s in their DNA to exert power over others. Until this fundamental fact changes, we are doomed to live in a world where this devastating dynamic is the norm. It’s always been this way. We are just talking about it now.

  15. Sway says:

    Lena dodged a bullet here. A real, big, fat, ugly, disgusting, rapist bullet. Someone really watched over her that day, that key card malfunction really sounds like divine intervention happening right on time…

  16. Veronica says:

    Gavin de Becker’s “The Gift of Fear” talks a lot about that “sixth sense” we have toward dangerous situations, small red flags that we pick up on subconsciously. I think it’s worth a read for everybody, especially because he explicitly discusses how society teachers women to override their personal instincts in order to be “nice,” often at our own expense. Over and over again in these stories, we see that echoed in the women here – they know something’s wrong on an intrinsic level, but they keep talking and tolerating it because they’re terrified of the repercussions of breaking the social pretense of Situation Normal.

    • lucy2 says:

      That book was brought up on another topic ages ago and I bought it, but haven’t read it yet. I really need to now. And then I’ll donate it somewhere for someone else to read.

  17. Div says:

    This entire Harvey saga of rape, sexual harassment, and more is so upsetting. Every single member of his company should resign, immediately, because there is no way they weren’t aware of what he was doing….

    It’s making me relive my own assaults and I am still so, so angry at the campus cop who victim blamed me, said “why were you in his room,” and kept being very aggressive about my sobriety (I hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol but even if I had it wouldn’t have made a difference). 11 years later and assholes are still doing this victim blaming as I’ve seen in these various cases since Harvey’s been in the news. I wish this was the only time it happened to me but it happened again (in addition to gropings) and reading all of this just makes me realize that almost every woman has been abused or harassed.

  18. Flipper says:

    I want Matt Damon’s career to end. He’s a horrible human being and his true colors are showing.

  19. Unicorn_Realist says:

    A few years back, I was strolling through the mall with my best friend and boy friend at the time. Saw a young woman ( mid 20’s) being push forward through the mall by a mid 50’s man with a meaty hand squeezing the back of her neck. It happened so quickly, it gelt like a blur. At lunch we all admitted we saw it. The old man with the huge pinky ring and nice suit. It was sickening. I will never forget her. She was smiling but her eyes were vacant. That relationship or whatever it was couldnt have been healthy. It made my skin crawl when I saw them pass a few times during the duration of my shopping trip. None of us did anything. Highend mall with hundreds of people. Not one person. Its the whole “mind your business” sentiment we are taught from a young age. What would we say even? What could we do?

  20. Nan says:

    About Terry Gilliam.

    I’m not sure if posting links work but here’s an interview with Miriam Margolyes (Harry Potter’s Professor Pomona Sprout, and plenty of other work) in Daily Record http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/celebrity/harry-potter-actress-miriam-margolyes-1085814 where she describes her experience with Gilliam and Co.

  21. Curiosity says:

    And let me guess: ‘Good Guy’ Matt Damon didn notice that Headey was bullied on set of “Brothers Grimm”?

  22. magnoliarose says:

    Terry Gilliam is a misogynist and totally self-absorbed. He is always standing up for people accused of heinous things like the guys he knew from the Jimmy Savile scandal. He seems to always stand up for men. He is harsh and not very sympathetic to other people’s time or comfort. Egotistical not unlike a lot of them are, but he ends up making some people hate his guts. There is talk of him being a misery to work with.

    Matt the elfish truth dodger rears his heard near another man who mistreats women. Hmm. Strange. *eye roll*

  23. IsThisReal? says:

    Remember, there are HUNDREDS of women Harvey abused that we will NEVER hear about.

    I put Me Too, in my fb profile, but I didn’t tell my friends what happened.

    And…it was flight that got me out of what would have been rape.
    I’ve never penned this story before and I won’t now.
    But….my instinct kept me talking to the man while he threw my back against a tree and my instinct pulled my wrists right out of his fists through the thumb and forefinger like I was taught in some self-defense class somewhere.

    My story has a happy ending even though I WAS abused. I DID flee. I DID get away. But I was scarred so deeply for decades. Until I realized who was really haunting me and fought back.