Dominique Huett, the actress who sued the Weinstein Co. over its alleged complicity in Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, spoke out about her experience with the disgraced mogul in a press conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday.
Huett, appearing with her attorney Jeff Herman, reiterated the story that she shared in her lawsuit earlier this week, and said she had first met Weinstein a few years prior to the incident in New York, when she rebuffed him when he asked if she had a boyfriend.
“I shut that down immediately, and I said, ‘No, that has nothing to do with what I want to do.’ I said, ‘What is this, a casting couch thing?’” she said, and noted that Weinstein got “annoyed” with that response.
In her lawsuit, Huett had alleged that Weinstein lured her to a room at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills in November 2010 under the guise of helping her procure future TV and film roles. Once there, however, Weinstein went to the bathroom and returned only in a bathrobe, Huett alleges.
Weinstein then reportedly demanded that Huett give him a massage, and asked if he could perform oral sex on her, which she declined. She claims that Weinstein, however, persisted and performed oral sex on her and then masturbated in front of her.
Huett also said that the Weinstein Co. knew and was complicit in Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, and that the company was aware of the settlements and nondisclosure agreements that Weinstein struck with accusers.
At the press conference, Huett said she was “frozen” in the moment and “caught off guard.” “I didn’t know how to say no to someone like him at the time, which I regret,” she said. “I wish I would have shut it down right there, like I did a few years earlier.” She said she “never” had a consensual relationship with Weinstein at any point.
“In Hollywood, there’s a name for what happened here,” Herman said. “It’s called the casting couch. This case is really about putting the casting couch on trial.”
Herman believes that “certainly some people knew” at the Weinstein Co. about Weinstein’s behavior, but refused to take action. He pointed to allegations of “honey pots” at the Weinstein Co., where female assistants would reportedly lure women into vulnerable situations with Weinstein, and said that was evidence that it was “part of the culture” at the company. He said that Huett’s story “at a minimum” was sexual harassment.
“It was an imbalance of power, she said no, she was coerced, and it was unwanted sexual touching,” he said. “And it’s wrong.”
Huett, who also appeared on “Megyn Kelly Today” Wednesday morning with fellow Weinstein accuser Mimi Haleyi, explained that she’s coming forward now thanks to the other women who have shared their stories. “At the time, I personally did not have the idea to even report anything because I didn’t think anyone would care,” she said. “I didn’t think at that time that enough people were sharing their stories.”
“I want this to end,” she said. “This whole process was not right.”