The dozens and dozens of recounts from women of their alleged predatory exchanges with movie mogul Harvey Weinstein follow an eerily similar narrative: White robes. Empty hotel rooms. The offer of a massage. The promise of work. The prospect of a flourishing career.
Sometimes, they say, he would brag about his pursuit of sex with models, others, he would sit in the bath or stand in the shower. He’d always be alone, but it wouldn’t ever start that way.
After all, the rumours were rife and none of them good: Never be alone with Weinstein. Weinstein’s reputation around women wasn’t good.
But to – allegedly – sexually harass women over the course of 30 years with no consequence suggests Weinstein had a litany of secret keepers entangled in his web. People who, if the allegations are true, aided, abetted and were complicit in his ploy.
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According to Ronan Farrow, who this week penned one of the more explosive reports to come from the saga in The New Yorker, Weinstein used what he calls ‘the honey pot’ technique.
“A female executive with the company described how Weinstein assistants and others served as a ‘honey pot’ — they would initially join a meeting, but then Weinstein would dismiss them, leaving him alone with the woman,” Farrow reported.
The piece said employees “describe a pattern of professional meetings that were little more than thin pretexts for sexual advances on young actresses and models”, while some workers reportedly felt they were “enlisted in subterfuge to make the victims feel safe”.
It’s a story actress and model Cara Delevingne detailed on Instagram:
“The director left the meeting and Harvey asked me to stay and chat with him. As soon as we were alone he began to brag about all the actresses he had slept with and how he had made their careers and spoke about other inappropriate things of a sexual nature.
“He then invited me to his room. I quickly declined and asked his assistant if my car was outside. She said it wasn’t and wouldn’t be for a bit and I should go to his room. At that moment I felt very powerless and scared but didn’t want to act that way hoping that I was wrong about the situation.”
It’s a story model Zoe Brock detailed on Medium:
“I met Harvey Weinstein in Cannes at the Film Festival… Harvey and his assistant, Rick Schwartz, never left my side.”
When a big group of friends decided to move on from the large yacht they were on, Brock says she was ushered into a car. She was separated from her friends, found herself in the car with Harvey Weinstein driving towards, later arriving, at his hotel.
"After a few minutes [in the hotel room] a couple of the guys made motions to leave temporarily to make calls. The energy shifted and I became very uncomfortable. I turned to Rick and asked him to please get in touch with my friends immediately and find out where they were. Rick said he would go downstairs and see if they were having trouble getting up to the room, and left.
"And suddenly I was alone in a remote hotel suite with Harvey fucking Weinstein.
"Harvey left the room, but not for long. He re-emerged naked a couple of minutes later and asked if I would give him a massage."
And it's a story actress Dawn Dunning told, via The Times:
"In 2003, Dawn Dunning was doing small acting gigs, attending design school and waitressing in a nightclub where she met Mr. Weinstein.
His assistant invited her to a meal with Mr. Weinstein at a Manhattan hotel. Ms. Dunning headed to the restaurant, where she was told that Mr. Weinstein’s earlier meeting was running late, so she should head up to his suite.
There was no meeting. Mr. Weinstein was in a bathrobe, behind a coffee table covered with papers.
He told her they were contracts for his next three films, according to Ms. Dunning. But she could only sign them on a condition: She would have to have three-way sex with him.
It's called the honey pot technique, where Weinstein's alleged victims were made to feel safe under the false pretence that one of Weinstein's employees or assistants would be in the meeting. Of course, they would be present at the beginning. Then, as numerous women have told various publications this week, the assistants would leave.
Then? The women say they were left alone with the man who now faces a stream of sexual assault and harrassment allegations.
Which means that, if the large group of women are telling the truth about Weinstein, there were others at play here; this wasn't a one-man act.
This could, arguably, have been a web of people, all working like a well-oil machine to intimidate and coerce vulnerable women - consistently putting them in a position no woman ever wants to be in.