Harvey Weinstein boasted about the role sexual favours allegedly played in Charlize Theron and Salma Hayek's careers after an aspiring actress rejected a threesome request from the disgraced producer, a court has heard.
Dawn Dunning took the witness stand in the fallen movie mogul's New York City trial on Wednesday (29Jan20) and recounted two meetings she had with Weinstein back in 2004, when she was led to believe she was under casting consideration for three of his film projects.
During the first encounter, at a hotel suite he had been using as an office, Dunning claims he put his hand up her skirt and briefly pushed his finger into her vagina, prompting her to stand up in shock and turn to leave.
She told the jury Weinstein apologised and urged her not to "make a big deal of it", leading Dunning to give him "the benefit of the doubt" as she tried to "pretend it didn't happen".
She agreed to meet with the filmmaker in another hotel suite a month later, when he allegedly proposed having a threesome with Dunning and his assistant in order to sign off on the three acting jobs.
In her testimony, the now 40 year old recalls Weinstein, who was wearing an open bathrobe, flying into a rage.
"I laughed. I thought he was kidding," Dunning shared, growing emotional. "He got really angry. He said, 'You'll never make it in this business! This is how the industry works!'"
"He was a big guy; he was towering over me. I was really scared," she added.
She claims Weinstein then dropped the names of Theron and Hayek, suggesting they had slept their way to Hollywood success.
Dunning later made it clear she had nothing to gain from testifying in court: "If anything, I'm losing," she said. "I'm spending money, I'm spending time. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. I wouldn't wish this on anyone."
Prosecutors put Dunning on the witness stand as part of their effort to establish a pattern of predatory behaviour by Weinstein, following evidence given by The Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, who accused him of raping her in the early 1990s.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting two other women, Mimi Haleyi and Jessica Mann, maintaining all sexual encounters were consensual.
He faces life behind bars if convicted of the felony charges.
Theron and Hayek have yet to comment on the mention of their names in court, but the South African actress previously insisted she had never been one of Weinstein's victims, while in 2017, Hayek detailed the repeated harassment and bullying she reportedly faced from the producer during the making of her movie Frida after she rejected his sex requests.
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