Former ‘Project Runway’ Assistant Testifies Harvey Weinstein Sexually Assaulted Her: ‘I Was Mortified’
Miriam Haley, a former production assistant on the Harvey Weinstein-produced reality series “Project Runway,” testified Monday that the mogul pushed her into a bedroom in his Soho apartment in 2006 and sexually assaulted her.
“Every time I tried to get off the bed, he would push me back,” Haley told the court. “He pushed me down, he held me down, and I said, ‘No, no,’ and at that point I started realizing what was actually happening — I’m being raped.”
Haley said, “He held me down on the bed and he forced himself on me orally. I was on my period, I had a tampon in there — I was mortified.”
At one point, she said, “He literally pulled my tampon out. Honestly, I was in so much shock that I just checked out.” She noted that Weinstein was bigger and heavier than her and that she felt helpless when he “was holding me down by my wrists and also pushing me down and laying on top of me with his weight.”
She added, “Physically, I was trying to get away until I figured it was pointless and I was just squirming and I checked out, basically.”‘
Haley, née Mimi Haleyi, was born in Finland but raised in Stockholm, Sweden, and said she first met Weinstein in 2004 at a party for the Oscar-winning film “Aviator” and then encountered him again at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. She was looking to find employment since her boss at the time, British producer Michael White, was ailing. She was delighted to have Weinstein take an interest in her and set her up with a production assistant job on The Weinstein Company-produced “Project Runway” — even though she said she did not have a valid work visa to hold employment in the U.S.
It was after production on the series wrapped later that year that she said her encounters with Weinstein took a turn — particularly when he asked her to come to his loft apartment in Soho. “We were having a normal conversation, the television was on … and then he kind of came toward me and lunged at me and tried to kiss me,” she said.
After she left Weinstein’s apartment, Haley said she did not consider reporting the incident — in part because she said she had worked on “Project Runway” without a valid work visa. “Going to the police was not an option for me because having been on ‘Project Runway’ … I didn’t want anyone to ask about that,” she said. “Obviously, Mr. Weinstein has a lot more power and resources.”
Later that year, Haley testified that Weinstein convinced her to meet him again at a hotel in TriBeCa for another meeting.
“I feel like I was trying to regain some sort of power,” Haley said of why she decided to meet with him again.
But instead of meeting up in the lobby, Haley said she was sent to meet Weinstein in one of the hotel rooms. “Almost instantly, he took my hand and pulled me towards the bed,” she said. “At that point, I just thought, I just went numb. I thought, ‘Here we go again.'”
Haley, holding back tears, then testified that Weinstein had intercourse with her and began calling her a “whore” and a “bitch.”
“He has convinced me to meet him again, just to do something like that to me again, and I felt like an idiot,” a visibly upset Haley said. “I felt numb.”
Haleyi’s testimony supports two of the five felony counts that Weinstein faces in his criminal trial. He stands accused of predatory sexual assault and rape. He has pleaded not guilty and denied accusations of nonconsensual sex.
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www.thewrap.com | 1/27/20