Weinstein’s harassment 30 years ago led Colorado College prof to study objectification of women – The Denver Post

Tomi-Ann Roberts was deciding whether to pursue a life in theater when she met Harvey Weinstein, an emerging Hollywood power broker whose heavy-handed sexual advance pushed her toward a career exploring the sexualization of women in society.

“I’m not going to say the line between walking out of Harvey Weinstein’s apartment is the line that got me here,” the 54-year-old Colorado College psychology professor said Thursday, “but that was foundational.”

Roberts was a Smith College student waiting tables in New York City’s theater district in the summer of 1984 when Weinstein and his brother, Bob, sat down for a meal at the restaurant.

She had been involved in theater throughout high school and college and arrived in the city planning to audition and maybe snag some acting jobs. “I was at a crossroads, trying to decide, ‘Am I going to major in theater?’ ”

The Weinstein brothers headed Miramax, a rising entertainment company at the time. “They had mostly been importing foreign films, but Harvey explained to me that I looked like someone who would be perfect for the part in a movie (they were planning).”

The Weinsteins hadn’t achieved the celebrity that came with Miramax’s subsequent success. Because the brothers were new to filmmaking, it wasn’t that surprising that they would offer an audition to a nobody, Roberts said. “I was young and blond and waiting tables.”

She received the script and updates, and later an invitation to meet with Harvey Weinstein. She expected the meeting to include others who were working on the movie.

Instead, when she arrived, she “heard him call me and say, ‘Come on down the hall,’ and he was in the bathtub. I remember being abjectly petrified. There is no script for that.”

He asked her to remove her top, saying she wouldn’t be good for the part if she was uncomfortable with nudity.

“I would like to tell you that I ran out of there,” she said. She responded that his suggestion was surprising and that she was too uncomfortable to disrobe, but she would be able to do what the part required.

A casting agent later auditioned her, telling her beforehand, “You know you are not getting this part.”