Warning: This story contains details some readers may find disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.
One of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims took the stand to deliver an emotional testimony of her experience with the disgraced Hollywood producer.
This week, Kelly Sipherd, who worked as an aspiring actress in the ’80s and ’90s and has since left the business, testified that she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein during TIFF in Toronto in 1991 and 2008.
The jury in the case will not deliberate on Sipherd’s allegations, as they are not part of the 11 charges Weinstein is facing in the trial. Her testimony was intended to demonstrate a pattern on behaviour on the producer’s part.
As Variety reported, Sipherd said that she first met Weinstein at a TIFF party in 1991 when she was just 24-years-old. They carried their conversation over drinks, and later, Weinstein allegedly suggested he might have a role for her, and invited her to his hotel room at the Four Seasons in Toronto to see the script.
Once there, Weinstein allegedly went into the bathroom, and emerged wearing only an unbuttoned shirt, with no pants or underwear.
“It all happened fast,” Sipherd said, recalling that Weinstein proceeded to pull off her skirt and put a hot cloth on her vagina, telling her, “My wife loves this. You’re going to love this.”
She said that he then forcibly began performing oral sex on her and inserting his fingers in her vagina while holding her down by her chest and legs.
When she tried to tell him to stop, Weinstein allegedly responded, “You’re going to love this. … It’s okay … it won’t be long.”
She also recalled him telling her, “I’m going to f**k you. It won’t take long. Just relax,” before penetrating her.
Sipherd said that her career was “derailed” by the assault, including her decision to skip an audition he had set up for her in New York after a contentious phone call with Weinstein.
Years later, in 2008, Sipherd was living with her family at the Four Seasons while their home was under renovation, with their time there coinciding with TIFF.
One day, she happened to see Weinstein in the hotel lobby. She said that she was approached by his assistant, who told her the producer wanted to see her.
“Actually, I wanted to see him because I wanted to ask why,” Sipherd testified. “All those years ago … I had thought about it often,” adding, “I felt like I was ready to give it to him.”
She recalled, “I blurted out, ‘How does it feel to be in front of the one woman who said no to you.’”
After heading up with him and his assistant to his hotel room, Weinstein allegedly “shuttled” her into a bathroom and closed the door before “propositioning” her for sex.
“I’m angry still. I’m afraid. And I feel stupid,” Sipherd recalled. “Once again, it came out of nowhere. His demeanour changed.”
She said that Weinstein suddenly “pulled his penis out and started masturbating,” and added, “He wanted to see my breasts while he was masturbating.”
Sipherd explained that she was trying to get out of the situation, but, “There was no way I could get around him. He was much larger.”
After Weinstein allegedly ejaculated onto a bathmat, she was finally able to leave.
She did not tell any of her friends, or her husband, about the incident at the time, saying that she was “very, very embarrassed” and “felt stupid” over what had happened.