How the mighty hath fallen. Harvey Weinstein — one of Hollywood’s biggest and most influential film moguls — has been facing a very rough month, and rightly so. The 65-year-old has had his reputation thoroughly decimated with an ever-growing list of public allegations by industry figures such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan, and Lupita Nyong’o — all of whom have personally accused the man of sexual harassment and assault.
According to the New York Times exposé, the industry has been living with Weinstein’s heinous abuses of power for nearly 30 years now, but little did we know that his perverse reach extended as far as Singapore’s own entertainment circles. Yesterday, The Pride wrote about how 30-year-old Singaporean actress Caitanya Tan had her own disgusting experience with the fallen kingpin back in 2011 in Hong Kong.
The Tanglin actress — who recently caused quite a stir with a problematic interview about growing up hating her Indian name because she is “100% Chinese” — recounted a disturbing brush with Weinstein on the red carpet of the fifth Asian Film Awards.
Tan, then 24, was starring in a stage production at Hong Kong Disneyland. Weinstein had posed for a picture with her group of friends when he doubled back and caught her eye. He asked her if she was an actress — to which she said yes, understandably eager for an opportunity to work in Hollywood.
“Then he asked me: ‘I have a couple of scripts with me, would you like to come to my room to read them?’ I thought that was really creepy,” she noted to The New Paper. After she declined, he asked if she knew who he was.
“Do you know I can make you very famous?” he allegedly boomed.
“I was shocked at the way Weinstein had been so upfront about it, so strong in the way he delivered those lines. I told him, maybe it’s my ego, but I don’t want to be famous like this,” said the actress. Props to her for standing her ground in the bulbous face of intimidation.
As we learned in another recent interview, if Weinstein had tried to make his move on our neighbor’s most famous thespian export Michelle Yeoh, well, he’d have personally learned the full extent of her martial arts training.
Does Singapore have its own Weinstein?
As real life has shown, such scandals — even as heinous as sexual harassment — will hurt entertainment careers, but won’t necessarily end them. Just look at the likes of Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Casey Affleck, and a lot more that have yet to be uncovered.
On our shores, one example that comes to mind is Jack Neo. The celebrated 57-year-old director is still churning out film after film following reports of sexual harassment in 2010. This was even after Maelle Meurzec, a Singaporean actress of French descent, recalled how she was subjected to repeated harassment by the director despite her being just 16 years old at the time.
The Straits Times also reported about the existence of sexual predators in local showbiz who are major players — but dared not name them. So the internet did the job for the paper in the Facebook comments section.