“Extra” sat down with Lauren Sivan, who opened up about her 2007 encounter with Harvey Weinstein after news broke that the partner in The Weinstein Company had lost his job amid allegations of years of sexual misconduct.
Sivan, who was a reporter with News 12 Long Island at the time, did not publicly tell her story until this weekend, after the New York Times published a report of multiple alleged incidents of sexual harassment by Weinstein.
Sivan explained her reaction to the piece in The New York Times was, “'Finally, finally.' I knew there were other people that this had happened to.”
Lauren told "Extra" she met up with Weinstein at a restaurant that he owned, where he allegedly cornered her in a vestibule, tried to kiss her and then masturbated in front of her.
They had initially had what she remembered as a good conversation, but things quickly changed. She said, “It was all very flattering. I thought how great we had a lovely conversation.”
She said Weinstein lured her downstairs by offering her a tour of the kitchen. “What happened to me… I was a stranger that he lured down into a restaurant basement," Lauren said. "That’s not office culture in the 1960s, that’s assault.”
"When he asked me if I wanted to see a tour, I said sure," she went on. "When we got down to the kitchen, it was empty… He walked me to the back vestibule… He tried to kiss me, I immediately backed off. When I tried to leave or get past him, he told me to stand there and be quiet and that is when he exposed himself and pleasured himself. I was disgusted.”
“He never touched me. I said, 'Can I go now?’” she elaborated. “It was completely shocking. He left me with the impression that this goes on quite a bit, he was so casual about the whole thing.”
Sivan was not defensive when asked why she waited so long to come forward. She explained, “I had told people the story over the years, anytime his name came up. I never went out publicly, I never wanted to be known for something like that and I also didn’t think it would do anything, coming out publicly against a man like that — I would be shut up quickly. Now, people far braver than me, who actually worked in the industry, came out against a man who has immeasurable power in Hollywood, that really took guts.”
Weinstein’s initial statement made her “furious” and made her want to say something. Weinstein said, "I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go."
Sivan, who also worked at Fox News channel, where Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly were ousted for sexual misconduct, said she was not a victim there.
“I was 19 when I started there… There were definitely people that made inappropriate comments to me… I was never assaulted, I never felt that my job was on the line… It was definitely a culture of male domination, inappropriate comments and behavior. I didn’t realize it until I left and went to work other places.”
Sivan, now a reporter for KTTV in L.A., is urging others to come forward with their own stories as well. "This is your chance to fight for women," she said.