In the fall of 2017, the entertainment industry was rocked by revelations about film producer Harvey Weinstein. The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that numerous women had accused Weinstein of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse spanning decades. Over 80 women from the film world came forward with such allegations, leading to his expulsion from various professional circles and criminal charges.
Among these accusers was Mira Sorvino, a familiar face in Weinstein-produced films. Sorvino, who worked on Weinstein’s movie’ Mighty Aphrodite,’ recounted a disturbing encounter during the Toronto International Film Festival in 1995. She shared that Weinstein, married at the time, had crossed boundaries by attempting to initiate a physical relationship. Sorvino remembered evading his advances by citing her religious beliefs against dating married men. Despite her discomfort, she won an Academy Award for her role in the film.
In a brave move, Sorvino chose to speak out about her experiences. She revealed that Weinstein’s unwanted advances had left her feeling frightened and uneasy. She recalled a late-night call from him after the festival, where he suggested meeting at her apartment. Sorvino quickly thought of a plan and asked a friend to act as her boyfriend, which made Weinstein decide not to visit her.
Sorvino’s decision to come forward was not without its struggles. She admitted grappling with the decision for years, recognizing that her experience was less severe than others. Nevertheless, she felt the weight of fear and intimidation from the incidents, which took a toll on her emotionally.
Although Mira appeared in a few more Weinstein-affiliated films, she believed her career took a hit when she rejected his advances. She shared with the Hollywood Reporter in 2017:
“As for my career, I can’t say for certain if it was impacted — there are other variables, like the fact that I had four children in eight years. That’s my choice; I wanted to have a big family. But I won an Oscar with Miramax. To not continue and star in their movies much past that doesn’t make sense.”
The actress continued:
“I felt if I had accepted Harvey’s advances, I would have continued to make movies with them, and they were the people winning the Oscars for that decade. I was not offered any movie roles past 1996. I was still on the fringes of the Miramax family after that, but once Quentin and I broke up, that was it. Radio silence.”
Sorvino’s story took a darker turn when filmmaker Peter Jackson disclosed that Weinstein actively obstructed her and another alleged victim, Ashley Judd, from roles in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ series. The director told in an interview at the time:
“I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us. But in hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing. I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women.”
Legal inquiries were conducted following accusations from a minimum of six women across Los Angeles, New York City, and London. In May 2018, Weinstein faced charges of rape and additional offenses in New York. By February 2020, he was convicted of third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act. In March 2020, he received a 23-year prison sentence due to his actions.