Italian actress Asia Argento recently stepped forward as one of the dozens of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment. Argento specifically said that Weinstein had raped her while they were promoting the 1997 film B. Monkey.
Now, the first director of that film, Michael Caton-Jones, told Buzzfeed News that Argento got the role because Canton-Jones’ first choice, Sophie Okonedo, had been vetoed by Weinstein for not being “f***able” enough.
Caton-Jones recalled how he had first met Weinstein when his film Scandal had been bought by Miramax. He recalled how Weinstein would only visit the set when sex scenes were being filmed. Ten years later, when Caton-Jones was working on B. Monkey, he and Okonedo flew out to California to meet with Weinstein about the movie, which he says is “where the trouble began.”
“Harvey kept saying to me, ‘Do you think she is f***able?’”‘ Caton-Jones recalled. “That was what the deal was all the time. I said, ‘She is the best actress for the job, Harvey.’ And we started arguing about it. It was only when I said to Harvey, ‘Don’t screw up the casting of this film because you want to get laid,’ whereupon he went mental.”
He recalled how he went back to his room to calm down, but then he got a call from a reporter asking for a quote on a story that he had stormed off the film.
“I was furious after being kicked off my film, and I told them all about what happened. I told them about the harassment claims, and I said ‘Here is your quote: I don’t cast films according to Harvey Weinstein’s erection,’ and they just laughed,” Caton-Jones said.
Ultimately, Michael Radford became the director of that project, and Caton-Jones is still upset that Weinstein was able to get his way despite his behavior.
“I was the stupid one who stood up and told him to go to hell,” Caton-Jones told BuzzFeed News. “I stood up to him and told him to go f*** himself. And I got a lot of support from a lot of people when I did that, but you know, I didn’t make the film, so he won.”
Argento said that Weinstein had assaulted her at a hotel in France, the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, where a producer had told her they were going to a party. However, Weinstein was the only one there, and the producer soon left. At one point, she said he left the room and came back wearing a bath robe and carrying a bottle of lotion.
Weinstein then asked her for a massage, which she reluctantly agreed to. Argento claimed that he then pulled up her skirt and forced her legs apart to force oral sex on her. She claimed that she repeatedly told him no and then finally pretended to enjoy it in the hopes that he would stop.
Argento said that she had a sexual relationship with him for the next five years, but only because she was terrified he would ruin her career if she said no.