Colorado professor recounts Weinstein bathtub encounter

Posted at 12:02 AM, Oct 11, 2017


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Dr. Tomi-Ann Roberts has been a psychology professor at Colorado College for 23 years, researching the sexual objectification of girls and woman.

Now, she says her disturbing encounter with Harvey Weinstein three decades ago changed her life and her career.

"I was frozen in terror. It’s hard to describe how surprising something like that is," said Roberts, who said the salacious stories of Weinstein's inappropriate sexual advances brought back troubling memories.

It was the summer of 1984, and she was living in New York.

"I was waiting tables and trying to get auditions," said Roberts. "And I happened to meet Bob and Harvey Weinstein when I waited on them at the restaurant where I worked."

It was early days for the Weinstein's production company, and they talked about their business with her.

"They explained to me how they named the company after their mother and father,  Miriam and Max, and that’s how they came up with Miramax," said Roberts. "They were very friendly."

Roberts said Harvey invited her to audition for a role in an upcoming film and sent her script updates, then invited her to his apartment.

"My expectation was that other people involved in the movie would be there, but when I arrived it was only me," said Roberts, remembering an encounter story that is very similar to other women's who have come forward. "So, Harvey called me down the hall, and he was in the bathtub. There were bubbles, so that helped."

Roberts said he tried to convince her to take off her shirt, claiming she would have to be comfortable being naked in nude scenes. 

"I was very apologetic. It’s hard for me to look back and remember that, but I think it was at the time. I thought that I just wasn't cut out for this, that I was being sort of a chicken. I thought something was wrong with me," said Roberts, who said she left the apartment.

It would be what she calls a "perversely pivotal" moment in her life, leading her to give up her acting aspirations and get her Ph.D. at Stanford. She said it is no coincidence that her research focuses on the psychological costs of our culture's message that women are sexual objects.

"It’s crazy now all these years later to have the opportunity to talk about this and to look back on that young woman, and you know forgive her for taking it on myself," said Roberts.

While Weinstein has issued a type of apology, Roberts said all the women speaking out have a larger message.

"I don’t want anything from Harvey Weinstein," she said. "What I want is for the American public to kind of wake up. Let us now say, 'we’re not going to take it anymore.'"