A former actor cried on the stand as he testified that Harvey Weinstein assaulted her twice, decades apart, at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Kelly Sipherd – who was an aspiring actor in the 80s and 90s but has since left the entertainment business – went into graphic detail alleging Weinstein forced oral sex on her in 1991 and masturbated before her in 2008. Both alleged assaults occurred at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto.
“You’re going to love this. … It’s okay … it won’t be long,” Sipherd recalled telling Weinstein when he allegedly first assaulted and raped her. She told the jury that she repeatedly asked him to stop.
She remembers him saying, “I’m going to fuck you. It won’t take long. Relax.”
Sipherd is an unindicted witness, meaning the 11 charges Weinstein faces do not stem from his allegations. The jury will not deliberate on Sipherd’s alleged assaults, but his testimony is designed to inform the jury of an alleged pattern of Weinstein’s behavior.
Sipherd met Weinstein at a party at TIFF in 1991 when she was 24. She was an aspiring actress and was casually introduced to him, as she mingled with friends at an event. She said she and Weinstein had a cordial conversation, which she considered friendly and professional. After “joking about art and film,” Weinstein suggested the two have a glass of wine to continue their discussion. Kelly S. agreed to go with Weinstein to a public restaurant near the party where they had met. “We got on very well,” she told the jury, explaining that she had no reason to be alarmed by any of his behavior over drinks, and knew that being connected to Weinstein could be positive for her acting career. “We were really, honestly having a great time.”
Over drinks, Weinstein mentioned a role for Sipherd and said he wanted to show him a script. “I was quite ambitious,” she said. “I thought I wanted to have a role.”
Sipherd agreed to go to Weinstein’s hotel to see the script. When Assistant District Attorney Marlene Martinez asked what happened next, she took a deep breath and said, “It’s very difficult for me to talk about this.”
Sipherd said that upon arriving at the hotel room, thinking she was going to read a script, Weinstein went to the hotel bathroom. When he came out “fast, aggressive, determined”, he was naked, wearing only an unbuttoned shirt with no pants or underwear. He was holding a warm cloth.
“It all happened quickly,” muttered Sipherd. She said Weinstein then took off her skirt and put the hot cloth over her vagina. “My wife loves it. You are going to love this,” she recalled telling him.
She told the jury that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her, then inserted his fingers into her vagina. She said he held her by the chest and legs, and she was afraid of what would happen if she tried to leave. “You have to understand how stuck up I was,” she explained. “It was so out of nowhere. It was unexpected. She went ‘hysterical’ and was ‘nauseated, scared, terrified’. She asked him to stop and told jurors she told him: “Let me out of here…stop,” to which Weinstein replied, “It’s not going to take long.”
It was then that she felt his penis inside her vagina “for a few seconds” and reached for her back, which she described as “mountainous with acne”, to escape. “I don’t remember exactly, but I came out from under.”
After the alleged assault in 1991, Weinstein called Sipherd often. This was before cell phones and caller ID, so she never knew it was him calling. The first time he called, she told the jury she was very upset and asked “why was he raping me.” He told her that was not what happened and said, “I really like you and I would leave my wife for you.” He then said he wanted her to come to New York to meet with one of his casting executives, so she could audition for a role. She told the jury that even though she had been assaulted by Weinstein, she thought it would be a “great opportunity” and brought a friend with her on the trip, so she would feel safe. Weinstein paid for his flight and his hotel room in New York. She had her friend stay with her in the same hotel room.
In New York, Weinstein had asked Sipherd to meet him for dinner, but when she arrived with her friend, Weinstein was not there. Sipherd said the next morning Weinstein showed up at his hotel, which he had paid for, and asked the front desk to call his room, although they never gave him his hotel number. On the phone, he was angry and told her that her friend had to leave. “He said, ‘Get rid of your friend, I’m going up,'” Sipherd told jurors. When she declined, she says Weinstein started screaming and kept calling, more than 20 times. She kept hanging up and he kept calling. At one point, the hotel staff even knocked on his door and asked him what he should do, but she informed them not to let him into her room. “I heard him screaming in the hallway,” she testified. When the prosecutor asked her how she was feeling, Sipherd replied, “Horrible, I’m scared of him…he raped me.”
Sipherd decided not to go to the audition in New York because of the phone call incident. She explained that she was “naive” and had hoped that by taking her friend with her, she would be safe and could pursue a career opportunity by auditioning for one of Weinstein’s films.
Sipherd told the jury that the assault had “derailed” his career. She explained that she was very serious about acting in her early twenties, had an agent, and attended drama school. But after the alleged attack, she “didn’t want to go through something like this…it was too much”. She said the alleged incident had impacted her life over the years. “It hurt my marriage because I didn’t tell him,” she tearfully said. “It was really difficult.”
Years later, Sipherd lived at the Four Seasons Toronto for a few weeks with her husband and children, while their house was being renovated. She hadn’t seen or heard from Weinstein since the alleged 1991 assault, but said she had often thought about the incident and always wanted to confront him for what he had done.
In 2008, while living with her family at the Four Seasons Toronto, the period coincided with TIFF. One day, she was in the lobby with her daughter and her friend after playing tennis and saw Weinstein at the hotel. Sipherd yelled, “Harvey! and said she felt “angry”. She says she was “shocked”, but also “knew he could be there”, since it was during the film festival, which Weinstein was attending. Weinstein’s assistant, Victoria, approached Sipherd in the lobby and said Weinstein wanted to see her.
“I actually wanted to see it because I wanted to ask why,” she testified. “All those years ago…I had thought about it often.” She added, “I felt like I was ready to give it to him.”
Weinstein’s assistant, Victoria, walked her to Weinstein’s hotel room. “I blurted out, ‘How does it feel to be in front of the only woman who said no to you,'” she told Weinstein. She explained, “I was still about to get 20 years of answers.” Victoria was in the hallway outside the hotel room, and Sipherd said she was very loud, so Weinstein “brought” her into a bathroom. He closed the door and started “proposing” her for sex.
“I’m still angry. I’m afraid. And I feel stupid,” she recalled of her state of mind, answering Martinez’s questions. “Again, it came out of nowhere. His attitude changed.” She remembered thinking, “I came to confront you…how did this happen?
Sipherd said in the bathroom, Weinstein suddenly “pulled out his penis and started masturbating.” She said, “He wanted to see my tits while he was masturbating,” so “it became a negotiation” because she was trying to end it all, but couldn’t get out. “I had no way around it. He was much bigger,” she said. She told the jury that Weinstein ejaculated on a white bath mat. “It didn’t take very long,” she said, remembering the bathroom incident lasted maybe five minutes. She said she tried not to look, but remembered a specific detail. “His semen was dark orange/yellow…it didn’t look normal,” she said.
When she and Weinstein left the hotel suite, he told his assistant to invite Sipherd to TIFF parties. Coming down the elevator, Sipherd did not speak to Victoria about the incident, explaining that she felt “purely embarrassed”. She said: “It took me a while to figure out what happened.”
She didn’t tell any of her friends or her husband what happened in Weinstein’s hotel suite because she was “ashamed.” She said that while she was staying at the Four Seasons in Toronto, she continued to go to festival parties and took her friends to events that Weinstein had invited his assistant to, and they “thought I was so damn cool because that I knew Harvey Weinstein, so I played that.
Sipherd never filed a police report for the alleged 1991 or 2008 assaults because she was “very, very embarrassed” and “felt stupid.” Over the years, she ended up telling three girlfriends about what happened in 1991 and 2008.
On October 5, 2017, when the bombshell stories came out about Weinstein, sparking the #MeToo movement, Sipherd was told by friends. “I often wondered if I was the only one,” she told the jury.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the full name of the witness, who was identified by the court as “Kelly S.” After his testimony was completed, his attorney, Jennifer Brevorka, approached members of the media in the hallway of the courthouse to offer her his first and last name.
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