A sexual assault claim has been made about 'Dirty Dancing' star Patrick Swayze
After dozens of women spoke up against film producer Harvey Weinstein, a conversation has opened up about the power men such as him hold in the industry, and the silence that is encouraged. Despite the fact that some of the accused are seen by the public, and some in the industry itself, as beloved figures, these testimonies show that there is always another side to the story - one that is often suppressed or ignored.
The latest allegation to surface is one levelled at Patrick Swayze, the actor known for roles such as Dirty Dancing and Ghost. The radio presenter and stand-up comedian Michele Mahone, who previously worked in Hollywood as a make-up artist, has claimed that Swayze grabbed and forcefully kissed her in a "nauseating" act she described as "like a drunk in the bar grabbing you out of nowhere".
At the time Mahone was working for Disney three to five times a month, but everything changed after this encounter. The incident occurred right after he had been lovingly speaking of his wife, Lisa Niemi, in an interview, a couple who were known as having the most "rock solid marriage in Hollywood". But soon after, things took a dark turn:
"Patrick Swayze came in for an interview, and the whole time all he did was talk about how fantastic his wife was.
"At the end of his interview, I asked him if he wanted his make-up removed. I went back to the room, and put my left hand up to lift his fringe off his face, while I removed his makeup with my right hand.
"He grabbed my waist and pulled me in and started kissing me. I was completely shocked. He wouldn’t let go. His hand moved behind my head, and it was a really forceful kiss."
Mahone, who has more recently worked as an entertainment correspondent for the Australian Today Show, and still freelances as a make-up artist, rebuffed and pushed him away. Writing a real life true story article for news.com.au, she has decided to open up about the ordeal with the actor, who passed away in 2009.
"He said, ‘Oh, this doesn’t mean we can’t work together,’ and I didn’t know what to say," Mahone described, "I was shaken. I was trembling. It was like an uncle grabbing you and kissing you. I was appalled, because he just said how much he loved his wife. I felt violated. My mouth hurt. I was in absolute shock."
Mahone believes that the incident affected her job prospects with the company, who didn't respond in an appropriate way whatsoever. "I slowly packed up my kit hoping that by the time I was done, he’d have left the studio," she explained, "But when I left, he was still in the lobby. Producers and everyone were still there."
"When he left, I pulled the producer (who was a woman) aside. I told her how he kissed me, and she asked if it had happened before.
"I said no, but they never hired me again.
"I called two or three weeks later, then again a month and two months later and I never heard from them again."
She asserts they probably didn't hire her again out of fear of a lawsuit. When she tried to tell people about the events she found that no one believed her story, mainly down to the positive reputation the actor had. "He was on a pedestal. He was Mr Clean," she wrote, "Everyone saw him as one of the good guys, but he was a fricking pig."
Mahone states that in the movie business, you are forced into silence due to the fear of losing work, something that she ended up facing for bringing it up with a producer. It's only when they no longer hold power over their employment, like with Harvey Weinstein's dismissal from his company, that people feel safe speaking up.
"That’s what’s happening with Harvey Weinstein. Since he’s ruined and can’t put anyone in a movie or help a career, people have come out and told the world what he’s really like."
"Everybody knew about him, but no one said anything because they want to work. You do not speak out. You don’t say anything. Because the person that brings in the most money wins. Period."
This answers those who ask why women in the industry often keep quiet, since their jobs are at stake. Even with other women coming out and supporting you, it requires a lot of bravery to speak out publicly on these issues. However, did you know that Courtney Love warned women about Harvey Weinstein back in 2005?