A night of comedy ended in a performer and an audience member being asked to leave a bar in New York City after they confronted Harvey Weinstein in the audience.
Kelly Bachman was one of several performers at Manhattan’s Downtime Bar in a variety show sponsored by Actor’s Hour Wednesday night where, she told CNN, she spotted the former Hollywood producer. She used her time onstage to call Weinstein “Freddy Krueger” and call out rape allegations against him.
Weinstein currently faces criminal charges of predatory sexual assault, criminal sexual act, first-degree rape and third-degree rape, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He maintains that all sexual encounters he’s been involved in have been consensual.
The trial is expected to begin in January.
Someone in the audience joined in the confrontation, demanding Weinstein be asked to leave. Instead, the audience member was asked to leave the bar, and Bachman left with her, the comic said.
“Harvey Weinstein was out with friends enjoying the music and trying to find some solace in his life that has been turned upside down. This scene was uncalled for, downright rude and an example of how due process today is being squashed by the public, trying to take it away in the courtroom too,” said a spokesperson for Weinstein.
‘The elephant in the room’
Bachman said she did a triple take when she walked into the venue. Weinstein was seated with friends at a reserved table, and the environment seemed welcoming, she said.
With none of the performers before her commenting on his presence, Bachman said she decided to give some of the time in her set to say something.
“I’m a comic, and it’s my job to name the elephant in the room. Anyone know what that is?” Bachman said in a video of the performance, adding that Freddy Krueger was in the room.
“I have been raped, surprisingly by no one in this room, but I’ve never gotten to confront those guys,” she said. “So, just a general f*** you.”
Some women’s voice could be heard cheering, at other points there were boos. Bachman said onstage she didn’t register the responses because she was in such a state of trauma from her own experiences — her breath short and heart racing as she spoke.
She went back to her set, she said, both feeling like she hadn’t said enough and determined to not let the topic of Weinstein take up more of her performance time.
“I was just beating myself up like ‘you didn’t do enough, you didn’t say enough,'” she told CNN. “I had the same feelings about every time I’ve been sexually assaulted.”
‘Nobody’s going to say anything?’
During the show’s intermission, a member of the audience demanded that Weinstein be asked to leave, Bachman said.
“Nobody’s going to say anything?” Zoe Stuckless shouted in a video posted to Facebook.
Stuckless was asked to leave in the video. Bachman said Weinstein being allowed to stay and Stuckless being ushered out felt like the Twilight Zone.
“I really felt she was the bravest person in the room,” Bachman said.
Bachman joined Stuckless and was also asked to leave. Bachman said she wanted to go; she had already been looking for an excuse to leave, but the only way out was through a door Weinstein was seated near. Stuckless, Bachman and her friend all left the venue together.
The spokesperson for Weinstein said no one from his group had asked the women to leave, that it was instead the venue’s personnel.
CNN has reached out to the Downtime Bar, but no one answered the phone. The venue did post a statement on Facebook addressing the incident.
“Please know that our goal at Downtime is to create an environment where everyone feels welcome. We respect the privacy of our patrons and event partners, and want to ensure that all guests are treated equally, with the same service and respect,” the bar said in the statement. “In keeping with this goal, we made a decision that would allow the evening to continue as planned.”
Bachman said she received a mix of responses, from cheers to booing to criticism that her comments were more uncomfortable than funny.
“No one has a responsibility to be funny in that moment,” she said. “It was the right thing to do, to let the moment be uncomfortable.”
But despite initial blowback, Bachman said by the morning she began to receive a wave of love and support.