British actor Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl’s Chuck Bass) has been accused of rape for the third time. The allegations surfaced after actress Kristina Cohen spoke out through a Facebook post.
The last month has been incredibly difficult. Like so many women I too have a story of sexual assault, and the…
The story so far:
Since Kristina Cohen came forward two weeks ago, two more women have come forward with their stories of sexual assault directly involving Ed. He has so far dismissed the claims of Kristina and Aurélie Wynn’s as ‘ two unverified and probably untrue social media claims’.
Aurélie and Rachel Eck allege that Ed also sexually assaulted them in 2014, just like Kristina. Former actress Aurélie took to Facebook to share her experience of Ed. She claims that he called her an Uber to a house he was renting with a friend of hers who was there at the time with her boyfriend, a friend of Ed’s and now convicted paedophile and former Glee actor Mark Salling. In a similar pattern to Kristina’s rape, Aurélie was forcibly pinned down and assaulted in one of Ed’s bedrooms where she was sleeping. ‘I said no and he pushed me face down and I was powerless under his weight,’ said Aurélie in the Facebook post. ‘I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit that he ripped. I was in complete shock.’
UPDATE: Rachel Elk is the third woman to accuse Ed Westwick of sexual assault.
Actress Rachel Eck has told Buzzfeed News that Ed assaulted her in a hotel room, also in 2014. Rachel says she was invited to stay in a hotel the night before the Oscars with her ex-boyfriend, a producer and friend of Ed’s (noticing Ed’s apparent MO?). Telling Buzzfeed about her story, Rachel shares that whenever her ex would leave the room, Ed would ‘try to kiss me or kind of push me up against the wall’. Ed then reportedly pushed her on the bed and groped her. She managed to escape and leave the situation, saying ‘I shoved him off as quickly as I could and left.’
The case of Harvey Weinstein (get the 411 on the story here) will be a defining point in history for the ripple effect it’s caused in giving women the capacity to speak out and hold perpetrators publicly accountable. Women are often silenced when we speak about sexual violence. Our credibility is called into question when we attempt to confront abuse with society rushing to victim-blame and slut-shame survivors. This leads to unreported cases being the norm, and survivors of sexual assault remain silent for for years, sometimes even decades because of the stigma.
One positive that has come from the fall of Harvey is the wave of women stepping up to the platform to share their own stories. Feeling empowered by solidarity, women are finding their voices and calling out men who were supposedly protected by their fame and privilege. The latest in the whistle-blowing crusade against sexual violence is Ed.
The Los Angeles Police are currently investigating Ed after Kristina reported that the British actor raped her three years ago at his home. She was invited to dinner at the actor’s house with her producer boyfriend. The producer was a friend of Ed’s. Ed suggested the three should have sex together and an uncomfortable Kristina was forced to stay by her boyfriend who didn’t want to ruin the vibe.
Under Ed’s advice, the actress went to fall asleep in the guest bedroom only to awake with Ed on top of her with ‘his fingers entering my body’. She tried to escape but was forcibly held down by Ed and brutally sexually assaulted.
Kristina stayed silent after her producer boyfriend victim-blamed her, calling her an ‘active participant’ in her own rape. The producer reportedly warned that accusing Ed would ruin Kristina’s career. The actress was dealing with her mother dying of cancer at the time and didn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with the trauma of being raped. ‘Even now, I grapple with feelings of guilt,’ said the actress. ‘Unfounded worry that in some way I was to blame… I didn’t want to be “that girl”.’
These people defending Ed Westwick from rape accusation is the reason why Kristina Cohen took 3 years to speak up.
— Kate Martin (@kateasstrophic) November 7, 2017
‘I’m sickened to see men like Ed respected in such a public way,’ said Kristina. ‘How does this end? Men like Ed use fame and power to rape and intimidate but then continue through the world collecting accolades.’ She finally gained the courage to publicly call out her rapist from being inspired by the multiple women who broke the culture of silencing survivors of sexual violence. Kristina said she hopes sharing her story will encourage fellow survivors to do the same. ‘I hope my coming forward will help others to know that they are not alone, that they are not to blame, and it is not their fault. Just as the other women and men coming forward have helped me to realise the same,’ wrote Kristina.
The tweets I’m seeing defending Ed Westwick are heart breaking. This is why people are so terrified of reporting rape and sexual assault, because everyone is so quick to call them a liar and defend the attacker. It’s not okay.
— libby (@libbyxford) November 7, 2017
Oh, but the plot thickens. In a curt statement that solely refers to Kristina as ‘this woman’, Ed denied the claims. ‘I do not know this woman. I have never forced myself in any manner, on any woman. I certainly have never committed rape,’ read the statement posted on Instagram.
He is currently on Netflix’s White Gold and starring in the BBC production of the Agatha Christie story Ordeal By Ordinance. White Gold has halted filming and the BBC announced that they are postponing releasing the thriller until the investigation is over.