(NewsNation) — Harvey Weinstein was recently convicted a second time of rape, and while it may mean he could spend the rest of his life behind bars, his youngest accuser is now speaking out against him and the others she says enabled him.
Kaja Sokola shared her story in an exclusive interview on NewsNation’s “Live.”
Sokola was just a minor when the assault occurred. In 2019, New York state briefly allowed for child victims to sue in civil court and Sokola filed suit against Weinstein, his brother Bob, Miramax and Disney.
“He said many times that this is between us,” Sokola said. “Remember, I will do a lot of things for you, but this is between us. I’m a very powerful man. And if you ever will be a, you know, a powerful actress, you wanted to stay like this.”
Weinstein was 50 years old, and the king of Hollywood at the time.
Sokola was just 16 years old, her modeling career was taking off, having just landed in the bright lights of New York City when she was introduced to Weinstein.
“I’m in the club and someone points out that, oh, this is a person you should get introduced to because he’s the king of Hollywood,” Sokola said.
It was 2002, Weinstein and his firm, Miramax, had already pulled in Best Picture Awards for “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
Sokola said that she had no idea who he was at the time.
“I had no idea who anyone else was,” Sokola said remembering their first conversation.
“It was very, it was very simple. Like, ‘so you are obviously a model, but have you ever thought about acting?’ And I was like, whoa, someone reads my mind. And I said, yes, yes, that’s, that’s my dream. My dream is to be, become an actress,” Sokola said. “And basically he said that he can make this dream come true.”
Sokola says Weinstein invited her to lunch and so began a nightmare that would change her life.
“He say we are making a stop. Uh, when we stopped, he said that it’s his apartment,” she said.
Sokola said she began to panic.
“I was panicking. I was panicking,” she said. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know what to do, but you know. My intuition was telling me that there’s something wrong, but what can go so wrong? I mean, this guy is the age of my father. He’s completely, um, unattractive and completely like, I don’t know, just didn’t and I was 16.”
Inside, Sokola said, her worst fears were realized
“He was giving me orders to follow him and to go to his apartment,” she said. “Everything was happening very fast. A lot of things that I wish would never happen, happen there. He basically made me do things that I would never, ever do.”
Sokola said she will never forget the gaze he had in the mirror.
“His eyes were completely black and, uh, and it seemed like he was in a, in another world,” she said. “In another space, it’s like, he’s not even there.
Sokola says it was so traumatic it redirected her life.
“It’s like a, like, you know, a crab being thrown into a boiling water, you know, suddenly from an environment when you feel like there’s something wrong,” she said. “They’re taking me out of my place of my safe place. And then the next second, you’re just in a boiling water. You’re dying. I felt like part of me died that day.”
Sokola moved back to Poland, where she struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts.
“I decided that I can’t anymore. I just can’t, I’m either gonna kill myself or, uh, or give another chance,” she said. “When I look at some of my diaries and they’re in Polish and, um, it’s so sad, but, um, I’m writing there that I’m praying to God to just take me because I can’t do this anymore.”
But she went to therapy, enrolled in college and became a psychotherapist and TV personality in Poland.
“With this verdict, I hope survivors will see that juries and prosecutors will believe them,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.
And today, now that Weinstein has been convicted of rape, Sokola is back in the U.S., moving forward and seeking justice in her own way — not just from Weinstein, but also from those she says enabled him.
Sokola filed a complaint against Weinstein, his brother, Miramax and Disney among others.
“Harvey Weinstein is not the only one to be blamed,” Sokola said. “You know, it’s the people who are behind, uh, supporting him that are also the people to blamed.”
Her complaint, filed in 2019, is the only one of its kind.
According to the complaint, “During the time Disney owned Miramax, Miramax paid settlements to multiple women who were victims of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse. Based on Disney’s control of Miramax finances, Disney knew or should have known of these payments, which should have caused additional inquiry and investigation.”
Sokola said, “We have to start from the top. We have to start to make the companies, the, the highest levels understand that it’s their responsibility to have people who work for them accountable for what, for what they, for what they’re doing, you know, and it’s, it’s their responsibility to see what’s going on in their companies, you know, these companies are still not paying the full responsibility that they should.”
Today, Sokola’s case is actively working its way through the courts. Weinstein has denied the allegations.
Miramax, Disney and everyone named in the complaint have filed motions to dismiss her suit. Disney, Miramax and Bob Weinstein have not responded to NewsNation’s request for comment.
Sokola said she hopes Weinstein understands what he did.
“I believe that if person like Harvey Weinstein could say that he understand that he knows what he did and he changed. It could be, let’s say a big step for all of the other men and women up there who are abusing their power,” Sokola said. “You know? It’s never too late to change your path. And that’s, that’s my message, you know, first understand, second admit, and then third, change.”