On Monday night, actress and writer Kristina Cohen accused actor Ed Westwick of sexual assault in an instantly viral Facebook post. Cohen’s allegation is just the latest in a long line of social media outings, as a seemingly endless list of celebrities have been called out in the post-Harvey Weinstein #MeToo movement. In her post, Cohen alludes to this avalanche of sexual abuse stories, writing, “The last month has been incredibly difficult. Like so many women I too have a story of sexual assault, and the outpouring of stories have been both triggering and emotionally exhausting. I’ve gone back and forth over and over again, unsure if I should speak up. If I could speak. And if so, will I be heard?”
Cohen, whose IMDb page lists credits ranging from Californication to her recent web series Ladies Like Us, went on to say that she was sexually assaulted three years ago, sharing, “I’ve grown considerably in the three years since my assault, so to revisit is painful…My stomach is in knots, scared as hell to share this publicly, as even fully reconciling with myself has been a tough process.”
According to Cohen, the assault occurred at Ed Westwick’s home; at the time, she was dating a producer who was friends with the Gossip Girl actor. “It was this producer who brought me up to Ed’s house where I met Ed for the first time,” Cohen recalls. “I wanted to leave when Ed suggested ‘we should all fuck.’ But the producer didn’t want to make Ed feel awkward by leaving. Ed insisted we stay for dinner. I said I was tired and wanted to leave, trying to get out of what was already an uncomfortable situation. Ed suggested I nap in the guest bedroom. The producer said we would stay for just another 20 more minutes to smooth everything over, and then we could leave.”
“So I went and laid down in the guest room where I eventually fell asleep, I was woken up abruptly by Ed on top of me, his fingers entering my body. I told him to stop, but he was strong. I fought him off as hard as I could but he grabbed my face in his hands, shaking me, telling me he wanted to fuck me. I was paralyzed, terrified. I couldn’t speak, I could no longer move. He held me down and raped me.”
Cohen goes on to describe how her boyfriend at the time warned her that speaking out would effectively end her acting career. “I now realize the ways in which these men in power prey on women, and how this tactic is used so frequently in our industry, and surely, in many others,” she continues. “I’m sickened to see men like Ed respected in such a public way. Interviewed by prestigious platforms such as the Oxford Union Society at Oxford University, where he was honored as one of their ‘People who Shape our World.’ How does this end? Men like Ed using fame and power to rape and intimidate but then continue through the world collecting accolades.”
The day after Cohen went public with her allegations on Facebook, Westwick released a terse statement on social media: “I do not know this woman. I have never forced myself in any manner, on any woman. I certainly have never committed rape.”
While Westwick is best known stateside for playing attempted rapist Chuck Bass on the CW’s beloved teen soap, he’s currently starring in the comedy series White Gold on BBC Two. The series, which stars Westwick as a 1980s Essex salesman, had been described by the BBC as “a story of dodgy shenanigans, scams and petty rivalries — alongside free-flowing drugs, cash and sex.” In June, the BBC confirmed that White Gold would be returning for a second season, which is set to air in 2018. In August, the U.K. hit was released internationally on Netflix.
Westwick is also slated to star in a separate BBC project—a three-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Ordeal By Innocence, premiering this Christmas.
The BBC and Netflix did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment. When asked about White Gold’s season two premiere next year in light of the recent allegations, a show rep told us to “refer to Ed’s official statement on his Twitter account”—the statement in which the actor denied Cohen’s account and insisted that he did not know his accuser.
Both Netflix and the BBC are currently contending with sexual misconduct allegations. Netflix recently announced the end of its original series House of Cards after its star Kevin Spacey was accused of making a sexual advance on a minor and sexually harassing multiple people on set. According to recent reports, the BBC is currently looking into “more than two dozen sexual harassment claims after corporation chiefs encouraged employees to come forward.” Last month, an investigation was launched in response to four women’s accusations that a radio presenter groped them. BBC director general Tony Hall has said that the corporation has “zero tolerance” for sexual harassment and misconduct.