Jade Budowski worked as a waitress at the Tribeca Grill, which is located in Harvey Weinstein’s office building, from July 2016 to January 2017. Here she recounts the mogul’s regular business meetings and nighttime assignations at the restaurant — and being a target herself. (Budowski is now a reporter/producer at decider.com.)
Harvey Weinstein was every bit the sleazy Hollywood caricature recent reports have made him out to be. When I was working as a waitress, I watched numerous times as a string of young women — some seemingly no older than 21 — entered the restaurant for long, flirty dinners with him, even though he was married with five children.
These women were all the same: vaguely European, always beautiful, stylishly dressed, and totally out of place next to someone like him. The staff could usually tell that the woman was there to meet him before she had even said a word. If a woman waited for him at the bar, he’d bellow furiously at more than one of us for not having seated her prior to his arrival, despite the fact that she’d insisted on it. “Why the f- -k isn’t she at the table?” he’d say.
The ritual for his rendezvous was very firm. Champagne, caviar, and an unspoken rule that Weinstein and his date not be disturbed. The pair would sit close, whispering and touching each other suggestively. After dining, Weinstein and the woman would often disappear for a while, exiting the restaurant through a side door.
A fellow server told me: “When a girl arrived waiting for Harvey, we all knew what was in store for her. After a little small talk and a sip of champagne, there would be an ‘office tour’ — usually well past working hours, after which the girl would return looking worse for wear and barely able to finish the glass.”
One “office tour,” a term we used jokingly, began with a firm order from Weinstein that his table not be cleared, and so the food sat, untouched, for hours. When the uncomfortable girl finally returned about two hours later, they sat down and resumed conversation as if no time had passed, keeping us there until he decided he was ready to leave, often around midnight.
Many of the women he saw would return for second or third dates. Sometimes, Weinstein and a woman would come back to the restaurant the next morning, with her sporting wet hair and the same clothes.
As he attempted to charm his guests, he terrorized the wait staff.
In his signature black T-shirt and jeans, he’d sidle over to one of his two favorite tables in the back. He would almost never look you in the eye, too busy reading the paper or biting off an assistant’s head.
His food tastes were those of a toddler. He’d regularly order “well-done” fries, chopped-up fettuccine, ice cream with extra sprinkles and French onion soup that he would slurp and splatter all over the booth.
Always, a bottle of still water was expected as soon as he arrived.
Once, a co-worker brought him sparkling water instead. He made his frustration known by attempting to tap her butt to get her attention.
Inappropriate touching was a habit of his. If you weren’t paying attention and the restaurant was loud, he might lurch at whatever part of you he could reach. Once, while I put in an order at the computer, he barreled up and body-checked me. Then, as if nothing had happened, he barked: “Back. Coffee. Tea. Now.”
Even though I’ve not seen him for six months, this week’s revelations brought back terrible recollections. The feelings of anxiety and degradation he inflicted on all of us — especially the women — continue to plague me to this day.
The Weinstein Company declined to comment for this story.
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