Kelly Bachman, a New York City-based comedian, was heading for what she thought would be a typical Actor’s Hour on Wednesday night at Downtime Bar NYC to garner some laughs and create a tape to send out for gigs. She ended up speaking on a much larger platform to a much wider audience than expected because of one unwelcome attendee: Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein was sitting at a reserved table in the corner of the bar, to which he was invited by the hosts of Actors Hour, according to Bachman.
“When I walked in, to my left I saw him sitting at a table surrounded by friends, and I did kind of a triple, quadruple take of ‘Are you kidding me. Harvey Weinstein is not in jail?’” Bachman told Variety in an interview published Thursday night. Weinstein turned himself into the NYPD last year on charges of rape, sex abuse and sexual misconduct after the firestorm #MeToo movement lead to outpourings of allegations against him starting in 2017. Despite the decades of harassment he allegedly inflicted upon scores of women just trying to work in the entertainment industry, he’s currently out on bail, and apparently free to have a night out and enjoy himself. Except Bachman wasn’t going to let him.
“I felt like I had to say something, but I didn’t know how much I was going to get out.” Bachman told Variety> of the minutes before she took the mic. The people that went before her didn’t acknowledge Weinstein’s intrusive presence, and the emcee even called her out for being on her phone as she frantically texted friends for their opinions. Bachman felt viscerally upset, and wasn’t sure whether she should do her normal set or not say any jokes at all. She went for a combination of jokes and a callout in a clever and unflinching take, available in a now-viral video she tweeted:
Instead of booing the accused serial rapist, some audience members booed Bachman, as you can hear in the video. As someone who has been sexually assaulted herself, Bachman said she was unfortunately prepared to be silenced and ridiculed for speaking out, but she also said there were “hugs and support” from women afterwards.
Amber Rollo, a friend of Bachman’s, tweeted this about her actions at the event:
Rollo was apparently asked to leave the venue, along with another attendee, Zoe Stuckless, who yelled at Weinstein before his bodyguards removed them from the bar. Weinstein apparently got to stay, even as the talent of the night were forced to leave or silenced.
When asked for what she hopes to happen after this confrontational moment, Bachman said, “I hope it becomes normal and not news to call out evil when you see it. I hope it becomes the norm to not be complicit and to want a room to be safe for everyone in it. I think it’s pretty surprising to me that it is news.”
You can read Bachman’s complete interview with Variety right here.