Maria Schrader’s ‘She Said’ follows Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, two The New York Times reporters who investigate rape and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Jodi and Megan’s investigation leads them to the former personal assistants of the producer, including Rowena Chiu. As the film depicts, Chiu worked for Weinstein during the 1998 Venice Film Festival.
It has been reported that it was at that time that the disgraced Hollywood producer allegedly assaulted Chiu sexually. Chiu eventually collaborated with Jodi to unravel the truth about Weinstein’s crimes. As the biographical film opens a window into Chiu’s life, we found out more about her and her current whereabouts. Here’s what we can share!
Who is Rowena Chiu?
Rowena Chiu was born in England to Chinese parents who emigrated to the United Kingdom. She attended the University of Oxford, where she was the President of the institution’s drama society. Right before turning 24, Chiu joined the London office of Miramax, a Production and Distribution company founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein. As Weinstein’s Assistant, Chiu accompanied him to the 1998 Venice Film Festival, and she was the “late-night person, attending to his needs, discussing scripts with him, placing calls for LA, basically running the office until he goes to sleep around 2 am,” as per an interview given by Chiu to The Times.
After arriving in Venice, Weinstein allegedly sexually assaulted Chiu. According to The Times interview, the producer removed Chiu’s pairs of tights. As per her account, she was able to escape from Weinstein, but the trauma of the incident started to haunt her ever since. After the incident, Chiu was allegedly pressured to accept a settlement of £125,000 and sign an NDA. After leaving Miramax, Chiu couldn’t find any employment anytime soon despite seeking a job in several production companies in London.
When Chiu contacted Miramax, they proposed a job opportunity in their Hong Kong office. Chiu later revealed that she was coerced to accept the job. Her mental health reportedly deteriorated when she was in Hong Kong, which led her to try to kill herself twice. Still, she managed to survive by leaving the entertainment industry. She then joined a business school and became a Management Consultant.
Eventually, Chiu married Andrew Cheung and settled in Northern California. While Jodi and Megan had been investigating Weinstein’s crimes, they came to know about Chiu. Jodi reached out to Chiu, who talked to the reporter for her and Megan’s story and eventually for the book ‘She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement,’ the source material of the film.
Where is Rowena Chiu Today?
Ever since the alleged incident, Rowena Chiu stayed away from the public eye until 2019, when she attended a secretive meeting of abuse survivors held at Gwyneth Paltrow’s home in Brentwood, Los Angeles. However, she intended not to reveal her identity in the meeting before attending the same, only to reveal the same upon joining the others. In the same year, Chiu appeared on ‘Today’ to share her story.
Chiu also revealed her experience with Weinstein in a The New York Times op-ed titled “Harvey Weinstein Told Me He Liked Chinese Girls.” In 2020, after Weinstein got convicted of two charges of rape in the third degree and a criminal sex act, she broke her NDA agreement and gave an interview given to Variety to talk about her experiences. “We were told by our own lawyer — not even just Harvey’s lawyers — that we must treat this time as a black hole,” Chiu explained to Variety why she didn’t come forward with her experience.
Chiu added, “It said very specifically in our contract that we can only refer in very general terms to having worked for Harvey, and we can never talk in any detail about any aspect of our life during this time ever to anybody — not just the media and lawyers and doctors and therapists, but there was also a clause about friends and family. It locked us out of any type of emotional support whatsoever.” In October 2022, Chiu was allowed to appear in the trial of Harvey Weinstein as a supporting, uncharged witness.
Although Weinstein will not be charged with the allegations of Chiu, her testimony is expected to establish a pattern of behavior. She is considering the same as an opportunity “to look Harvey in the eye and say, look what you have done. In some ways I have triumphed because I have made a successful life for myself,” as per The Times interview.
Even after the passage of so many years, Chiu is dealing with the traumas of the alleged incident. “But at the same time, this trauma lingers,” she added. As per her current whereabouts are concerned, she lives in Northern California with her husband, Andrew Cheung, and four children. She is also writing a memoir that is currently titled ‘The Silent Condition.’ Rowena Chiu is a #MeToo advocate and activist as well.