Taraji P. Henson’s Manager, Halle Berry’s Former Manager, Accused Of Sexually Harassing 9 Actresses of Color
A Washington Post article reported on Friday that Halle Berry’s former manager, Vincent Cirrincione, was being accused of sexually harassing nine actresses of color. Cirrincione, who is white, is uniquely known for advancing the careers of black actresses with Berry being the shining example of what he could do for a demographic that Hollywood has said cannot carry movies or win awards.
The next day, Berry took to Instagram over the weekend to share how “sick” she felt after reading what happened to Cirrincione’s alleged victims, and she expressed her anger toward him for using her, “…and the role model he helped me become, to lure and manipulate innocent, venerable women of color for his predatory actions.”
Although Cirrincione is Berry’s former manager, he still manages another well-known black actress – Taraji P. Henson. Yesterday, Henson took to Instagram to express how “saddened, disappointed, and ashamed” she felt after reading the accounts of the nine women, noting that the art will also suffer if there is no trust in the industry.
What has to stop is the entitlement that these men think they should have over women’s bodies. In this case, Cirrincione took a unique advantage of actresses of color who desired to break into the entertainment industry. The women knew the uphill battle they would have to fight as a black actress, so seeing Cirrincione behind the meteoric rises of Berry and Henson encouraged them to work with him. But being up close and personal with the Hollywood manager was not what they thought it would be.
One stage actress, Tamika Lamison, 27 at the time, said that she was introduced to Cirrincione at a Tony Awards dinner in 1996. Lamison was familiar with his role in making Halle Berry the “it” black actress, so she was excited to audition for him when she was asked to do so at his hotel suite the next day. She even mentioned that Berry just happened to call when they were in the suite together. Cirrincione put her on speaker, and this got Lamison even more excited about working with him. As soon as the called ended, Lamison started auditioning for him, and in the middle of her performance, Cirrincione “grabbed her and started kissing her, sticking his tongue in her mouth.” He said that he could manage her, but she would have to agree to have sex with him whenever he wanted. Lamison left.
Spanning a period of 20 years, Lamison, along with eight other actresses of color, have accused Cirrincione of this type of behavior, with a “management-for-sex” deal being a common offering. In a statement, he denies using sexual favors in exchange for representing the women, and ironically, he said that he supports the current #MeToo movement.
“We live in a time where men are being confronted with a very real opportunity to take responsibility for their actions. I support this movement wholeheartedly. I have had female clients and employees my entire career in this industry. I have built a reputation for advancing the careers of women of color,” Cirrincione said.
“I have had affairs while in committed relationships, ones I am now ashamed to say are coming to light and shading my past and my reputation. I can say without a doubt that I have never used favors, sexual or otherwise, as a reason for managing anyone. I want to make it clear that not one of those relationships were anything but consensual.
“I take responsibility for my part in the situation and I am not here to diminish anyone’s feelings or experiences. I apologize to these women, my past and present partner, my clients and employees for the pain this is bringing them. I was under the impression I was living my life as a supportive man to women. It is with a heavy heart that I see now I was wrong.”
Although these nine women had these experiences with Cirrincione, Henson, before her Instagram post yesterday, said that she neither experienced this inappropriate behavior from him nor did she hear about anything of the sort from others about him. In fact, she looked at him as a “father figure.”
“He saw a single mother trying to make her dreams come true, and he nurtured that,” Henson said. “He wrote checks and wouldn’t ask for anything in return. It wasn’t coming from a creepy place. If anything, it empowered me. Like this man believes in me. I love him for that.”
“He would say: ‘I did this with Halle, because I know how the game is played. We have to carve your own lane. You have a voice out here,’ ” she said. “He didn’t sugarcoat how hard it is here for us. We just have to keep fighting, and one day the doors will open.”