Updated, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, 5:15 p.m. EST: Hollywood talent manager Vincent Cirrincione has reportedly shuttered his company, Vincent Cirrincione Associates, after being accused of sexually harassing nine women over the span of 20 years.
The former manager and business partner of A-list starlets such as Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson, who reportedly dropped him as a manager over the weekend, issued a statement saying he was out of the game.
“It is with incredibly great sadness that at this time, I believe it’s in the best interests of all my actors and actresses that I represent to close my management company. This business is hard enough and I don’t want to distract in any way from their careers or opportunities in the entertainment field. I wish all the people I represent the very best in all their future endeavors,” Cirrincione said a statement to Deadline.
Berry had reportedly dropped Cirrincione some years back over allegations that he used her name to come on to up-and-coming actresses.
A prominent manager of African-American talent that once included Halle Berry and currently includes Taraji P. Henson is the latest man in Hollywood to be accused of sexual harassment. This time, nine women of color—eight black, one Asian—have accused Vincent Cirrincione of unwanted sexual advances (and, of course, public masturbation) over a period beginning in 1993 and ending in 2011.
The Washington Post broke the story Friday. Cirrincione allegedly used his prominence to “prey upon young women of color seeking an entry into Hollywood,” according to the report.
The first woman cited in the article, Tamika Lamison, says that she was 27 years old when she was at Cirrincione’s hotel room for an impromptu audition after the Tony Awards when Berry called. Cirrincione put the star on speaker. The Post reports:
When the call ended, Lamison began reciting a poem she had written. Midway through her performance, she said Cirrincione grabbed her and started kissing her, sticking his tongue in her mouth.
She said he told her that he could take her on as a client, on the condition that he would get to see her for sex whenever he wanted. She said she pushed him away and left.
Of the nine women, three say that Cirrincione pushed for sex as a condition of representing them, and that he did not take them on when they refused. A fourth said that he offered to help advance her career if she agreed to have sex with him monthly. A fifth actress said that he masturbated in front of her in his office during the years he managed her.
Berry reportedly cut ties with Cirrincione three years ago after hearing about the allegations against him.
“Over three years ago, a woman was on the radio saying that Halle Berry’s manager was her worst casting couch experience ever. That news literally stopped me in my tracks. I immediately confronted Vince about it, and he denied it completely. But even with his denial, something didn’t feel right in my spirit, and with the possibility that it could be true, I immediately ended our over-25-year relationship,” she told the Post.
The Post reports that Cirrincione and Berry co-produced Introducing Dorothy Dandridge for HBO in 1999.
On Friday, Berry spoke out again on Instagram, saying she’s “livid that [Cirrincione] used me.”
Berry said that the manager had never made an inappropriate gesture toward her.
Henson, who has been managed by Cirrincione for two decades, said that she never heard of or witnessed any inappropriate behavior by Cirrincione toward women.
In fact, she says, he really helped her when she was struggling.
“He saw a single mother trying to make her dreams come true, and he nurtured that,” Henson told the Post. “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.”
As with Berry, Cirrincione has also been Henson’s producing partner; Henson’s publicist, Pam Sharp, is Cirrincione’s longtime girlfriend, according to the Post.
In a statement, Cirrincione responded to the criticisms:
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.
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.
None of the nine women make accusations of rape or criminal misconduct. Only three have used their names publicly because they say they feared (and still fear) repercussions.