Jennifer Esposito Claims ‘Harvey Weinstein-Esque’ Producer Tried to ‘End’ Her Career

Jennifer Esposito is opening up about a “painful” time at the start of her career.

While appearing on a recent episode of the She Pivots podcast, the actress — who is promoting her feature directorial debut, Fresh Kills — recalled the time a “Harvey Weinstein-esque type” producer allegedly fired her from a project “for no reason” and attempted to “end” her career by making false claims about her behavior on set.

Jennifer Esposito says 'Harvey Weinstein'–like producer 'killed' her career

“This was a notorious, brutal producer, a Harvey Weinstein-esque type person. He literally had the power and used it to completely end a young girl’s career at 26 years old,” Esposito, 51, began.

“So, he fired me for no reason. He wanted someone else, and he got her,” she continued, not naming the producer or the project. “But then, anybody that called and was like, ‘Hey, I want to hire her,’ he’s like, ‘Don’t hire her.’ He said I was a drug addict, locked myself in a trailer — never happened.”

“That was a really, really painful time. … that kid who was waiting tables and that kid who had these dreams since she was a baby, he literally took it because he could and killed it,” she added.

Jennifer Esposito: 'Harvey Weinstein-esque' Producer Tried to End Career

Esposito said she was then “dropped” by her talent agency, adding that they told her they were aware of the producer’s actions, but they refused to cut off ties with him due to his status in the industry.

“I casually got moved to the desk of the assistant and then casually [pushed] out the door, and I couldn’t get work,” she recalled. “I didn’t have an agent and a manager for two and a half years.”

Esposito said she initially didn’t fully understand what was happening at the time until a director called her and told her “what was going on.” She went on to recall that she was in the process of “getting an offer” to star in Charlie’s Angels, before it suddenly “didn’t happen.”

“We found out that he put the kibosh on one of the biggest things that ever happened to my career — could have happened,” she said, adding that she was “broke” and “traumatized” at that point.

When Sussman asked how she had the “strength to stay” in the industry, Esposito said, “It was a hard time. But it was also a beautiful time. Because if I wasn’t that kid, I would have never been this woman. And I’m very proud of who I am and very proud of what I’ve done.”

“I know for a fact that if that didn’t happen with that producer and my road had been easier, I would have never written and directed what I just did,” she continued, referring to her film, Fresh Kills, which she said “was for the 26-year-old kid who got slaughtered.”

“I gave her her career back in the way that she could do it,” she added. “Not the way someone else told me I could do it. I gave that to that kid. I needed to right the wrong again.”

Fresh Kills is in theaters now.

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