The Hollywood movie manager who helped fuel the rise of Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry and Oscar-nominated thespian Taraji P. Henson also used his growing influence and prestige to sexually harass and assault multiple women of color.
Nine black women and an Asian female confided in The Washington Post that Vincent Cirrincione “made unwanted sexual advances toward them over a period of two decades.” From these minority women’s perspective, Cirrincione was a man standing guard at the gates of Hollywood, one of the few who wanted to advocate for minority females and open the gates for Black actresses in an industry that is already notoriously difficult to break into — but even that much harder for Black females.
Several of the women claim Cirrincione flagrantly exploited that dynamic to stalk young women of color who were very eager for any break into Hollywood. His predatory behavior caused some of them to quit the acting business altogether or take an extended break to heal the gaping emotional wounds Cirrincione caused.
Three of the women say he frequently and openly bargained for sex as a condition — part of the price package — for representing them, and when they refused him he would not work with them. One woman told The Post that Cirrincione was so comfortable asking for sex that would mention it just as casually as a person would order “a cup of coffee.”
The Post reports that the fourth female said he offered to help advance her career if she agreed to have sex with him monthly. A fifth actress said he masturbated in front of her in his office during the years he managed her.
And yet another woman, awestruck that Halle Berry called Cirrincione the moment she entered his hotel suite, said he quickly grabbed her after Berry got off the phone and started kissing her and putting his tongue in her mouth. She said she pushed him away and walked out.
While not completely offering a mea culpa for his barbaric behavior, Cirrincione does acknowledge that he crossed the line.
“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.”
Halle Berry said she was aghast and irate when she learned of Cirrincione’s serial sexual improprieties.
Here’s the reason some women of color even entertained the thought of bargaining with Cirrincione: Of the top 168 U.S. films ranked by global box office performance in 2015, only 11 leading roles were played by black actors, compared with 145 by white actors, according to data analyzed by an author of UCLA’s 2017 Hollywood diversity report. Black women starred in just two films; white women starred in 44.
Berry told The Post she immediately ended her affiliation with Cirrincione more than three years ago after finding out about his sexual shenanigans
“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,” Berry said.
Henson, meanwhile, said Cirrincione never made inappropriate advances toward her.
“I’ve never had any issue with this on any level,” Henson said. “He totally respected me.”
Henson said Cirrincione would even pay for her rent, child-care fees and later, her son’s school tuition without asking for anything, including sex, in return.
“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.”
Henson is shocked at these allegations, but she saw Cirrincione as a man who supported Black women.
“He is always brutally honest with me about black women’s space in this industry,” Henson said, referring to him preparing her for lower pay and limited leading roles because black women were not seen as appealing in the overseas market. “I just looked [at] him as a man who understood the Black woman’s plight in the industry. I never looked at him as a magical, mythical creature.”
Berry said she was “saddened” to learn of more allegations of sexual harassment against her former manager.
“While Vince never made an inappropriate gesture toward me, nor did I hear about this type of behavior from any woman or man while we worked together, I have always had a no-tolerance policy when it came to such matters,” Berry said. “My heart goes out to any person who is subject to this type of behavior, and I stand in support of their strength and bravery.”