Oscar-winning Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein faces accusations that he sexually harassed many women over three decades and allegedly entered into confidential financial settlements with eight of them.
The alleged behavior by Weinstein, who is perhaps best known as one of the co-founders of Miramax, was apparently an open secret in the film industry. Ashley Judd was one of the women that the producer allegedly sexually harassed.
According to a bombshell report in the New York Times today, Weinstein’s behavior followed a pattern.
“Across the years and continents, accounts of Mr. Weinstein’s conduct share a common narrative: Women reported to a hotel for what they thought were work reasons, only to discover that Mr. Weinstein, who has been married for most of three decades, sometimes seemed to have different interests…In interviews, eight women described varying behavior by Mr. Weinstein: appearing nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself….”
According to the Times, actress Rose McGowan was also subject to Weinstein’s alleged inappropriate behavior and entered into a $100,000 settlement to resolve the matter in 1997.
As a producer, Weinstein won Academy Awards for Shakespeare in Love, The King’s Speech, and The Artist, and other films.
In the immediate aftermath of the revelations, Weinstein announced that he is taking a leave of absence from his production firm The Weinstein Company to deal with the issue and “conquer his demons.”
“I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office — or out of it. To anyone. I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed. I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”
[See various updates below]
Weinstein, a longtime Democratic Party supporter and donor, added that he is going to focus his efforts on opposing the National Rifle Association and “making a movie” about President Trump. Harvey Weinstein helped raise millions for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2016 from the celebrity community, Deadline Hollywood reported at the time. On behalf of the GOP, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Rona McDaniel has called upon Democrats to return all the donations that they have received from Harvey Weinstein.
The Washington Examiner has a rundown of Harvey Weinstein’s political contributions over the years.
“The producer has developed deep ties to major Democrats by showering candidates and party organizations with frequent high-dollar donations…A review of Weinstein’s donation history available courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics reveals he’s gifted the Democratic National Committee with at least $245,790 worth of donations since 1994. Since 2002, Weinstein has donated $103,900 to Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. From 1993 to 2013, he sent the Democratic Congressional Campaign Commitee $23,200 as well…In 2012, Weinstein bundled a hefty $679,275 for President Obama’s re-election campaign.”
According to Variety, Michelle Obama lauded Weinstein as “a wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse,” during a November 2013 White House event.
Amidst the scandal, Weinstein has received “damage control advice” from Anita Dunn, the White House communications director under Obama, BuzzFeed reported. Bill Clinton aide Lanny Davis “has been central to the PR effort for Weinstein,” BuzzFeed added.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Malia Obama interned at Weinstein’s New York City office during her gap year.
Among other things, the movie mogul also noted that he is being “tutored” by feminist attorney and TV commentator Lisa Bloom, the daughter of high-profile civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, both of whom normally represent victims of sexual harassment. According to LawNewz, Weinstein is backing a TV miniseries based, in part, on Bloom’s book about the Trayvon Martin case.
Despite the apology, Weinstein is going to sue the New York Times, another of his lawyers told the Hollywood Reporter, because they claim the Times expose was filled with “false and defamatory statements” and “hearsay accounts.” Any money damages recovered in the legal action will be donated to women’s organizations.
In an interview with the New York Post, Harvey Weinstein claimed that the Times didn’t live up to an agreement to allow he and his team to respond to the allegations. Describing the newspaper as engaging in “reckless reporting,” he also claimed that the Times rushed to publish the story over concerns that New York magazine would beat them to it, and that the Times account was based entirely a memo written, and then withdrawn, by an employee. He acknowledged, however, that he is seeing a therapist for help in controlling his temper and improving how he treats women and staffers.
“In public, [Weinstein] presents himself as a liberal lion, a champion of women and a winner of not just artistic but humanitarian awards,” the Times observed.
As the sexual harassment allegations engulfing Harvey Weinstein is a developing story, be sure to watch this space for updates.
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]