Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg

Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

Postby admin » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:57 am

Quentin Tarantino Responds to Uma Thurman as Polanski Comments Resurface
by Jonah Engel Bromwich
February 6, 2018

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Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman attend the premiere of “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. Both say that a crash during filming seriously damaged their relationship. Credit Boris Horvat/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Quentin Tarantino on Monday responded to Uma Thurman’s accusation that he had put her life at risk while making the “Kill Bill” films, calling the decision to make her perform a dangerous stunt one of the biggest regrets of his life and offering his own recollection of what had taken place.

Speaking to Deadline, Mr. Tarantino said that he had encouraged Ms. Thurman to drive a refitted car for one of the movies’ most memorable scenes, despite her trepidation about the plan. Video from the shoot shows Ms. Thurman struggling to control the car, as it swerves on the road and crashes.

The actress and the director agree that the crash undermined what had been a close relationship between them; they collaborated on the 1994 hit “Pulp Fiction” and the two “Kill Bill” films, which were released separately but created during a single production process. In an interview with The New York Times published on Saturday, Ms. Thurman said that after the crash, which came near the end of the shoot, they were “in a terrible fight for years,” while Mr. Tarantino told Deadline that “a trust was broken.”

Mr. Tarantino said he and Maureen Dowd, the author of the Times piece, had not connected for an interview, telling Deadline, “Me and Dowd never hooked up.” Ms. Dowd said on Tuesday that she had reached out to Mr. Tarantino six times, twice through his agent, twice through his personal assistant and twice through personal numbers. The office of the agent, Mike Simpson, confirmed to Ms. Dowd that the director had received the message, she said. Ms. Thurman had also encouraged Mr. Tarantino to talk to Ms. Dowd.

The director did not dispute most of Ms. Thurman’s account but characterized his interaction with her differently. Ms. Thurman had said he was “furious” when he asked her to do the scene; Mr. Tarantino admitted that he had been irritated but said: “I’m sure I wasn’t in a rage and I wasn’t livid. I didn’t go barging into Uma’s trailer, screaming at her to get into the car.”

He said that he had tested the course, a one-lane strip of road in Mexico, before encouraging Ms. Thurman to perform the stunt, but then he decided to change the direction in which she would drive.

The change of direction “was the beginning of where the crash happened,” he said.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Ms. Thurman praised Mr. Tarantino for helping her obtain the footage when he knew it could do him personal harm. She wrote that while the circumstances of the crash were “negligent to the point of criminality,” she did not believe that his intent was malicious.


But in the midst of the #MeToo movement, Mr. Tarantino’s past actions and remarks have faced the pronounced scrutiny that has unearthed complaints of sexual assault by many in his industry, including his close collaborator Harvey Weinstein. In an interview in October, Mr. Tarantino expressed regret for not having taken a stronger stand against the producer, saying, “I knew enough to do more than I did.”

Ms. Thurman told The Times that Mr. Tarantino spit in her face and choked her while filming scenes in “Kill Bill,” rather than having other actors carry out actions ascribed to their characters. Those details raised eyebrows online as many questioned why the director had felt compelled to take part in such violence himself.

“Naturally, I did it. Who else should do it?” he told Deadline of the spitting scene, adding that he did not trust the actor, Michael Madsen, to execute the take properly. “I’m the director, so I can kind of art direct this spit,” he said.

He said that he had also choked Ms. Thurman with a chain for the film, for a shot that she suggested, and that he had choked the actress Diane Kruger, with her permission, for a scene from the film “Inglourious Basterds.”


In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Ms. Kruger said that her heart went out to Ms. Thurman and “anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault and abuse” but that Mr. Tarantino had treated her with “utter respect” and had not abused his power over her.

Also on Monday, Jezebel republished comments that Mr. Tarantino made to Howard Stern in 2003 in a column arguing that his interview with Deadline was disingenuous. During the interview with Mr. Stern, Mr. Tarantino insistently defended the director Roman Polanski’s sexual abuse of a 13-year-old, Samantha Geimer.

Mr. Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sex in 1977, and fled the United States before his sentencing. He has since been accused of sexual abuse by two other women who say they were minors when he preyed on them.

In the 2003 interview, Mr. Tarantino was adamant that Mr. Polanski had not raped Ms. Geimer, arguing that she had wanted to have sex and “was down with this.”
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Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

Postby admin » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:05 am

'Kill Bill' Stunt Coordinator Breaks Silence on Uma Thurman Crash (Exclusive)
by Jonathan Handel
6:14 PM PST 2/9/2018

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Uma Thurman in 'Kill Bill: Vol. 2'

"At no point was I notified or consulted about Ms. Thurman driving a car on camera that day," says coordinator Keith Adams.

The stunt coordinator on the Kill Bill movies has broken his silence on a disturbing recent allegation made by Uma Thurman regarding a crash during production that left her injured.

Coordinator Keith Adams told The Hollywood Reporter that he and his entire department were kept off set the day Thurman was allegedly pressured by director Quentin Tarantino to drive a rattrap convertible down a curved, sandy Mexican road at 40 mph, resulting in a crash that gave her a concussion, damaged her knees and could have caused worse injuries.

"No stunts of any kind were scheduled for the day of Ms. Thurman's accident," states Adams in an email to THR. "All of the stunt department was put on hold and no one from the stunt department was called to set. At no point was I notified or consulted about Ms. Thurman driving a car on camera that day."

"Had I been involved," Adams continues, "I would have insisted not only on putting a professional driver behind the wheel but also insuring that the car itself was road-worthy and safe."


Adams — an experienced coordinator with a particular expertise in automotive work, according to veteran stunt performer and coordinator Andy Armstrong — did not say whether he thought his department was intentionally held at bay to facilitate having an actor perform driving maneuvers. It was not immediately clear who prepared the call sheet that day and who decided to idle the stunt department. Tarantino told Deadline that "none of us ever considered it a stunt. It was just driving."

"The circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality," said Thurman in an Instagram post Monday. "I do not believe though with malicious intent." (After the crash came a cover-up which "did have malicious intent," she wrote, naming three production executives.)

It may have been "just driving" to Tarantino, but performers' union SAG-AFTRA said in a statement that it "sounds like a stunt and would be a likely safety violation."

The new statement from the stunt coordinator underscores Thurman's description of the 1973 Karmann Ghia as a profound hazard. "That was a deathbox," she told Maureen Dowd for a New York Times story published on Feb. 3 that kicked off a round of speculation about the incident. Thurman explained to the writer that "the seat wasn't screwed down properly" and that she'd been told the vintage convertible had been converted from stick shift to automatic.

The car's allegedly sad shape came as no surprise to Melissa Stubbs, also a veteran stunt performer and coordinator. "A picture car is usually a piece of shit," she told THR bluntly, using industry argot for vehicles that appear onscreen.

Armstrong agreed, noting that non-stunt picture cars are generally towed on flatbed "process trailers" while being filmed, making it easier to rig lights and cameras and allowing an actor to give the illusion of driving without anyone being endangered. For that reason, Armstrong indicated, production personnel focus on making a picture car look good onscreen, and not necessarily on making it safely drivable.

In addition, video of the crash indicates that the then-30-year-old ragtop was without roll bars, shoulder belts or head restraints. Thurman's head whips backward and hangs over the low seat back after the crash. It's unclear whether there was a lap belt or whether Thurman was wearing it if there was.


"That could have been a death by decapitation," veteran coordinator Armstrong said. "The car could easily have rolled over [or] the camera could have flown forward. It was irresponsibility on a mega level."

Many people share safety duties on set: the producers (lead producer Lawrence Bender apologized Wednesday but also said he "never hid anything"), the director (Thurman has described Tarantino as regretful and remorseful), the 1st assistant director (although this may be less clear in a non-DGA film like Kill Bill) — and, of course, the stunt coordinator.

"On any set, my number one priority and the priority of any stunt coordinator is the safety of the cast and crew," said Adams. "For a stunt coordinator to do their job properly, they must be involved at every step of the process and given the opportunity to intervene when changes to the shoot are made."

"Unfortunately," he added, "I did not have that opportunity in this case."



ithurman i post this clip to memorialize it’s full exposure in the nyt by Maureen Dowd. the circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality. i do not believe though with malicious intent. Quentin Tarantino, was deeply regretful and remains remorseful about this sorry event, and gave me the footage years later so i could expose it and let it see the light of day, regardless of it most likely being an event for which justice will never be possible. he also did so with full knowledge it could cause him personal harm, and i am proud of him for doing the right thing and for his courage. THE COVER UP after the fact is UNFORGIVABLE. for this i hold Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh, and the notorious Harvey Weinstein solely responsible. they lied, destroyed evidence, and continue to lie about the permanent harm they caused and then chose to suppress. the cover up did have malicious intent, and shame on these three for all eternity. CAA never sent anyone to Mexico. i hope they look after other clients more respectfully if they in fact want to do the job for which they take money with any decency.
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Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

Postby admin » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:58 am

A.G. Schneiderman Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against The Weinstein Companies, Harvey Weinstein, And Robert Weinstein
by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman
Press Release
February 11, 2018

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Four Month Investigation Reveals New and Egregious Examples of Sexual Misconduct By Harvey Weinstein and Repeated Violations of New York Law By Company Officials That Endangered Employees

AG’s Lawsuit Alleges Company Executives and Board Repeatedly Failed to Protect Employees From Then-CEO Harvey Weinstein’s Unrelenting Sexual Harassment, Intimidation, and Discrimination

AG Files Lawsuit to Ensure Victims Will Be Compensated, Employees Will Be Protected Moving Forward, and Parties Responsible For Egregious Misconduct Will Not Be Newly Empowered As Part of Any Future Sale


NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today filed suit against The Weinstein Company (“TWC”), Harvey Weinstein, and Robert Weinstein for egregious violations of New York’s civil rights, human rights, and business laws. The suit, filed today in New York County Supreme Court, includes new and extensive allegations about longtime company CEO Harvey Weinstein’s (“HW”) vicious and exploitative mistreatment of company employees. Today’s suit includes numerous employee-victim accounts of sexual harassment, intimidation, and other misconduct.

According to the Attorney General’s (“OAG”) lawsuit, despite many complaints to TWC’s human resources department and widespread knowledge across the company’s leadership of HW’s persistent misconduct, TWC executives and the Board repeatedly failed to take meaningful steps to protect company employees or curb HW’s misconduct.


“As alleged in our complaint, The Weinstein Company repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Any sale of The Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched. Every New Yorker has a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, intimidation, and fear.”

Today’s lawsuit is the result of an ongoing four month investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”). The investigation included interviews with multiple company employees, executives, and survivors of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct. The investigation also included an exhaustive review of company records and emails.

Specific examples of HW’s harassment, intimidation, assault, and a hostile work environment alleged in the complaint include, among many others:

HW told several employees throughout the relevant time period that, in substance, “I will kill you,” “I will kill your family,” and “You don’t know what I can do,” or words to that effect. HW touted his connection to powerful political figures and asserted that he had contacts within the Secret Service that could take care of problems.
At HW’s direction, “TWC employed one group of female employees whose primary job it was to accompany HW to events and to facilitate HW’s sexual conquests…These women were described by some witnesses as members of HW’s TWC “roster” or his “wing women.” One of the members of this entourage was flown from London to New York to teach HW’s assistants how to dress and smell more attractive to HW…”
• A second group of predominantly female employees served as his assistants. HW’s assistants were compelled to take various steps to further HW’s regular sexual activity, including by contacting “Friends of Harvey” and other prospective sexual partners via text message or phone at his direction and maintaining space on his calendar for sexual activity.
• A third group of predominantly female TWC employees – a group of female executives – also were forced to facilitate HW’s sexual conquests. These female employees’ job responsibilities should have been confined to using their expertise to help TWC produce films and television projects. Yet despite their skills and stated job responsibilities, HW required them to meet with prospective sexual conquests in order to facilitate HW’s sexual activity, and to follow through on HW’s promise of employment opportunities to women who met with HW’s favor. This compelled service demeaned and humiliated them, contributing to the hostile work environment.”

• As one [female] executive reported to TWC’s Human Resources department: “only female executives are put in these positions with actresses with whom HW has a ‘personal friendship,’ which to my understanding means he has either had or wants to have sexual relations with them. Female Weinstein employees are essentially used to facilitate his sexual conquests of vulnerable women who hope he will get them work.” TWC took no steps to investigate these allegations or to prevent future recurrence of such conduct.
HW made quid pro quo offers or demands of sexual favors in exchange for career advancement at TWC, or to avoid adverse employment consequences at TWC.
• On one occasion in 2015, HW asked a female TWC employee to go to his hotel room at the end of the day to set up his phone and devices for the next day or some other alleged work reason (work that TWC employees referred to as “turndown service,” and that was generally assigned to female TWC employees). Upon her arrival at HW’s hotel room, HW appeared naked under a bathrobe and asked the employee for a massage. When the employee said no, HW cajoled, badgered, and insisted until she relented and, against her wishes, submitted to massaging him out of fear of employment-based retaliation by HW. The incident was reported to Human Resources and to executives and Board members of the company in November 2015, but TWC took no action to formally investigate the complaint, to protect employees from HW, or to prevent future recurrence of such conduct.
• On other occasions in 2014 and 2015, HW exposed himself to a female employee and made her take dictation from him while he leered at her, naked on his bed. That same employee described how HW would insist that she sit next to him in the back seat of his chauffeured vehicle and would place his hand on her upper thigh and buttocks near her genitalia and rub her body without her consent. When she attempted to place bags or other barriers between them to make it harder for him to reach her, he moved the barriers or repositioned himself so that the unwelcome sexual contact could continue. This employee, and other TWC employees, believed that they would face adverse employment consequences unless they acquiesced to such demands.
• On one occasion, HW asserted that he might have to fire a female employee because his daughter (for whom the employee was providing assistance at HW’s direction) was angry with her, and he asked the employee what she was “prepared to do” to keep her job – a proposition that the female employee understood was a demand for quid pro quo sexual activity. The employee quit rather than submit to the demand for sex in exchange for continued employment.
• HW’s assistants were exposed to and required to facilitate HW’s sex life as a condition of employment.
• HW required his assistants to schedule “personals” for sexual activity both during the workday and after work. Upon arranging a “personal,” assistants were required to clear or adjust any and all other scheduled plans which potentially conflicted with the “personal.”
• Assistants possessed copies of a document known as the “Bible,” an assistant-created guide to working for HW which was passed down through Assistants. The document sat in hard copy on several Assistants’ desks, and was accessible to and known to exist by some TWC executives. The Bible included information about HW’s likes and dislikes, and a list of his “friends” with directions for assistants on how to arrange HW’s extensive and frequent “personals.”
HW’s drivers in both New York City and Los Angeles were required to keep condoms and erectile dysfunction injections in the car at all times, in order to provide them to HW as needed.

Specific allegations of misconduct by company management include, among others:

• On more than one occasion, upon forwarding a complaint or information about a complaint to the COO, the Human Resources Director was not involved in any investigation or resolution process. Based on documents obtained by the OAG to date, such matters were handled by the COO and other members of TWC senior management, as well as counsel retained to contact victims of misconduct.
• On numerous occasions during the relevant time period, victims of HW’s misconduct complained to the Human Resources Director or to other TWC management about various aspects of the conduct described herein. On no occasion was HW subject to a formal investigation, nor to restrictions on his behavior or adverse employment consequences, as a result of any complaint.
• Evidence gathered during the course of the investigation reflects that the Human Resources Director was not empowered to take any steps [to] address HW’s ongoing sexual harassment of female employees.
• On certain occasions when individuals did complain to Human Resources, those complaints were not treated confidentially and investigated. For example, on one occasion, an assistant to HW wrote an email to Human Resources complaining of certain misconduct by HW. Soon thereafter, the assistant, who had access to HW’s email account due to her role at TWC, saw that her complaint had been forwarded directly to HW via HW’s email account.
• On several occasions when TWC employees complained about serious misconduct by HW, TWC took steps to separate the employee from the company while securing an NDA that would prevent the employee from disclosing the misconduct to others or warning others about the misconduct.
• Robert Weinstein (“RW”), as co-owner, co-Chairman, and co-CEO, was responsible for maintaining a safe workplace, free of sexual harassment and other unlawful conduct. Yet instead of doing so, RW acquiesced in allowing HW to create a hostile work environment and engage in sexual misconduct that was known to him, or which he was responsible for preventing.
• RW also received by email in late 2014 and 2015, and was otherwise informed of, claims of repeated and persistent sexual harassment and misconduct, yet he took no measures to investigate further the claims of misconduct, to terminate HW’s employment, to restrict or prohibit HW from supervising women or having or seeking sexual contact with TWC employees or women seeking to do business with TWC, from having private meetings with employees or women seeking opportunities in hotel rooms or TWC office space, or any other concrete measure that may have prevented HW’s ongoing misconduct.
• In response to the information obtained from TWC management, independent Board members sought to obtain access to HW’s personnel file so that counsel representing the Board could use the personnel file and other information to evaluate whether the Board would recommend renewal of HW’s contract. HW resisted the independent directors’ efforts to obtain a copy of his personnel file and otherwise investigate misconduct, on the purported grounds that the contents of the file would be leaked to the press if disclosed to the Board. There was no basis for this claim; instead, HW sought to prevent access to his personnel file to avoid discovery of the extent of his own misconduct. A majority of the Board refused to back the independent Directors’ efforts to obtain HW’s personnel file; thus, efforts that may have resulted in discovery of at least a portion of HW’s misconduct were not undertaken by the Board.
HW’s contract extension also contained an unusual provision that effectively monetized, rather than prohibited, ongoing acts of sexual harassment and misconduct. In particular, it stated that, if TWC had to “make a payment to satisfy a claim that you [i.e., HW] have treated someone improperly in violation of the Company’s Code of Conduct,” he would face escalating financial penalties: $250,000 for the first such instance, “$500,000, for the second such instance, $750,000 for the third such instance, and $1,000,000 for each such additional instance.”
This contract contained no provision for any penalties if HW personally covered the costs of any payments necessary to satisfy claims of improper treatment, and it provided for no adverse employment consequences in the event that one, two, three, or even four or more such payments had to be made by TWC and/or HW as a result of HW’s sexual harassment or misconduct. Thus, pursuant to HW’s employment contract, HW could continue engaging in sexual harassment and misconduct with impunity, provided that he paid the costs of any settlements and that he avoided disclosure of misconduct that might risk causing “serious harm to the company.”
• Board minutes reflect that the Board ratified HW’s new employment contract unanimously. No future efforts were undertaken by the Board to investigate HW’s misconduct or TWC’s practices concerning that conduct until HW’s termination in October 2017.

As detailed above, according to OAG’s investigation, none of the voluminous complaints filed with TWC Human Resources resulted in meaningful investigation or relief for victims, or consequences for HW. Instead, TWC Human Resources variously claimed there was “nothing” that could be done to address the misconduct; immediately informed HW of the complaint, thereby facilitating retaliation by HW against the complainant; or helped facilitate swift departure of the complainant from the company in connection with a settlement that contained an NDA at the direction of the HR Director’s superiors.

TWC’s culture of harassment and intimidation remained shrouded in secrecy because of HW’s and TWC’s practice of securing silence through Non-Disclosure Agreements (“NDAs”) that prohibited individuals from speaking about their experiences at TWC.
In October 2017, Attorney General Schneiderman opened an investigation after initial reports regarding HW – using the Attorney General’s investigative authorities, including investigative subpoena power, to begin removing that shroud of secrecy.

While the Attorney General’s investigation remains ongoing, OAG is bringing suit today to seek court intervention in light of its investigative findings to date and the reported imminent sale of TWC – which OAG has a substantive basis to believe would leave victims without adequate redress, including a lack of a sufficient victims compensation fund. OAG also believes that the proposed terms of the sale would allow the perpetrators or enablers of the misconduct to see a windfall, and allow top officials at TWC who share responsibility for the misconduct to serve in executive positions of the new entity – where they would again oversee the adjudication of HR complaints, including those of sexual harassment, intimidation, and assault.

Those who believe they were victims of or witnesses to the misconduct described in the complaint should call the Civil Rights Bureau hotline at 212-416-8250 or Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov.

The Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office is committed to combating gender discrimination and sexual harassment faced by women across all industries. The Civil Rights Bureau encourages those who encounter such conduct to contact the office at 212-416-8250 or Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov.

This case is being handled by Howard Master, Senior Enforcement Counsel, and by Anjana Samant, Assistant Attorney General, and Amanda Addision, volunteer Assistant Attorney General, in the Civil Rights Bureau. Lourdes Rosado is the Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau. The Civil Rights Bureau is part of the Division of Social Justice, which is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Matthew Colangelo.
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Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

Postby admin » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:59 am

Young Harvey Weinstein: The Making of a Monster
by Scott Johnson, Stephen Galloway
Hollywood Reporter
February 28, 2018, 6:00am PST

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Long before he was a Miramax movie mogul, Weinstein was an "artsy-fartsy" student, a savvy concert promoter and, it turns out, a budding abuser and sexual predator. The Hollywood Reporter retraces his moves in Queens and Buffalo and interviews dozens of former friends and associates to examine the formative years of Hollywood's most infamous figure.

Paula Wachowiak sits in her 2009 Honda Fit as it cruises past rows of abandoned factories and a wasteland of disintegrating homes, remnants of a metropolis that once billed itself as the "city of light." Decades ago, Buffalo was an industrial hub of New York, a gateway for commerce and a magnet for nearly 600,000 residents; but on a blustery February day, much of the city seems more like a manifestation of urban blight.

None of that troubles Wachowiak, 62, as she guides a reporter through town. The flame-haired grandmother is no longer the slip of a girl who once studied communications at the University of Buffalo, but she retains sharp memories of the days when she had visions of becoming a filmmaker, until her experience on a real-life film turned sour. It was the summer of 1980, and the then-24-year-old was a divorced single mother when she landed an internship on a low-budget horror flick, The Burning, a slasher story about a summer-camp caretaker who seeks revenge for his grotesque disfigurement, featuring Jason Alexander and Holly Hunter in their first screen roles. The film's producer was almost as inexperienced as they were: Harvey Weinstein.

"I only knew of him as a music promoter," says Wachowiak.

At 28, Weinstein had begun to make a name for himself as a swashbuckling concert organizer who'd put Buffalo on the map by bringing in acts like Jethro Tull and the Rolling Stones. The Burning was his first foray into film producing, and so he spent a lot of time on set. Wachowiak, based in the production offices, didn't see him much; in fact, she saw more of his brother, Bob, 25, the quiet one whom nobody really noticed, who "seemed trustworthy, like somebody you'd talk to."

One day, a production accountant asked her to take a folder of checks to Harvey's room in a modest hotel. Wachowiak went upstairs and knocked on his door. When it opened, she says, she found him naked, except for a small towel draped around his waist. Half-hidden as he was by the door, she didn't quite realize what was going on until she was inside the room and the door had closed behind her.

"My first response was, 'Oh my God!' " she recalls. "Then I thought, 'This is fine. I'm just going to look at his face, get the checks signed and get out of here. These are sophisticated people, they do this all the time.' "

Weinstein dropped the towel, and Wachowiak struggled to keep her eyes on his face as he strolled around, until he sat down and laid the folder on his lap. "What's this for?" he asked, pointing either to a check or his private parts. Then he chuckled, as if enjoying her embarrassment. Saying he had "a kink in his neck," he asked for a massage.

"I don't think that's in my job description," she replied. ("Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of these events and categorically denies ever engaging in any nonconsensual sexual conduct with Ms. Wachowiak," says his spokesperson.)

Wachowiak says Weinstein didn't insist, as he would be accused of doing later, aggressively and violently, with other women. Still, the incident shook the intern, and when she left the room and stepped into the hallway, she burst into tears.


"I fell apart," she says. "I was shaking."

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Barbara Alper/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Younger brother Bob in 1989. "Harvey seemed resentful that he had to bring him on," a longtime friend says of the brothers' business partnership.


It's been 38 years since then, and Weinstein, now 65, has gone from being one of the most influential men in entertainment to the industry's most reviled. In the five months since allegations about his behavior exploded in The New York Times and The New Yorker, dozens of women — including actresses Ashley Judd, Lupita Nyong'o, Rose McGowan, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman — have accused him of everything from harassment to rape.

Forced out of The Weinstein Co., he has gone into hiding, abandoned by family and friends, as prosecutors in multiple cities weigh criminal charges. In February, the New York Attorney General stalled TWC's sale with a lawsuit alleging that Weinstein had subjected his employees to physical intimidation and emotional abuse and required them to "facilitate his sexual encounters," all with the "effective acquiescence" of his brother.

Sources tell THR that Harvey has had little or no contact with his children, and one of his daughters, Remy (from his first marriage to Eve Chilton), has stayed out of the public view, absent for weeks from the L.A. gym where she once was a constant presence. Even Bob's daughter, Sara, well-regarded for her philanthropic endeavors, has severed ties with the man she considered a second father. As for Bob, 63, he hasn't spoken to Harvey in months, except for a call that lasted "literally a minute," according to a well-placed source.

Much has been written about Weinstein's behavior at TWC and his earlier company, Miramax Films. Now, in an effort to understand what shaped this man before he moved to New York City and launched a film empire, THR has interviewed more than two dozen people who knew him from his early childhood in Queens through his first film forays in Buffalo, New York, before he became "Harvey." Nearly all of them describe a young man of extremes: charming and coarse, brilliant and belligerent, but always fiercely competitive. While he remains a paradoxical figure, this much emerges: It was not simply power that twisted his moral compass; long before he was a mogul, he was a bully and a predator.

Several of his old friends attribute this in part to a hectoring mother and ineffectual father, though both Harvey and Bob have described their parents as loving; others say it's compensation for his rough looks. "I think he has a very bad self-image because of the way he feels about his physical appearance," says Robin Robinson, 63, who worked for him in Buffalo in the early '80s, where he first arrived as a student in 1969 and remained until he moved to New York City more than a decade later. In his relationships with the opposite sex, "He always has to have another, and another — all to compensate, to say, 'Look, I really am successful with women.' "

It's tempting to look for a smoking gun. But the origins of Weinstein's behavior are as complex and opaque as the man himself.

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Signs in the Electchester Housing Complex in Flushing, Queens, where the Weinstein boys grew up.

The ship was enormous and solid as a rock. Built in 1897 and capable of traveling at a speed of 13 knots, it was nearly 600 feet long and weighed 13,000 tons. But none of that must have mattered to Joe Weinstein as he boarded the SS Pretoria in Hamburg in late 1909 and set forth on the weekslong voyage to America. At 20, Joe (whose family took its name from the "Weinsteins" they peddled, crystals of potassium bitartrate used for cooking and cleaning) was well on his way to the New World, having journeyed 600 miles from his native Galicia in Eastern Europe to this German port, joining thousands of other Jews fleeing rampant anti-Semitism.

What happened upon Joe's arrival in America is unknown, and he vanishes from the records until 1918, when he married another Galician Jew, Pauline Fischman, a petite 22-year-old who was working as a dress finisher. With Joe now employed as a fishmonger and Pauline in the laundry business, the couple hunkered down to a working-class life, producing 10 children in rapid succession (one died days after being born), including their fourth, Bob and Harvey's father, Max.

Born in New York City in 1924, Max grew up in a family that was distant and remote, according to a 2011 piece Bob wrote for Vanity Fair. Bob marveled that his father could be such a family man, given how little love he got at home. In his mid-20s, on a visit to the Catskills after serving in World War II, he met a woman named Miriam Postal and asked if she'd like to dance. She turned him down flat, only to relent. They married in 1950 and remained together until Max's death from cardiac arrest in 1976 at age 51.

Unlike the flamboyant Miriam, Max had a low-key personality, a trait inherited by Bob, though not Harvey. Peter Adler, a close childhood friend of Harvey's, remembers Max as a quiet, reserved figure who preferred to stay on the sidelines, watching TV or reading.

Finding work as a diamond-cutter in New York's jewelry district, Max moved with his wife into a two-bedroom, lower-middle-class apartment in the Electchester housing project, a series of squat brick buildings in Flushing, Queens, that had been erected during the 1950s for members of the electricians union. It wasn't luxury, but it was safe.

Growing up here, Harvey (born in 1952) and Bob (born in 1954) have said they idolized their father. It was Max who introduced them to the movies, Max who taught them the rudiments of business, Max who sat them down one day and told them they must stick together through thick and thin, and Max who occasionally gave them a "butt-whipping" when they got out of hand.

But Max was frustrated. Spending his life "literally and figuratively grinding out a living to support his family," as Bob recalled, he wanted to be one of the big boys "who controlled his own destiny, could call the shots for himself and had status." Twice, he tried to break free. First, he opened a store selling diamonds and jade that lasted two or three years, but it collapsed in the face of competition. A few years later, he opened another store, this time selling synthetic diamonds under the brand name Diamonair, an endeavor that also foundered. Modest success was followed by crushing failure, creating an uncertainty that became the boys' norm.

Max may have stressed family solidarity, but he wasn't above deviating from it at least once, as Bob discovered when he asked his father for $9,000 in back pay after months working in his shop — money he was counting on for college. Max told his son he'd spent it to buy new equipment for his business.

The betrayal devastated Bob. And, he noted later, "[Max] didn't feel one ounce of guilt."

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Catherine McGann/Getty Images
Weinstein and his mother, Miriam, at the 1996 Obie Awards in NYC. "They were terrified of their mom," says an associate.


If Max was a significant influence on the boys, their Uncle Shimmy was another.

Shimmy (Sallbarry Greenblatt) lived in the same tower at 96-50 160th St. Compact and pudgy, with a curving mustache and gray hair, he owned a shop that sold refrigerators, washing machines and electronics. A natural raconteur with a knack for exaggeration, he was also a skilled salesman. He struck Adler's father, who adored him, as a New York hustler straight out of a Damon Runyon story, Adler recalls. If a customer asked about a fridge, Shimmy would shout to his assistant: "Hey, Murray! How much we gonna sell this for?" "Four hundred bucks," Murray would yell back. Then Shimmy would turn to the customer with a conspiratorial wink. "Three hundred," he'd whisper, and the customer would leave, happy, not realizing he'd been played.

"Uncle Shimmy was a bit of a shyster," says Adler. "He had a supply store, and he ripped off black people. But Harvey really, really adored him. He would sit at Shimmy's feet and listen to these stories. Harvey didn't respect his dad that much. It wasn't Max who was his real role model, it was Shimmy Greenblatt."

Inspired by Shimmy, Harvey learned to wheel and deal, and also perhaps that honesty mattered less than success, a lesson reinforced during the summer after seventh grade. Obtaining some discarded Boy Scout uniforms, he and a friend bought hundreds of boxes of cookies wholesale and, wearing the uniforms, went door to door selling them for $1 a pop, more than twice the 39 cents they'd paid — pocketing the money themselves. "They each made 800 bucks that summer," marvels Adler. "We thought it was funny and didn't make much of it. But that was all Shimmy. That was his brain at work."

Neither Shimmy nor Max had quite the impact of the boys' mother, a polarizing figure who drew different reactions from people who knew her. Born in Brooklyn in 1926, Miriam was the daughter of a butter-and-egg merchant and worked as a secretary. Those who met her when she was a fixture at Miramax remember her being "very put-together," in the words of one executive. "As a Jewish kid from Brooklyn, I felt I was meeting a relative. I always got the feeling Bob and Max loved Miriam, but were also annoyed by her."

To their childhood friend Adler, she was a hovering, constant presence, "shrill and bossy," endlessly drilling a sense of inadequacy into the boys. "She was overbearing," he notes, "saying things like, 'You're fat. Go outside and play.' " As a teenager, he says, Harvey sometimes called her "Momma Portnoy," a reference to the domineering matriarch in Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint, published in Harvey's senior year of high school. One of the novel's memorable scenes depicts the mother hectoring young Portnoy while he masturbates behind a bathroom door.

Adler describes Miriam as humorless, but her brusque exterior may have concealed a more comic and subversive side. Her tombstone, in the New Montefiore Jewish cemetery in West Babylon, New York, reads: "I don't like the atmosphere or the crowd."

"Every time Bob and Harvey had a major falling out, their mother would get them together and yell at them," notes one longtime agent who had dealings with the Weinsteins. "They would comply and make up. They were terrified of their mom. When she died [in November 2016], that's when this whole thing went to shit."

Certainly, their relationship with her was more complicated than either has revealed. "On the one hand, Harvey involved his mom in the company [Miramax was named after Miriam and Max] and treated her really well," says Alan Brewer, 64, one of Harvey's closest childhood friends, now a film and TV producer. "But when he was growing up, she was the boss, not him. When Harvey became a force in the industry and extremely wealthy, that altered their power dynamics."

As to the power dynamics of her marriage, Miriam held the cards. If Max made a regular thing of taking his sons to the movies, "it was just as much an escape for him as for the boys," says a childhood friend of the brothers. "Within the family, Miriam had a very loud voice and a tremendous amount of influence about what everybody should be doing. My sense is that the way she treated him is tied to Harvey's explosive personality later on."

How much of his legendary rage can be linked to her is debatable. But for those who spent many hours in his household, "there was a tension," says Adler. "There was a tension about going into that apartment."

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Joe Postal, the father of Harvey's mother, Miriam, was a butter-and-egg merchant.

After skipping eighth grade (along with 30 students singled out for their intelligence), in 1967 Harvey entered John Bowne High School with about 1,000 classmates and immersed himself in extra-curricular life, editing the news pages of the school paper, sitting on the student council and participating in a radio club. "He wasn't particularly athletic, but he was very smart," says Brewer.

It was just after the "Summer of Love," a time of social upheaval when 100,000 hippies converged on San Francisco and a message of "flower power" rippled through the country. Harvey aligned himself with the counterculture. His friends say he was part of a tight-knit clique of young men and women that included Brewer and Adler. "We weren't in the 'popular' group," says Brewer. "We were a smaller community of artsy-fartsy smart kids."

In school, Harvey discovered he had a gift for organization: When he heard that Irish poet Padraic Colum was teaching at Columbia University, he arranged for him to speak before his class. "That was the kind of thing Harvey did," says Adler. "He could just make things happen."

There was a film component in his advanced history and social studies class, and Harvey often brought up examples from the movies he was seeing as he began to venture into the big city. Classmate Jeff Malek remembers hearing that Harvey "knew the entire cast of every movie." To test him, he pressed Harvey about The Wizard of Oz, and he "proceeded to list the cast and crew, including gaffers, wardrobe, etc., by memory," says Malek. During senior year, says Adler, Harvey surprised his friends with an announcement: "I'm going to make a movie of our lives," he said, explaining that he'd already determined which famous actors would play each friend: Adler would be portrayed by Donald Sutherland.

Overtures such as these went over well. But, pasty-skinned and overweight, Harvey got nowhere with girls. He suffered from acne and "was very awkward with women because he was really hideous," says Adler. "He used sarcasm and humor in his friendships, but I never knew him to have a girlfriend, or even to date." Still, neither Adler nor any of Harvey's other friends saw anything in his behavior that would suggest the predator to come.

(Weinstein declined to comment on his childhood, instead releasing a statement through his spokesperson: "Mr. Weinstein will do his own recollection of his childhood memories but appreciates The Hollywood Reporter doing theirs. While he understands there is so much more to say, he will do so at a more appropriate time.")

At the end of his high school years, however, Harvey wrote a jocular message in a girl's yearbook that seems eerie in hindsight. After writing, "Dear Sheila, we had a blast. Best is yet to come," he added a fictitious address: "New York State Prison 3553333369."

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Photographed by Rebecca Smeyne
Wachowiak, photographed Feb. 2 on the site of a theater where Harvey Weinstein once worked in Buffalo, New York, was one of his earliest alleged victims, though not his first. “He was comfortable,” she says. “This was not his first rodeo.”


That fall, Harvey enrolled at the University of Buffalo, as far as he could get from Queens while still paying in-state tuition.

There, he met another student, Horace "Corky" Burger, with whom he began to write a regular column for the college paper, featuring a fictional character named "Denny the Hustler," a womanizing man-about-town who detailed the local social calendar.

Harvey wouldn't see his high school friends again until he was back home the next summer, when he got together with Adler, who had also returned from university with his girlfriend Patti. After a few hours of socializing, Adler said he was taking Patti back home, and his friends decided to go along for the ride.

Eight young men and Patti bundled into two cars, a 1965 Dodge and a Ford Custom, and headed for the city. Soon, they pulled up in front of a large building at 151 Central Park West, with a doorman and elevator man. The boys had never seen anything like it. Riding the elevator to the 10th floor, they emerged in a massive space whose 70-foot-long living room was adorned with paintings. There were two huge Jackson Pollocks, four Mark Rothkos, a few Motherwells and Rauschenbergs. Pre-Columbian sculptures rested on stands. The biggest apartment in the building, its walls had been reconfigured to accommodate the artwork. Among the cognoscenti, the home was called "the Frick of Central Park West."

Patti's father was Ben Heller, an art collector and personal friend of Pollock's. His name meant nothing to Harvey, but his lifestyle did. "This was Harvey's first touching-elbows with another class, and I can remember his eyeballs just popping out," says Adler.

As the young man gazed around him, wonderstruck, he saw the future he wanted, the kind of life he longed to grasp. "Someday," he told Adler, "I'm going to live like this."

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A jocular yearbook note from Weinstein (offering a “prison” number ending in 69) takes on new meaning in light of recent allegations.

Dropping out of college, Weinstein and Burger launched Harvey and Corky Present, a concert promotion company, demonstrating the kind of entrepreneurship Max never had.

"They were able to bring stuff to town that Buffalo hadn't seen before," says Michael Healy, then a local entertainment journalist. "They were very good promoters, self-promoters, and Buffalo is a grateful town if you do something, so people liked them a lot."

There were women — lots. "Everybody knew Harvey really liked women, but there was no suspicion of anything out of line," adds Healy, who remembers attending a Halloween party in a house Harvey was renting. It was crowded, and there were "a lot of beautiful women. It was bacchanalian, without decadence."

Now Harvey began dating. Starting late in college, and continuing until his first marriage to Chilton (his secretary) in 1987, he had "several decent-length relationships," according to a friend.

An early employee remembers seeing him "with very attractive women before he was 'Harvey Weinstein.' Harvey had game. He could be really charming, really self-deprecating. This was not just some crude beast."

But he was beginning to change. As he embraced his new life, he began to leave his old friends behind. In March 1973, he invited Adler and about a dozen other John Bowne graduates to a Grateful Dead concert; when Adler arrived after a 740-mile drive, he says: "He treated us like shit. I thought, 'What happened to my friend Harvey?' He was being an asshole. He ignored us. He was the big shot. We were too little for him. It was awful. That's the first time I saw him becoming a schmuck."

For years, most music promotion in Buffalo had been handled by a family-run company, Festivals East. Harvey and Corky went after their rival with ruthless efficiency. "There was a lot of screaming," recalls Robinson, a college and club booking agent at Harvey and Corky. "They'd call us up and say this band had worked with them for 20 years, and it wasn't right." None of that mattered to Harvey, who learned his strong-arm tactics worked.

He was becoming a local celebrity whose name could be heard in radio promos. When The Police came to town, their performance was billed as "Corky and Harvey Present The Police." The Cars, Mountain, even the Rolling Stones — Harvey and Corky brought them all. (Corky Burger could not be reached for comment.)

Their second concert featured Chuck Berry, whose interaction with the promoters became the stuff of local legend. Peeking through the curtain when it was time to go on, the rocker saw he had a full house, for which he had been promised a $10,000 attendance bonus. Then, on the spot, he decided that wasn't enough, and said he wouldn't play unless Harvey and Corky immediately forked over an additional $50,000 — in cash, in a brown paper bag.

As Harvey has told the story, he asked his "heads of security," some off-duty SWAT officers, to handle the matter, and they warned Berry there might be a riot. But Robinson says a different, possibly apocryphal, version has become folkloric: Corky, she says, beckoned a relative who allegedly had mob ties. "He comes backstage, carrying a cane, and he gets in Berry's face: 'You get out on that stage right now, or first I'm going to take my cane to you, and then I'm going to have my guys come down and take care of you!' " Berry did as he was told.


In their business dealings, the partners functioned as good cop/bad cop, Robinson notes, each with a different style. "Corky always had a smile on his face and was very well-dressed, whereas Harvey, even in those years, dressed like a slob." That was telling. Weinstein's slovenliness, she believes, was either a deliberate rebellion against expectations or a masochistic declaration against his physical self. "Harvey's appearance is a sign he hung around his own neck," she reflects.

Still, whenever there was a problem, Harvey showed no lack of self-confidence. "He'd just blow the water out of the pool," adds Robinson. "He was extremely effective, especially if there was a block."

Only once did he try to bully her, as he was starting to bully others. When he began to push her around verbally, she resisted, and he backed off. "You can feel people when they're testing you," she says. "They start out small. He wasn't the big baller he became."

There were others he tested, too. One local woman, who requested anonymity, describes her interaction with him around 1975, when Harvey would have been 22 or 23. She was working as the manager of the Downtown Buffalo Answering Service, where she was responsible for collections. Harvey and Corky were notoriously late making payments. When the woman contacted Harvey, he said he'd get her tickets for an upcoming Hot Tuna show in exchange for leeway on the bill. She agreed and was told to swing by his house for the tickets. When she knocked at his door in Cheektowaga, a suburb of Buffalo, a roommate answered: "He's in the tub."

Perhaps naively, the woman made her way to the bathroom, knocked and entered. Harvey was in the bath. "Can you wash my back?" she says he asked. Flustered, she said she was late meeting friends and rushed out, grabbing her tickets from the dining-room table. When she got to the concert, she decided she should thank Harvey anyway and went to his office. There, he put his arm around her and tried to kiss her, making it clear what he expected.

"He wanted a blow job," she says.

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Mickey Osterreicher/Getty Images
Frank Sinatra was flanked by Harvey (right) and Weinstein’s business partner Burger in 1974 in Buffalo.


The partners expanded their activities, taking over a local concert venue, the 3,000-seat Century Theatre, built in the 1920s, with a chandelier and balcony that would throb when audiences pounded their feet. Soon, they were using downtime between concerts to show movies, joined by Bob, who had dropped out of school at the State University of New York at Fredonia in 1973 and followed his brother to Buffalo, where he still was very much a junior player.

"Harvey seemed resentful that he had to bring along Bob," says someone who worked with the brothers, "while Bob seemed resentful for not getting enough credit, for being overshadowed." His resentment spilled over in subtle ways. "If you ever see any project they did together, it was always 'Bob and Harvey Weinstein,' " in that order, says a former employee. "Bob insisted his name come first."

While Bob demonstrated financial savvy (and a commercial sense that later made his Dimension label a bigger earner than Miramax), he never shared Harvey's passion for film as art. Increasingly, film itself was tugging Harvey away from concerts, as Robinson saw when he became obsessed with bringing the restored silent classic Napoleon to Buffalo after it had made a splash in Los Angeles, performed with a live orchestra led by Carmine Coppola. He wanted to present the picture in Buffalo with Coppola conducting.

"This is an important thing," he kept telling Robinson. "We need to bring this to Buffalo!"

In the end, the movie came to Buffalo without Coppola. "I'm telling you, the man was distraught," says Robinson. "His heart was out there. We were ready to cry."

While she loathes what Harvey became, she says, "These things pull you back from absolutely hating this man."

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Barbara Alper/Getty Images
Harvey (left) and Bob in their Miramax offices in 1989 in NYC. “If you ever see any project they did together, it was always ‘Bob and Harvey Weinstein,’” in that order, says a former employee. “Bob insisted his name come first.”


By the early 1980s, Harvey's dreams had outgrown the Century and perhaps Buffalo, too. After serving as a facilitator, he began to think of himself as an artist in his own right, a director like so many of the men he admired.

Locking himself in a cottage he had bought just north of Buffalo, he worked with Bob on a screenplay, Playing for Keeps (see sidebar), based on a draft by Jeremy Leven.

"I did kind of write the movie," says Leven, "although by the time they finished, there wasn't much left other than an intense WGA arbitration for credit, which I won. But they had already printed the posters and other material as though they had won, so I don't think my name appears anywhere but IMDb."

The siblings set about co-directing the film. "It was a fucking disaster," says an executive who spent time on the set.

Power exacerbated the worst of Harvey's instincts. Brewer, who produced the movie with the brothers, was approached on set by a young female crewmember. She told him Harvey had invited her to his hotel to discuss work, then attempted to kiss her. After she resisted, he tried to force oral sex on her. Brewer offered to call the police; she declined but asked him to keep Harvey away from her.

As the film neared its 1986 release, Harvey directed his anger at those closest to him. Brewer had heard rumors about his violent side; now he would see it for himself. On the day of the first preview, he walked into Harvey's office at Miramax, in its fledgling days in New York City. Bob closed the door. Harvey was upset: He couldn't locate sound elements he wanted to use in promoting the film for a commercial on The Cosby Show. He began to lash out.

"He went from being seemingly happy," says Brewer, "to grabbing me by the sweater, hooking his fingers around the collar and swinging at my head." Brewer, who had known Harvey since he was 12, who had vacationed with him, double-dated and worked at his side for two years on Playing for Keeps, was in shock. He pushed Harvey off and tried to leave, "but they followed me to the elevator," says Brewer. "Harvey began to attack me again. This spilled into the street."

Then Harvey changed tactics, "going from convincing to begging to threatening," he recalls. (Years later, when Brewer heard the infamous tape recording that model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez had made of Weinstein, he recognized his Jekyll-and-Hyde mode.) Their professional relationship ended, their friendship would never be the same. "This person who had been very supportive of my career was treating me like an enemy," says Brewer.
(Weinstein denies any physical altercation.)

Playing for Keeps marked a turning point, not only for Brewer but also his friend. Having failed as a director, Harvey would focus on building an empire through Miramax, which had begun to acquire and release films. Eventually, he would become not just a moviemaker but a mogul. And yet the emotions that drove him would remain unchanged.

"This was a person who had tremendous anger issues," says Brewer, "that no friendship or sense of loyalty was going to contain."

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Photofest
Poster art for The Burning, on which Wachowiak worked as an intern in the production offices.


In 2008, Wachowiak picked up the phone and called Bob Weinstein. She wanted to show him a movie she and her husband had directed. "It was a stab in the dark," she says. By then the younger brother was no longer the awkward guy in the back office; he was half of a global machine.

Wachowiak told Bob's secretary she had worked on The Burning, and to her surprise, he took the call. After she'd offered to send him snapshots from the set of their old film, along with her movie, the conversation turned to Harvey. She mentioned his "being difficult."

"Oh, yeah," said Bob. "He's still like that."

Today, she wonders why Bob spoke to her at all. Maybe he was on the lookout for his brother's misdeeds, she ponders, aware of all the loose ends that eventually might be tied up, potentially destroying their company. "I believe he knew what was going on," says Wachowiak. "He was protecting Harvey. He knew he was a big asshole."

As she drives past an empty lot where the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium once stood, she can't quite let go of the brothers, just like so many others. She remembers one of her last face-to-face meetings with Harvey, toward the end of the Burning shoot. She was in a small office that had been set up at a campsite on the edge of town, alone, when he showed up unannounced. "I was nervous," she remembers. "He looked at me, smarmy."

"So," said Harvey, with a grin, "Was seeing me naked the high point of your internship?"

"No," she retorted. "You disgust me."

He laughed and walked away.
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Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

Postby admin » Thu May 10, 2018 6:23 am

Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney General of Physical Abuse: Eric Schneiderman has raised his profile as a voice against sexual misconduct. Now, after suing Harvey Weinstein, he faces a #MeToo reckoning of his own.
by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow
May 7, 2018

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As Eric Schneiderman used the authority of his office to assume a major role in the #MeToo movement, the distress of four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters grew.
Illustration by Oliver Munday; Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty (man)


Update: Three hours after the publication of this story, Schneiderman resigned from his position. “While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time,” he said in a statement. “I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, has long been a liberal Democratic champion of women’s rights, and recently he has become an outspoken figure in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. As New York State’s highest-ranking law-enforcement officer, Schneiderman, who is sixty-three, has used his authority to take legal action against the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and to demand greater compensation for the victims of Weinstein’s alleged sexual crimes. Last month, when the Times and this magazine were awarded a joint Pulitzer Prize for coverage of sexual harassment, Schneiderman issued a congratulatory tweet, praising “the brave women and men who spoke up about the sexual harassment they had endured at the hands of powerful men.” Without these women, he noted, “there would not be the critical national reckoning under way.”

Now Schneiderman is facing a reckoning of his own. As his prominence as a voice against sexual misconduct has risen, so, too, has the distress of four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters. They accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence. All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal. But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women. They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Manning Barish and Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as “assault.” They did not report their allegations to the police at the time, but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked. Selvaratnam says that Schneiderman warned her he could have her followed and her phones tapped, and both say that he threatened to kill them if they broke up with him. (Schneiderman’s spokesperson said that he “never made any of these threats.”)

A third former romantic partner of Schneiderman’s told Manning Barish and Selvaratnam that he also repeatedly subjected her to nonconsensual physical violence, but she told them that she is too frightened of him to come forward. (The New Yorker has independently vetted the accounts that they gave of her allegations.) A fourth woman, an attorney who has held prominent positions in the New York legal community, says that Schneiderman made an advance toward her; when she rebuffed him, he slapped her across the face with such force that it left a mark that lingered the next day. She recalls screaming in surprise and pain, and beginning to cry, and says that she felt frightened. She has asked to remain unidentified, but shared a photograph of the injury with The New Yorker.

In a statement, Schneiderman said, “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”

Manning Barish was romantically involved with Schneiderman from the summer of 2013 until New Year’s Day in 2015. Selvaratnam was with him from the summer of 2016 until the fall of 2017. Both are articulate, progressive Democratic feminists in their forties who live in Manhattan. They work and socialize in different circles, and although they have become aware of each other’s stories, they have only a few overlapping acquaintances; to this day, they have never spoken to each other. Over the past year, both watched with admiration as other women spoke out about sexual misconduct. But, as Schneiderman used the authority of his office to assume a major role in the #MeToo movement, their anguish and anger grew.

In February, four months after the first stories about Weinstein broke, Schneiderman announced that his office was filing a civil-rights suit against him. At a press conference, he denounced Weinstein, saying, “We have never seen anything as despicable as what we’ve seen right here.” On May 2nd, at the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Schneiderman launched an investigation into the past handling of criminal complaints against Weinstein by the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr., and the New York City Police Department. (In 2015, Vance declined to bring criminal charges against Weinstein, saying that he lacked sufficient evidence—a decision criticized by activist groups.) In a speech, Cuomo explained that “sexual-assault complaints must be pursued aggressively, and to the fullest extent of the law.” The expanding investigation of the Weinstein case puts Schneiderman at the center of one of the most significant sexual-misconduct cases in recent history.

Schneiderman’s activism on behalf of feminist causes has increasingly won him praise from women’s groups. On May 1st, the New York-based National Institute for Reproductive Health honored him as one of three “Champions of Choice” at its annual fund-raising luncheon. Accepting the award, Schneiderman said, “If a woman cannot control her body, she is not truly equal.” But, as Manning Barish sees it, “you cannot be a champion of women when you are hitting them and choking them in bed, and saying to them, ‘You’re a fucking whore.’” She says of Schneiderman’s involvement in the Weinstein investigation, “How can you put a perpetrator in charge of the country’s most important sexual-assault case?” Selvaratnam describes Schneiderman as “a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” figure, and says that seeing him lauded as a supporter of women has made her “feel sick,” adding, “This is a man who has staked his entire career, his personal narrative, on being a champion for women publicly. But he abuses them privately. He needs to be called out.”

Manning Barish notes that many of her friends attended the N.I.R.H. luncheon. “His hypocrisy is epic,” she says. “He’s fooled so many people.” Manning Barish includes herself among them. She says that she met Schneiderman in July, 2013, through mutual friends. She had become a blogger and political activist after opposing her younger brother’s deployment to Iraq and working with groups such as MoveOn.org. Amicably divorced from Chris Barish, a hospitality-industry executive, she was a single mother with a young daughter and socially prominent friends. Schneiderman, who was rising in Democratic politics after being elected attorney general, in 2010, was also divorced. His ex-wife, Jennifer Cunningham, a lobbyist and political strategist at the firm SKDKnickerbocker, currently serves as one of his political consultants. They have a grown daughter.

Manning Barish says that she fell quickly for Schneiderman and was happy to be involved with someone who seemed to share her progressive idealism and enjoy her feistiness. Page Six chronicled the romance, calling her a “ravishing redhead” and noting that, at a fund-raiser, the television producer Norman Lear had introduced her as Schneiderman’s “bride-to-be.”

But Manning Barish began to see signs of controlling and abusive behavior. Soon after she started dating Schneiderman, he told her to remove a small tattoo from her wrist; it wasn’t appropriate, he said, if she were to become the wife of a politician. The process of having it removed was painful and expensive. In retrospect, she says, it was the first step in trying to control her body. “Taking a strong woman and tearing her to pieces is his jam,” she says.

About four weeks after they became physically involved, she says, Schneiderman grew violent. One night, they were in the bedroom of his Upper West Side apartment, still clothed but getting ready for bed, and lightly baiting each other. As she recalls it, he called her “a whore,” and she talked back. They had both been drinking, and her recollection of their conversation is blurry, but what happened next remains vivid. Schneiderman, she says, backed her up to the edge of his bed. “All of a sudden, he just slapped me, open-handed and with great force, across the face, landing the blow directly onto my ear,” Manning Barish says. “It was horrendous. It just came out of nowhere. My ear was ringing. I lost my balance and fell backward onto the bed. I sprang up, but at this point there was very little room between the bed and him. I got up to try to shove him back, or take a swing, and he pushed me back down. He then used his body weight to hold me down, and he began to choke me. The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked. In every fibre, I felt I was being beaten by a man.”

She finally freed herself and got back on her feet. “I was crying and in shock,” she says. She recalls shouting, “Are you crazy?” To her astonishment, Schneiderman accused her of scratching him. At one point—she can’t remember if it was at this moment or in a later conversation—he told her, “You know, hitting an officer of the law is a felony.”

After the incident, Manning Barish left the apartment, telling him that she would never come back. “I want to make it absolutely clear,” she says. “This was under no circumstances a sex game gone wrong. This did not happen while we were having sex. I was fully dressed and remained that way. It was completely unexpected and shocking. I did not consent to physical assault.”


In the following days, Manning Barish confided to three close female friends that Schneiderman had hit her. All of them have confirmed this to The New Yorker. “She was distraught,” one of the friends, a high-profile media figure, says. “She was very, very upset. This wasn’t a gentle smack. He clocked her ear. I was shocked.” She notes, “Michelle had mentioned that he drank a lot, and that he changed under the influence of alcohol, but I’d never anticipated that he would be violent.” The friend describes Manning Barish as having seemed “sad” and “torn,” because “she’d really wanted the relationship to work.”

The novelist Salman Rushdie, who dated Manning Barish before Schneiderman did, and who has been her close friend for nearly fifteen years, says that she confided in him as well. “She called me and told me he had hit her,” Rushdie recalls. “She was obviously very upset. I was horrified.” In his view, Schneiderman’s behavior does not fall into the kind of gray area that should remain private. “It was clear to me that it crossed a line,” he says. Rushdie, who describes Manning Barish as “a very truthful person, in my experience,” advised her to stay away from Schneiderman.

But Manning Barish went back to him, a decision that she regrets. After the attack, she says, Schneiderman “called and called” her. A few days later, on a weekday afternoon, his security detail drove him to her apartment, and he showed up at her door with an armload of flowers and a case of wine. She found the wine surprising, given the fact that alcohol had fuelled his violent behavior. She recalls saying over and over, “You hit me! You hurt me! You should never hit a woman!” But he didn’t want to talk about having hit her. “The hitting was not an issue for him,” she says. Before long, they reconciled.


Manning Barish says that her ear bothered her for months. It often felt painful and clogged, and she kept hearing odd gurgling sounds. Once, blood trickled out, reaching her collarbone. Eventually, Manning Barish sought medical help from Dr. Gwen Korovin, an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Manning Barish shared her medical records with The New Yorker. They confirm that, on September 13, 2014, Korovin found and removed “dried bloody crust” from Manning Barish’s ear. Manning Barish thought that the slap might have caused the injury, but when Korovin asked her what had happened she said that she might have injured herself with a Q-tip. “I was protecting Eric,” Manning Barish says. “And I was ashamed. For victims, shame plays a huge role in most of these stories. I want people to know that.” Korovin was asked by The New Yorker if the injury could have been caused by a slap. “Yes, it could be consistent with a slap,” she said. “You could perforate an eardrum in a lot of ways, with a Q-tip or with a slap.”

Manning Barish and Schneiderman were together, off and on, for nearly two years. She says that when they had sex he often slapped her across the face without her consent, and that she felt “emotionally battered” by cruel remarks that he made. She says that he criticized how she looked and dressed, and “controlled what I ate.” Manning Barish, who is five feet seven, lost thirty pounds, falling to a hundred and three. In a photograph from the period, she looks emaciated; her hair, she recalls, started to fall out. Nevertheless, he squeezed her legs and called them “chubby.”

Manning Barish says that Schneiderman pressed her to consume huge amounts of alcohol. She recalls, “I would come over for dinner. An already half-empty bottle of red wine would be on the counter. He had had a head start. ‘Very stressful day,’ he would say.” Sometimes, if she didn’t drink quickly enough, she says, he would “come to me like a baby who wouldn’t eat its food, and hold the glass to my lips while holding my face, and sweetly but forcefully, like a parent, say, ‘Come on, Mimi, drink, drink, drink,’ and essentially force me—at times actually spilling it down my chin and onto my chest.” Schneiderman, she recalls, “would almost always drink two bottles of wine in a night, then bring a bottle of Scotch into the bedroom. He would get absolutely plastered five nights out of seven.” On one occasion, she recalls, “he literally fell on his face in my kitchen, straight down, like a tree falling.” Another evening, he smashed his leg against an open drawer, cutting it so badly that “there was blood all over the place.” She bandaged it, but the next day she went to his office to change the dressing, because the bleeding hadn’t stopped.

Manning Barish says that Schneiderman also took prescription tranquillizers, and often asked her to refill a prescription that she had for Xanax, so that he could reserve “about half” the pills for himself. (Schneiderman’s spokesperson said that he has “never commandeered anyone’s medications.”) Sometimes in bed, she recalls, he would be “shaking me and grabbing my face” while demanding that she repeat such things as “I’m a little whore.” She says that he also told her, “If you ever left me, I’d kill you.”


Evan Stark, a forensic social worker and an emeritus professor at Rutgers, is the author of a landmark book, “Coercive Control,” in which he argues that domestic abuse is just as often psychological as it is physical. Abusive men, he writes, often “terrorize” and “control” their partners by demeaning them, particularly about the traits or accomplishments of which they are proudest. Manning Barish says that Schneiderman often mocked her political activism. When she told him of her plan to attend an anti-gun demonstration with various political figures and a group of parents from Sandy Hook Elementary School, he dismissed the effort, calling the demonstrators “losers.” He added, “Go ahead, if it makes you feel better to do your little political things.” When she was using her computer, he’d sometimes say, “Oh, look at little Mimi. So cute—she’s working!” He told Manning Barish that, because she had childcare, she wasn’t “a real single mother.”

Manning Barish broke up with Schneiderman a second time, and then got back together with him. He’d been talking about marrying her, she says, and she somehow convinced herself that the real problem between them was her fear of commitment. In January, 2015, she ended the relationship a third time, feeling degraded. After that, they got together romantically a few more times, but since 2016 she has been in touch with him only sporadically.


Since the #MeToo movement began, Manning Barish has been active on social-media platforms, cheering on women who have spoken out, including those whose accusations prompted the resignation of the Minnesota senator Al Franken, a widely admired Democrat. Once, she made an oblique reference to Schneiderman on social media, in connection with a political issue. He called her and, in a tone that she describes as “nasty,” said, “Don’t ever write about me. You don’t want to do that.” Manning Barish says that she took his remarks as a threat, just as she took seriously a comment that he’d once made after she objected to him “yanking” her across a street. She recalls saying to him, “Jaywalking is against the law,” and him responding, “I am the law.” Manning Barish says, “If there is a sentence that sums him up, it’s that.”

Schneiderman was elected to the New York State Senate in 1998, and served for twelve years. He wrote many laws, including one that created specific penalties for strangulation. He introduced the bill in 2010, after chairing a committee that investigated domestic-violence charges against the former state senator Hiram Monserrate, a Democrat, who was expelled from the legislature after having been convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. During the hearings, the legislators learned that New York State imposed no specific criminal penalty for choking, even though it is a common prelude to domestic-violence homicides. Not only did Schneiderman’s bill make life-threatening strangulation a grave crime; it also criminalized less serious cases involving “an intent to impede breathing” as misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in prison. “I’m just sorry it took us so long in New York State to do this,” Schneiderman declared at the time. “I think this will save a lot of lives.”

Jennifer Friedman, a legal expert on domestic violence, says that she cannot square Schneiderman’s public and private behavior. Anyone knowledgeable about intimate-partner violence, she says, knows that choking is “a known lethality indicator.” She adds, “I cannot fathom that someone who drafted the legislation on strangulation is unfamiliar with such concepts.” She also says, “A slap is not just a slap—it reverberates through the rest of the relationship, making her afraid of setting him off.” She adds, “People aren’t usually prosecuted for it, but, in the state of New York, slapping is assault when it results in pain or physical injury.”

In the summer of 2016, the attorney general may have crossed this line again. He went to a party in the Hamptons, where he drank heavily, and invited another guest—a woman he’d known for some time—to join him at an after-party. An accomplished Ivy League-educated lawyer with government experience, she had worked closely with his office in the past, and supported him politically. She says that she agreed to let a man in Schneiderman’s security detail drive them to the next destination. But, when they arrived at the house, there was no party; it was where Schneiderman was staying. The security officer left the property.

The lawyer and Schneiderman began making out, but he said things that repelled her. He told the woman, a divorced mother, that professional women with big jobs and children had so many decisions to make that, when it came to sex, they secretly wanted men to take charge. She recalls him saying, “Yeah, you act a certain way and look a certain way, but I know that at heart you are a dirty little slut. You want to be my whore.” He became more sexually aggressive, but she was repulsed by his talk, and pulled away from him. She says that “suddenly—at least, in my mind’s eye—he drew back, and there was a moment where I was, like, ‘What’s happening?’ ” Then, she recalls, “He slapped me across the face hard, twice,” adding, “I was stunned.”

Schneiderman hit her so hard, she says, that the blow left a red handprint. “What the fuck did you just do?” she screamed, and started to sob. “I couldn’t believe it,” she recalls. “For a split second, I was scared.” She notes that, in all her years of dating, she has never been in a situation like the one with Schneiderman. “He just really smacked me,” she says.

When she told him that she wanted to leave, she recalls, he started to “freak out,” saying that he’d misjudged her. “You’d really be surprised,” he claimed. “A lot of women like it. They don’t always think they like it, but then they do, and they ask for more.” She again demanded to be taken home. They got into his car, and it quickly became apparent how intoxicated he was. As he drove, weaving along back roads, she was terrified that he’d kill not just her but another driver. She says that Schneiderman “broke the law at least once that night.” (“This is untrue,” Schneiderman’s spokesperson said.)

The next day, she told two friends, and sent them a photograph of the mark on her face. (Both women corroborate this.) Another photograph of the lawyer, taken later that day at a family birthday party, shows faint raised marks splayed on her cheek. One of the friends says of Schneiderman, “He seemed not to know what the word ‘consent’ means.”


Given the woman’s prominence in the legal sphere, Schneiderman’s actions had exposed him to tremendous risk. Yet she took no official action against him. “Now that I know it’s part of a pattern, I think, God, I should have reported it,” she says. “But, back then, I believed that it was a one-time incident. And I thought, He’s a good attorney general, he’s doing good things. I didn’t want to jeopardize that.” She notes that he did not hit her again, after she protested. Nevertheless, she says of the assault, “I knew it was wrong,” adding, “Our top law officer, this guy with a platform for women’s rights, just smacked away so much of what I thought he stood for.”

Tanya Selvaratnam is the author of “The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock,” which explores infertility issues; she is also an actor and a film producer, as well as a supporter of feminist and progressive social causes. She, too, is divorced. In 2016, she attended the Democratic National Convention, in Philadelphia, where Schneiderman introduced himself to her. She says that their first encounter felt “like kismet.” They had both gone to Harvard: she as an undergraduate and a graduate student, he as a law student. She was impressed when he expressed an interest in meditation and Buddhism. They had both studied Chinese, and, when he asked, in Mandarin, if she spoke the language, she answered, “Wo shuo keshi bu tai liuli”—“Yes, but not fluently.”

They began dating, and appeared to be a happy couple. Selvaratnam all but lived in his apartment, attending political functions and dinners with his friends and donors, and brainstorming with him on speeches and projects. But, as she puts it, “it was a fairy tale that became a nightmare.” Although Schneiderman often doted on her, he demanded that she spend more and more time with him, and he began physically abusing her in bed. “The slaps started after we’d gotten to know each other,” she recalls. “It was at first as if he were testing me. Then it got stronger and harder.” Selvaratnam says, “It wasn’t consensual. This wasn’t sexual playacting. This was abusive, demeaning, threatening behavior.”

When Schneiderman was violent, he often made sexual demands. “He was obsessed with having a threesome, and said it was my job to find a woman,” she says. “He said he’d have nothing to look forward to if I didn’t, and would hit me until I agreed.” (She had no intention of having a threesome.) She recalls, “Sometimes, he’d tell me to call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did.” Selvaratnam, who was born in Sri Lanka, has dark skin, and she recalls that “he started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’ ”

The abuse escalated. Schneiderman not only slapped her across the face, often four or five times, back and forth, with his open hand; he also spat at her and choked her. “He was cutting off my ability to breathe,” she says. Eventually, she says, “we could rarely have sex without him beating me.” In her view, Schneiderman “is a misogynist and a sexual sadist.” She says that she often asked him to stop hurting her, and tried to push him away. At other times, she gave in, rationalizing that she could tolerate the violence if it happened only once a week or so during sex. But “the emotional and verbal abuse started increasing,” she says, and “the belittling and demeaning of me carried over into our nonsexual encounters.” He told her to get plastic surgery to remove scars on her torso that had resulted from an operation to remove cancerous tumors. He criticized her hair and said that she should get breast implants and buy different clothes. He mocked some of her friends as “ditzes,” and, when these women attended a birthday celebration for her, he demanded that she leave just as the cake was arriving. “I began to feel like I was in Hell,” she says.

Like Manning Barish, Selvaratnam says that Schneiderman routinely drank heavily—a bottle and a half of wine, or more. He also took sedatives, she says, and pushed her to drink with him, saying, “Drink your bourbon, Turnip”—his nickname for her. In the middle of the night, he staggered through the apartment, as if in a trance. “I’ve never seen anyone that messed up,” she recalls. “It was like sleeping next to a monster.” The next morning, she says, he’d seem fine, but often berated her for not having kept him away from the alcohol. His emotional state seemed to worsen after the 2016 Presidential election. He had counted on forging an ambitious partnership with a White House led by Hillary Clinton. Instead, the Presidency had gone to Donald Trump. Earlier, Schneiderman’s office had sued Trump University for civil fraud, and Trump had countersued Schneiderman personally.

On the morning of January 19, 2017, the day before Trump’s Inauguration, Schneiderman called Selvaratnam from a hospital emergency room. She recalls, “He told me that he’d been drinking the night before, and he fell down. He didn’t realize he’d cut himself, and got into bed, and when he woke up he was in a pool of blood.” Selvaratnam rushed to the hospital. Schneiderman had several stitches above his left eye; his face was puffy and bruised. He had her send his press secretary a photograph of the injury, and they agreed to cancel a public appearance. In the image, which was shared with The New Yorker, Schneiderman has a black eye and a bandage across the left side of his forehead. Schneiderman then called Cunningham, his ex-wife and political consultant, and they agreed that he and Selvaratnam should tell anyone who asked about the injury that he had fallen “while running.” (A spokesperson for Schneiderman said, “One morning, Mr. Schneiderman fell in the bathroom while completely sober, hit his head, and had to go the E.R. for stitches. Because he was embarrassed to tell his staff he fell in the bathroom, he told them he fell while running.”
Cunningham, in a statement issued shortly after this story was published online, said, “I’ve known Eric for nearly thirty-five years as a husband, father, and friend. These allegations are completely inconsistent with the man I know, who has always been someone of the highest character, outstanding values, and a loving father. I find it impossible to believe these allegations are true.”)

Selvaratnam understands how incomprehensible it may seem that she stayed in such an abusive relationship for more than a year. But, she says, “now I see how independent women get stuck in one.” The physical abuse, she notes, “happens quickly”: “He’s drunk, and you’re naked and at your most vulnerable. It’s so disorienting. You lose a little of who you are.” She kept telling herself that she could help him change, and tried to get him to see a therapist. At times, she blamed herself for his behavior. “I was scared what he might do if I left him,” she says. “He had said he would have to kill me if we broke up, on multiple occasions. He also told me he could have me followed and could tap my phone.”

It’s unclear if Schneiderman was serious when he made such remarks, but Selvaratnam says that she felt intimidated. Jacquelyn Campbell, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, is the author of a danger-assessment checklist that helps authorities gauge the likelihood of homicide in domestic-violence situations. She says, “It’s often true that women don’t know whether to take threats to kill seriously. But we should always take threats seriously. It’s categorized as a violent act, and you can report someone to the police for it.”

Selvaratnam began to spend more time apart from Schneiderman, and last fall she ended the relationship. She’d been suffering from ringing in her ears, and sometimes had vertigo. After the breakup, she, like Manning Barish, sought medical help from an ear, nose, and throat specialist. The doctor could find no specific cause for her ailments. The writer Danzy Senna, a close friend of Selvaratnam’s, recalls, “She was thin, fragile, and shaky.” Selvaratnam confided to Senna about the abuse, and Senna was so shocked that she wrote down the details and e-mailed the account to her husband, so that there would be a dated copy of it should any harm come to her friend. Senna’s document, which she shared with The New Yorker, is dated September 16, 2017, and says, in part, “She told me that her boyfriend of a year, Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, has been choking, beating, and threatening her for the entirety of their relationship, and that several times he threatened to have her killed if she ever tried to leave him. She said he knows that she has a lot of really damning information about him, his alcoholism, sexual deviance, and drug use, and she worries about her safety.”

Senna advised Selvaratnam to retrieve her belongings from his apartment. On November 3, 2017, she did so, with another friend—Jennifer Gonnerman, a staff writer at this magazine. As they carried her things outside, they talked about the fact that Selvaratnam couldn’t possibly be the only woman who had seen this side of Schneiderman. Gonnerman asked her who else he had dated. Selvaratnam knew of one former girlfriend—not Manning Barish—and described where she had worked.

The next day, Gonnerman happened to run into a male friend who had once worked with the former girlfriend. Gonnerman asked him if he’d ever known anyone who had dated Schneiderman. He said yes: a close friend of his had. Without divulging anything, Gonnerman asked, “So how did that work out?” He answered, “He used to spit on her and slap her during sex.”

Gonnerman told Selvaratnam about the other victim. “She was very traumatized,” Gonnerman recalls. “On the one hand, she was relieved to learn it had happened before, but on the other it was, like, ‘Why hasn’t anyone stopped him?’ ”

Selvaratnam says, “I wished someone had warned me. And I wondered, Who’s next?” She notes, “I was not planning to come forward, until I found out there was another woman. The silence of women before me meant that I’d suffered, too. I felt, I will not be able to live with myself if I hear of him doing this to another woman years or months from now.”

Selvaratnam reached out to the former girlfriend, and they agreed to meet. In February, Selvaratnam recalls, they sat outside on a bench for ninety minutes, and their stories came flooding forth. Selvaratnam says that she was astounded to discover how similar their experiences had been.

Selvaratnam kept notes about her exchanges with the former girlfriend, and she described them to The New Yorker. According to these notes, the former girlfriend told Selvaratnam that she had been in love with Schneiderman, but that in bed he had routinely slapped her hard across the ear and the face, as tears rolled down her cheeks. He also choked her and spat at her. Not all the abuse had taken place in a sexual context. She said that Schneiderman had once slapped her during an argument they’d had while getting dressed to go out. The blow left a handprint on her back; the next day, the spot still hurt. When the former girlfriend objected to this mistreatment, he told her that she simply wasn’t “liberated” enough. Just as Schneiderman had done with the other women, he had pushed her to drink with him and to set up a threesome, and he had belittled her work and appearance, saying in her case that she had fat legs and needed Botox.

After the former girlfriend ended the relationship, she told several friends about the abuse. A number of them advised her to keep the story to herself, arguing that Schneiderman was too valuable a politician for the Democrats to lose. She described this response as heartbreaking. And when Schneiderman heard that she had turned against him, she said, he warned her that politics was a tough and personal business, and that she’d better be careful. She told Selvaratnam that she had taken this as a threat.


The former girlfriend told Selvaratnam she found it “shameless” that Schneiderman was casting himself as a leading supporter of the #MeToo movement. She promised to support Selvaratnam if she spoke out, but she wasn’t sure that she could risk joining her. The former girlfriend told Selvaratnam she’d once been so afraid of Schneiderman that she’d written down an extensive account of the abuse, locked the document in a safe-deposit box, and given keys to two friends.

In February, the news broke that Rob Porter, a top aide in the Trump White House, was resigning, amid allegations that he’d abused his two ex-wives. One of the women, Colbie Holderness, released a photograph of herself taken after he’d allegedly given her a black eye. The image resonated deeply among the women who had dated Schneiderman. Manning Barish recalls, “After Rob Porter, I was struggling about whether to come forward. I felt guilt and shame that I was encouraging other women to speak out but wasn’t doing the same. I was a hypocrite. I was in tears.” Her friends told her that she risked becoming known mainly for being Schneiderman’s victim, and she initially agreed to let the matter go. But, after thinking it over, she told them, “If he’s done this to more than one woman, I’m going to say something.”

After Porter’s resignation, Selvaratnam felt more determined than ever to speak out about Schneiderman and the broader issue of intimate-partner violence. As this story was being reported, Manning Barish became aware that there were other victims, and decided that she had three choices: “I can lie. I can be silent, which is being complicit, and a betrayal of the other women. Or I can tell the truth.” She concluded, “I’m choosing No. 3.” Manning Barish is aware of the risks faced by women who take on powerful politicians, and isn’t relishing the prospect of taking on the attorney general. “It’s hard,” she says. “It affects your life, and not in a positive way.”

Selvaratnam says that she considered filing an ethics complaint against Schneiderman, or bringing a civil suit, but the various legal options she considered were always connected to Schneiderman in some way. Meanwhile, at least eight members of Congress had resigned, or announced plans to retire, after being accused of sexual misconduct. In Missouri, the legislature called a special session to take up the impeachment of Governor Eric Greitens, who had been accused of slapping, restraining, and belittling a woman during an affair. Greitens has denied the allegations, but he is facing a felony charge stemming from the woman’s assertion that he took compromising photographs of her, in an effort to stop her from speaking out.

Selvaratnam, by contrast, feels caught up in circumstances that have given her only one real choice: to go public. “It’s torturous for me to do this,” she says. “I like my life.” Of this article, she says, “I wish my name did not have to be in it,” and notes, of Schneiderman, “I know it’s going to be my word against his, because I don’t have photos of bruises, and I don’t have a police report.” Schneiderman’s accusers, she feels, are in an unusually difficult situation. As she puts it, “What do you do if your abuser is the top law-enforcement official in the state?”
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