Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg

Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg

Postby admin » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:30 pm

‘Beautiful Girls’ Scribe Scott Rosenberg On A Complicated Legacy With Harvey Weinstein
by Mike Fleming Jr
October 16, 2017

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Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg just wrote a thought provoking post on his Facebook account about his early days at Miramax Films. There, he wrote the memorable movies Beautiful Girls and Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead, and was part of that period when Harvey Weinstein became the center of the indie universe.

So, uh, yeah.
We need to talk about Harvey.

I was there, for a big part of it.
From, what, 1994 to the early 2000s?
Something like that.
Certainly The Golden Age.
The “PULP FICTION”, “SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE”, “CLERKS”, “SWINGERS”, “SCREAM”, “GOOD WILL HUNTING”, “ENGLISH PATIENT”, “LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL” years…

Harvey and Bob made my first two movies.
Then they signed me to an overall deal.
Then they bought that horror script of mine about the Ten Plagues.
For a lot of money.
Also bought that werewolf-biker script.
That no one else liked but was my personal favorite.
They were going to publish my novel.
They anointed me.
Made it so other studios thought I was the real deal.
They gave me my career.

I was barely 30.
I was sure I had struck gold.
They loved me, these two brothers, who had reinvented cinema.
And who were fun and tough and didn’t give an East Coast fuck about all the slick pricks out in L.A.

And those glory days in Tribeca?
The old cramped offices?
That wonderful gang of executives and assistants?
All the filmmakers who were doing repeat business?
The brothers wanted to create a “family of film”.
And they did just that…
We looked forward to having meetings there.
Meetings that would turn into plans that would turn into raucous nights out on the town.
Simply put: OG Miramax was a blast.

So, yeah, I was there.
And let me tell you one thing.
Let’s be perfectly clear about one thing:

Everybody-fucking-knew.

Not that he was raping.
No, that we never heard.
But we were aware of a certain pattern of overly-aggressive behavior that was rather dreadful.
We knew about the man’s hunger; his fervor; his appetite.
There was nothing secret about this voracious rapacity; like a gluttonous ogre out of the Brothers Grimm.
All couched in vague promises of potential movie roles.
(and, it should be noted: there were many who actually succumbed to his bulky charms. Willingly. Which surely must have only impelled him to cast his fetid net even wider).

But like I said: everybody-fucking-knew.

And to me, if Harvey’s behavior is the most reprehensible thing one can imagine, a not-so-distant second is the current flood of sanctimonious denial and condemnation that now crashes upon these shores of rectitude in gloppy tides of bullshit righteousness.

Because everybody-fucking-knew.

And do you know how I am sure this is true?
Because I was there.
And I saw you.
And I talked about it with you.
You, the big producers; you, the big directors; you, the big agents; you, the big financiers.
And you, the big rival studio chiefs; you, the big actors; you, the big actresses; you, the big models.
You, the big journalists; you, the big screenwriters; you, the big rock stars; you, the big restaurateurs; you, the big politicians.

I saw you.
All of you.
God help me, I was there with you.

Again, maybe we didn’t know the degree.
The magnitude of the awfulness.
Not the rapes.
Not the shoving against the wall.
Not the potted-plant fucking.
But we knew something.
We knew something was bubbling under.
Something odious.
Something rotten.

But…
And this is as pathetic as it is true:
What would you have had us do?
Who were we to tell?
The authorities?
What authorities?
The press?
Harvey owned the press.
The Internet?
There was no Internet or reasonable facsimile thereof.
Should we have called the police?
And said what?
Should we have reached out to some fantasy Attorney General Of Movieland?
That didn’t exist.

Not to mention, most of the victims chose not to speak out.
Aside from sharing the grimy details with a close girlfriend or confidante.
And if they discussed it with their representatives?
Agents and managers, who themselves feared The Wrath Of The Big Man?
The agents and managers would tell them to keep it to themselves.
Because who knew the repercussions?
That old saw “You’ll Never Work In This Town Again” came crawling back to putrid life like a re-animated cadaver in a late-night zombie flick.
But, yes, everyone knew someone who had been on the receiving end of lewd advances by him.
Or knew someone who knew someone.

A few actress friends of mine told me stories: of a ghastly hotel meeting; of a repugnant bathrobe-shucking; of a loathsome massage request.
And although they were rattled, they sort of laughed at his arrogance; how he had the temerity to think that simply the sight of his naked, doughy, carbuncled flesh was going to get them in the mood.
So I just believed it to be a grotesque display of power; a dude misreading the room and making a lame-if-vile pass.

It was much easier to believe that.
It was much easier for ALL of us to believe that.

Because…

And here’s where the slither meets the slime:
Harvey was showing us the best of times.
He was making our movies.
Throwing the biggest parties.
Taking us to The Golden Globes!
Introducing us to the most amazing people (Meetings with Vice President Gore! Clubbing with Quentin and Uma! Drinks with Salman Rushdie and Ralph Fiennes! Dinners with Mick Jagger and Warren-freaking-Beatty!).

The most epic Oscar weekends.
That seemed to last for weeks!
Sundance! Cannes! Toronto!
Telluride! Berlin! Venice!
Private jets! Stretch limousines! Springsteen shows!
Hell, Harvey once took me to St. Barth’s for Christmas.
For 12 days!
I was a broke-ass kid from Boston who had never even HEARD of St. Barth’s before he booked my travel.
He once got me tickets to the seven hottest Broadway shows in one week. So I could take a new girlfriend on a dazzling tour of theater.
He got me seats on the 40-yard-line to the Super Bowl, when the Patriots were playing the Packers in New Orleans.
Even got me a hotel room, which was impossible to get that weekend.
He gave and gave and gave and gave.
He had a monarch’s volcanic generosity when it came to those within his circle.
And a Mafia don’s fervent need for abject loyalty from his capos and soldiers.

But never mind us!
What about what he was doing for the culture?
Making stunningly splendid films at a time when everyone else was cranking-out simpering “INDEPENDENCE DAY” rip-offs.

It was glorious.
All of it.

So what if he was coming on a little strong to some young models who had moved mountains to get into one of his parties?
So what if he was exposing himself, in five-star hotel rooms, like a cartoon flasher out of “MAD MAGAZINE” (just swap robe for raincoat!)
Who were we to call foul?
Golden Geese don’t come along too often in one’s life.

Which goes back to my original point:
Everybody-fucking-knew.
But everybody was just having too good a time.
And doing remarkable work; making remarkable movies.

As the old joke goes:
We needed the eggs.

Okay, maybe we didn’t NEED them.
But we really, really, really, really LIKED them eggs.
So we were willing to overlook what the Golden Goose was up to, in the murky shadows behind the barn…

And for that, I am eternally sorry.
To all of the women that had to suffer this…
I am eternally sorry.
I’ve worked with Mira and Rosanna and Lysette.
I’ve known Rose and Ashley and Claire for years…
Their courage only hangs a lantern on my shame.
And I am eternally sorry to all those who suffered in silence all this time.
And have chosen to remain silent today.

I mostly lost touch with the brothers by the early 2000s.
For no specific reason.
Just that there were other jobs, other studios.
But a few months ago, Harvey called me, out of the blue.
To talk about the bygone days.
To talk about how great it would be to get some of the gang back together.
Make a movie.
He must have known then the noose was tightening.
There was a wistfulness to him that I had never heard before.
A melancholy.
It most assuredly had a walking-to-the-gallows feel.
When we hung up I wondered: “what was that all about?”
In a few short weeks I would know.
It was the condemned man simply wanting to comb some of the ruins of his old stomping grounds.
One last time.

So, yeah, I am sorry.
Sorry and ashamed.
Because, in the end, I was complicit.
I didn’t say shit.
I didn’t do shit.
Harvey was nothing but wonderful to me.
So I reaped the rewards and I kept my mouth shut.
And for that, once again, I am sorry.

But you should be sorry, too.
With all these victims speaking up…
To tell their tales.
Shouldn’t those who witnessed it from the sidelines do the same?
Instead of retreating to the cowardly, canopied confines of faux-outrage?
Doesn’t being a bystander bring with it the responsibility of telling the truth, however personally disgraceful it may be?

You know who [you] are.
You know that you knew.
And do you know how I know that you knew?

Because I was there with you.

And because everybody-fucking-knew.
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Re: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg On a Complicate

Postby admin » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:30 pm

Harvey Weinstein’s ex-assistant says he sexually harassed her for years
by Lia Eustachewich
October 23, 2017

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A former assistant to Harvey Weinstein who signed a non-disclosure agreement before accepting a monetary settlement from the movie mogul has decided enough is enough, breaking her silence about his sexual harassment of her.

Zelda Perkins was one of at least eight alleged victims to reach settlements and sign NDAs with Weinstein related to years of sexual harassment and abuse .

Perkins came forward Monday, telling the Financial Times that Weinstein’s sexual misconduct began the very first day she ended up alone with him while working out of Miramax’s London office.

“He went out of the room and came back in his underwear,” she recalled. “He asked me if I would give him a massage. Then he asked if he could massage me.”

She and a colleague split a roughly $330,000 settlement in October 1998 and signed agreements barring them from going public with their allegations.

“I want to publicly break my non-disclosure agreement,” said Perkins, who now works for the Robert Fox theater production company. “Unless somebody does this there won’t be a debate about how egregious these agreements are and the amount of duress that victims are put under.”

Perkins’ NDA included a donation to a woman’s charity and her demands that Weinstein undergo therapy “for as long as his therapist deems necessary.” Miramax said it would comply with that clause for three years.

The company also promised that it would appoint three “complaint handlers” to investigate any subsequent sexual harassment complaints.

If a complaint was filed against Weinstein within two years of Perkins’ contract and it resulted in either a settlement of either roughly $46,000 or six months’ salary, Miramax would report it to Disney, its then-owner, or fire Weinstein.


It’s unclear whether Miramax fully abided by the terms of Perkins’ NDA.

Perkins was subjected to years of sexual harassment by her boss.

Weinstein, she said, would often walk around the room naked and asked her to be in the room while he bathed.

“This was his behavior on every occasion I was alone with him,” Perkins said. “I often had to wake him up in the hotel in the mornings and he would try to pull me into bed.”

Perkins said her breaking point came after her colleague came forward “white as a sheet and shaking” with similar allegations while the crew was in Venice for a film festival from in September 1998.

“She told me something terrible had happened. She was in shock and crying and finding it very hard to talk. I was furious, deeply upset and very shocked. I said: ‘We need to go to the police’ but she was too distressed. Neither of us knew what to do in a foreign environment.”

Perkins said negotiating her NDA was “incredibly distressing” and that she was told it ultimately came down to his word against hers.

“I was very upset because the whole point was that we had to stop him by exposing his behavior,” she said. “I was warned that he and his lawyers would try to destroy my credibility if I went to court. They told me he would try to destroy me and my family.”

Perkins said part of the reason why she publicly came forward now — despite potential legal ramifications — is because NDAs should be “regulated in a fair way.”

“I want to call into question the legitimacy of agreements where the inequality of power is so stark and relies on money rather than morality,” she explained. “I want other women who have been sidelined and who aren’t being allowed to own their own history or their trauma to be able to discuss what they have suffered. I want them to see that the sky won’t fall in.”

She added, “My entire world fell in because I thought the law was there to protect those who abided by it. I discovered that it had nothing to do with right and wrong and everything to do with money and power.”
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Re: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg On a Complicate

Postby admin » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:47 pm

Heather Graham: Harvey Weinstein Implied I Had to Have Sex With Him for Movie Role
by Variety
October 10, 2017

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Following the publication on Tuesday morning of two more exposes detailing sexual assault and harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, actress Heather Graham recalls indirectly being propositioned by the studio mogul.

In the early 2000s Harvey Weinstein called me into his office. There was a pile of scripts sitting on his desk. “I want to put you in one of my movies,” he said and offered to let me choose which one I liked best. Later in the conversation, he mentioned that he had an agreement with his wife. He could sleep with whomever he wanted when he was out of town. I walked out of the meeting feeling uneasy. There was no explicit mention that to star in one of those films I had to sleep with him, but the subtext was there.

A few weeks later, I was asked to do a follow-up meeting at his hotel. I called one of my actress friends to explain my discomfort with the situation, and she offered to come with me. En route, she called me to say she couldn’t make it. Not wanting to be at the hotel alone with him, I made up an excuse — I had an early morning and would have to postpone. Harvey told me that my actress friend was already at his hotel and that both of them would be very disappointed if I didn’t show. I knew he was lying, so I politely and apologetically reiterated that I could no longer come by.

That was the end of that encounter — I was never hired for one of his films, and I didn’t speak up about my experience. It wasn’t until Ashley Judd heroically shared her story a few days ago that I felt ashamed. If I had spoken up a decade ago, would I have saved countless women from the same experience I had or worse?

The question — and this is not an excuse — is what defines sexual harassment in the workplace? He didn’t explicitly offer a trade — sex for work — even though I knew that was what he was implying. And I hadn’t gone to his hotel. I know this is an inner dialogue many women have — it’s part of what’s holding so many of us back from sharing our stories. We don’t want to be attacked for reading into something that may or may not have been there. We don’t want to be looked at as weak for not being able to handle ourselves in a business run by men. We don’t want to lose work by being defined as a Difficult Woman. We don’t want to be the first or only voice in the room.

My hope is that this moment starts a dialogue on redefining sexual harassment in the workplace and empowers women to speak out when they feel uncomfortable in a situation. I hope that dialogue covers the gray areas where we ask ourselves, “Did what I think happen just happen?” and that we are no longer shamed into feeling that we should grow a thicker skin, or that our story “isn’t good enough to count.” I’m glad the victims are being heard, that powerful voices in the industry are speaking up to say this kind of behavior isn’t acceptable anymore, and that a predator is finally facing the consequences — it means the world is starting to change for the better.

While I still do feel guilty for not speaking up all those years ago, I’m glad for this moment of reckoning. To the countless other women who have experienced the gray areas: I believe you.
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Re: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg On a Complicate

Postby admin » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:27 am

Asia Argento, More Models Detail Harvey Weinstein’s Italian Connection
by Stewart Clarke @varietystewart
Variety
October 15, 2017

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Harvey Weinstein Fabrizio Lombardo
CREDIT: BEI/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK


Actress-director Asia Argento, and models Samantha Panagrosso and Zoe Brock have come forward with new details heightening the scrutiny on Fabrizio Lombardo, the former head of a short-lived Miramax Italy unit, and who allegedly acted as a procurer of women for Harvey Weinstein.

Two of the three women Variety spoke to also claim they were sexually assaulted by Weinstein. Panagrosso, in the latest set of allegations against Weinstein, says she was groped by the Hollywood mogul in a hotel swimming pool in Cannes, and then assaulted in the cabin of a yacht during the 2003 film festival. Brock alleges she was tricked into going back to Weinstein’s hotel, and Argento alleges she was raped by Weinstein after being taken by Lombardo to Weinstein’s room, a claim he has denied.

Lombardo has denied Argento’s claims in a statement. Variety has reached out to his Italian lawyer for further comment.

In an interview with Variety, Argento reiterated her allegation shared on Twitter that during the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, Lombardo took her to Weinstein’s room at the Hotel du Cap. Argento alleged in the New Yorker last week that she was subsequently raped by Weinstein.

“Lombardo that evening came to pick me up at my hotel, which was the Hilton on the Croisette,” Argento told Variety. “And he picks me up and we drove with him, going towards this party at the du Cap.”

“And during this drive I remember [Lombardo] kind of touching my knee, not that he put his hand up my skirt, but thinking he had the license to touch my knee because I was wearing a short dress, which I found repulsive.

“Then he brought me to the room and when we were inside the room I said ‘what the heck, there’s no party, how come?’ and it was like ‘don’t worry everybody is coming, we arrived too early.’ And we sit there and I am kind of nervous, and we sit there and we’re chatting and they give me champagne, Harvey doesn’t drink I remember, and after a while Lombardo says ‘oh wow nobody is coming, let me go and check out where the other guests are.’ [It was a] f*****g lie because nobody came.”

Lombardo denied this accusation. “The insinuation that I accompanied Asia Argento to Mr. Weinstein’s suite in a well-known hotel is highly surprising and regrettable as it is both untrue and is clearly the fruit of a distant and distorted memory,” he said in a statement.

Argento says she remembers clearly. “How could I forget my rape, I remember every detail,” she said.

“With him maybe … he has brought hundreds of girls to Harvey’s room so he does not remember me, but I remember him,” she noted.

New Zealand model Brock also claims she was tricked into going back to Weinstein’s hotel room during the Cannes Film Festival in 1997.

She says Lombardo was in the car with her, Weinstein, and his assistant Rick Schwartz, as the group went back to the Hotel du Cap on the pretense of going to a party, before Lombardo left the room and Weinstein made unwelcome advances, after Schwartz too left. She has given her account in a detailed blog post.

She told Variety that Lombardo saw her one or two days later, said he had heard what happened, and offered his sympathies. His then-girlfriend Claudia Gerini then invited her back to Rome, where, Brock says, the couple tried to persuade her to join them in a threesome.

Panagrosso told Variety that she met Weinstein while staying on a friend’s yacht during the Cannes Film Festival in 2003 and he sat next to her at a dinner at which Weinstein made salacious comments and advances.

“The next day we had lunch at the Eden Roc hotel. I was in the pool after lunch and he came into the pool and started to grope me under the water, to my legs and stuff, and I said ‘you have to stop this is not ok.’”

She says she later refused a dinner invitation but Weinstein came into her cabin. “He pushed me on the bed, tried groping me and I tried to play it off because I thought he’s not going to do anything because my friends are on the boat. But it got very frustrating to get him out. It was like bargaining. When I said ‘no’ he said ‘maybe if I can’t massage you, will you massage me?’ When I said no to that he said ‘come on why are you being so difficult, all the [other] women are ok with it. I don’t see what you are making such a fuss about. Let me see your breasts at least.’”


In the interview Panagrosso said that Lombardo, who ran a Miramax outpost in Italy between 1999 and 2004, in truth “was not running anything.” She added: “He was just giving that title as a pretext.”

Panagrosso said she first intersected with Lombardo in the Milan fashion world where he was “someone who uses the girls from model agencies to bring them to dinners with powerful people.” She subsequently met him in Cannes “and I talked with him and said: ‘what are you doing?’ And he said: ‘I work for Harvey at the company in Europe.’”

“But honestly the guy was always with girls; bringing girls, I saw him [doing that] so many times.”


After Lombardo was hired in 1999 to open a Miramax office in Italy he soon became known at Miramax as The Talented Mr. Lombardo, according to several sources.

He had become a friend of Harvey Weinstein in the 1990s, he told the New York Times in a 2004 article which questioned Lombardo’s competency as a film business executive. He accompanied Weinstein to the Cannes Film Festival from 1995 and they also spent time together on St Bart’s, the Caribbean resort island, the Times said.

Argento, who as the daughter of prominent Italian horror film director, Dario Argento, has always been part of Italy’s film community, said she was first introduced to Lombardo as a producer, which she found surprising.

“What is funny is I had been working in cinema since I was nine and I know everybody in the Italian industry and I had never seen him before, and they said he’s an Italian producer. I was like ‘wow, I have never seen this guy around,’” she said.

As the Weinstein scandal started to unfold, Lombardo sent Argento two messages which he has told several outlets including The Guardian and Vanity Fair were sent by accident. One is a joke about Silvio Berlusconi wanting a 25-year-old escort, the other is an odd video titled “Have You Ever Been This Drunk?”

Argento told Variety she considers them a deliberate attempt to silence her.

“It was actually a threat to try and say to me I am a drunk and I am a whore,” she said. “And it put fuel in my fire, it gave me strength. How dare you, after what happened, try and scare me to say my reputation will go down, which is how Italy is describing me in the newspapers.”

Argento also underscored that she is being “slut-shamed” in the Italian press. “I am being shamed by the Italian media, which is medieval,” she said. She noted that “Until the ‘60s [in Italy] you could kill your wife and it was called murder of honor, if she had cheated.”


Italian transexual politician and TV host Vladimir Luxuria has tweeted that Argento “should have said ‘no’ to Weinstein” at the time when he allegedly raped her.

“Until 1996 rape was considered a crime against morals, not against a person” Argento said to underscore what she called “the Italian mentality” even today.

Vittorio Feltri, made similar comments during an appearance on the radio program La Zanzara on Radio 24, fixating on the fact that Argento allegedly received oral sex—una leccatina, “a little lick" ...

-- The Harvey Weinstein Scandal Is Playing Out Very Differently in the Italian Press, by Marissa Martinelli


Several sources have alleged to Variety that Lombardo procured women for Weinstein while employed by Miramax (which at the time was owned by Disney).

Lombardo, in his statement, is adamant that Miramax’s Italy operation, and his role in the business, was legitimate. During the three years in which Lombardo ran an Italy outpost for Miramax, the company was indeed quite active.

Martin Scorsese shot “Gangs of New York” at Rome’s Cinecitta studios and Miramax was also involved in the production of Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Malena” and Roberto Benigni’s “Pinocchio.” The company acquired Marco Tullio Giordana’s “The Best of Youth” and Gabriele Salvatores’ “I’m Not Scared.”

But according to several accounts of people who worked on those films in various capacities, Lombardo’s role on both the production and acquisition side was marginal. As an independent, Miramax films were released by other distributors in Italy and therefore the company didn’t need a full-fledged distribution base there.

By all accounts Lombardo did, however, act as an ambassador for Miramax in Italy’s film community. As reported by Variety at the time, Lombardo attended an Amfar gala at the 2001 Venice Film Festival where he purchased the highest priced item, a white gold, topaz and diamond necklace from event sponsor Bulgari, for $27,000.

He then credited Elizabeth Taylor, who chaired the evening, with inspiring him to up the bidding. “I told Liz Taylor if she gave me a kiss I’d go higher, and she did,” Variety reported that Lombardo said.
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Re: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg On a Complicate

Postby admin » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:37 am

Asia Argento ‘forced to flee Italy’ after Harvey Weinstein allegations
by Hollywood.com
October 27, 2017

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Actress Asia Argento has been forced to leave her native Italy after facing a backlash for accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.

The 42-year-old has temporarily moved to Berlin in Germany to escape the “climate of tension” in her homeland after she claimed the movie producer sexually assaulted her in a hotel room when she was 21.

She was one of the first women to speak out about Weinstein’s alleged bad behaviour following the first New York Times expose in early October (17), when she documented her reported attack at the hands of the 65-year-old in an interview with Ronan Farrow for the New Yorker magazine.

However, while many of her peers in the U.S. applauded her bravery for going public with her traumatic experience, she was heavily criticised by members of the Italian media for not coming forward sooner about the alleged assault, with newspaper editors at Libero publishing an opinion piece on Argento’s allegations with the headline: “First they give it away, then they whine and pretend to repent”.

Journalist Mario Adinolfi also claimed the actress was attempting to “justify high-society prostitution” in a tweet posted while Argento was giving an interview on Italian TV about the assault accusations, and politician and art critic Vittorio Sgarbi remarked, “I have the feeling that he (Weinstein) was actually assaulted by her.”


In an interview with Rai 3’s Cartabianca TV show, Argento explained she had fled to Germany to escape Italy’s oppressive standpoint on women as a result of the victim-shaming.

“Italy is far behind the rest of the world in its view of women,” she said. “I don’t see what I can do there (in Italy) – I’ll come back when things improve to fight alongside all the other women… I didn’t have to courage to speak until now because you see what happened, 20 years after the attack (sic)?”

After the news of Argento’s relocation broke, Rose McGowan, another alleged victim of Weinstein’s, tweeted her support for the Italian actress, and slammed her critics.

“Goddamn you monsters in Italy. Goddamn you HW (Harvey Weinstein). Goddamn you who knew and did nothing,” she wrote on Twitter.

Jessica Chastain also took to the microblogging site to tell fans she was “disturbed” by the victim-blaming, insisting Argento should be “acknowledged for starting this conversation & removing Harvey from power”.

Weinstein was initially fired from his job as chief of The Weinstein Company, the production firm he co-founded, following the original New York Times expose, and officially resigned from the role on 17 October (17), before his termination was made official.
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Re: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg On a Complicate

Postby admin » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:41 am

Rose McGowan: ‘I will not be silenced anymore’
Hollywood.com
October 27, 2017

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Rose McGowan has vowed to continue fighting against sexual harassment and abuse in her first public appearance since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke earlier this month (Oct17).

The former Charmed actress is one of many stars who have accused the Hollywood producer of sexual assault, following the publication of an expose in The New York Times.

And on Friday (27Oct17), the actress took the stage at The Women’s Convention in Detroit, Michigan to give a rousing speech about her alleged experiences.

“I have been silenced for 20 years,” she said. “I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I have been maligned and you know what? I’m just like you. Because what happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in society and it cannot stand and it will not stand.”

“It’s time to rise,” she added. “It’s time to be brave in the face of unspeakable actions. From one monster we lock away to another.”

The actress urged audience members to be diligent about speaking out about their own experiences.

“Name it. Shame it. Call it out. Join me,” she continued. “Join all of us as we amplify each other’s voices.”

And she called on women in Hollywood to take on more leadership positions.

“We are given one view,” she said. “I know the men behind the view and they should not be in your mind and they should not be in mine. It’s time to clean the house… We will not go away. I am brave and I am you.”

In the New York Times expose, it was reported that the 44-year-old had reached a settlement with Weinstein when she was 23, over “an episode in a hotel room” at a film festival.

She publicly alleged he had raped her on Twitter earlier this month. Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

Rose was set to receive the Ad Astra Award at the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, Arkansas earlier this month (Oct17), but she cancelled her appearance due to “compounding factors surrounding recent revelations in the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment case”.
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Re: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg On a Complicate

Postby admin » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:49 am

Weighing the Costs of Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein: Annabella Sciorra, Daryl Hannah, and other women explain their struggles with going public.
by Ronan Farrow
The New Yorker
October 27, 2017

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For decades, the actress Annabella Sciorra was silent about her alleged rape by Harvey Weinstein.
Photograph by Isabel Magowan for The New Yorker


In March, Annabella Sciorra, who received an Emmy nomination for her role in “The Sopranos,” agreed to talk with me for a story I was reporting about Harvey Weinstein. Speaking by phone, I explained that two sources had told me that she had a serious allegation regarding the producer. Sciorra, however, told me that Weinstein had never done anything inappropriate. Perhaps she just wasn’t his type, she said, with an air of what seemed to be studied nonchalance. But, two weeks ago, after The New Yorker published the story, in which thirteen women accused Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment, Sciorra called me. The truth, she said, was that she had been struggling to speak about Weinstein for more than twenty years. She was still living in fear of him, and slept with a baseball bat by her bed. Weinstein, she told me, had violently raped her in the early nineteen-nineties, and, over the next several years, sexually harassed her repeatedly.

“I was so scared. I was looking out the window of my living room, and I faced the water of the East River,” she said, recalling our initial conversation. “I really wanted to tell you. I was like, ‘This is the moment you’ve been waiting for your whole life. . . .’” she said. “I really, really panicked,” she added. “I was shaking. And I just wanted to get off the phone.”

All told, more than fifty women have now levelled accusations against Weinstein, in accounts published by the New York Times, The New Yorker, and other outlets. But many other victims have continued to be reluctant to talk to me about their experiences, declining interview requests or initially agreeing to talk and then wavering. As more women have come forward, the costs of doing so have certainly shifted. But many still say that they face overwhelming pressures to stay silent, ranging from the spectre of career damage to fears about the life-altering consequences of being marked as sexual-assault victims. “Now when I go to a restaurant or to an event, people are going to know that this happened to me,” Sciorra said. “They’re gonna look at me and they’re gonna know. I’m an intensely private person, and this is the most unprivate thing you can do.”

The actress Daryl Hannah told me this week about two incidents that occurred, during the early aughts, in which Weinstein pounded on her hotel-room door until she, in one case, escaped out a back entrance. When it happened again the following day, she barricaded herself in her room using furniture. Another time, Weinstein asked her if he could touch her breasts. She believes that, after she refused, Weinstein retaliated against her professionally. “I am a private person, with a rule of speaking to the press only for professional reasons,” she told me. Hannah said that she had decided to speak publicly about her experiences for the first time, more than a decade after they occurred, because “I feel a moral obligation to support the women who have suffered much more egregious transgressions.” She, like many women who have come forward, still had doubts about the trade-offs she would have to make for speaking openly. “It’s one of those things your body has to adjust to. You get dragged into the gutter of nastiness and pettiness and shame and all of these things, and it sometimes seems healthier and wiser to just move on with your life and not allow yourself to be re-victimized.”

A woman who appeared anonymously in my previous article, alleging that Weinstein raped her while she worked for him, and who has chosen to remain nameless, told me that she has yet to tell even people close to her about the full extent of her allegation. “I want to be braver. I really do,” she told me. “I want to be able to put my name to this and talk through what happened, but I am surrounded by people who, the first thing they’ll do is read this article, and I’ll be working three desks from them, and they’ll know details of my life I haven’t even told my family.” For many women, this was the most difficult decision of their lives. Sciorra, too, still has doubts. “Even now, as I tell you, and have had all these women around saying it’s O.K.,” Sciorra told me, “I'm petrified again.”

Sallie Hofmeister, a spokesperson for Weinstein, issued a statement in response to the allegations by Sciorra and Hannah. “Mr. Weinstein unequivocally denies any allegations of non-consensual sex,” she said.

Sciorra first met Weinstein in the early nineties, when she was an emerging star after appearing in films such as “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.” Her agent introduced them at an industry party in Los Angeles. Weinstein was friendly, she said, and gave her a ride home; they talked about their shared love of film. Several months later, when her friend Warren Leight was trying to get a romantic-comedy screenplay he’d written made, Sciorra called Weinstein about it. Weinstein said that he wanted to make the film, which was called “The Night We Never Met,” and to start filming with Sciorra in a leading role. He wanted her to start work immediately after she finished two back-to-back shoots she already had planned for that summer. “I said, ‘Harvey, I cannot do this right now. I need some time,’” she recalled. “That’s the first time he threatened to sue me.” (Sources close to Weinstein deny that he threatened to sue Sciorra.)

After Sciorra finished making “The Night We Never Met,” she said that she became ensconced in “this circle of Miramax,” referring to Weinstein’s studio, which was then gaining an increasingly dominant role in the industry. There were so many screenings and events and dinners, Sciorra said, that it was hard to imagine life outside of the Weinstein ecosystem. At one dinner, in New York, she recalled, “Harvey was there, and I got up to leave. And Harvey said, ‘Oh, I'll drop you off.’ Harvey had dropped me off before, so I didn’t really expect anything out of the ordinary—I expected just to be dropped off.” In the car, Weinstein said goodbye to Sciorra, and she went upstairs to her apartment. She was alone and getting ready for bed a few minutes later when she heard a knock on the door. “It wasn’t that late,” she said. “Like, it wasn’t the middle of the night, so I opened the door a crack to see who it was. And he pushed the door open.” She paused to collect herself. Weinstein, she continued, “walked in like it was his apartment, like he owned the place, and started unbuttoning his shirt. So it was very clear where he thought this was going to go. And I was in a nightgown. I didn’t have much on.” He circled the apartment; to Sciorra, it appeared that he was checking whether anyone else was there.

Sciorra told me that listening to a recording from 2015 that The New Yorker released earlier this month, in which Weinstein is heard demanding that a model enter his hotel room, “really triggered me.” Sciorra remembered Weinstein employing the same tactics as he cornered her, backing her into her bedroom. “Come here, come on, cut it out, what are you doing, come here,” she remembered him saying. She tried to be assertive. “This is not happening,” she told him. “You’ve got to go. You have to leave. Get out of my apartment.”

Then Weinstein grabbed her, she said. “He shoved me onto the bed, and he got on top of me.” Sciorra struggled. “I kicked and I yelled,” she said, but Weinstein locked her arms over her head with one hand and forced sexual intercourse on her. “When he was done, he ejaculated on my leg, and on my nightgown.” It was a family heirloom, handed down from relatives in Italy and embroidered in white cotton. “He said, ‘I have impeccable timing,’ and then he said, ‘This is for you.’” Sciorra paused. “And then he attempted to perform oral sex on me. And I struggled, but I had very little strength left in me.” Sciorra said that her body started to shake violently. “I think, in a way, that’s what made him leave, because it looked like I was having a seizure or something.”

In the weeks and months that followed the alleged attack, Sciorra didn’t tell anyone about it. “Like most of these women, I was so ashamed of what happened,” she said. “And I fought. I fought. But still I was like, Why did I open that door? Who opens the door at that time of night? I was definitely embarrassed by it. I felt disgusting. I felt like I had fucked up.” She grew depressed and lost weight. Her father, unaware of the attack but concerned for her well-being, urged her to seek help, and she did see a therapist, but, she said, “I don’t even think I told the therapist. It’s pathetic.”


Sciorra never spoke to the police. Neither did the anonymous woman who alleged rape in the earlier New Yorker article, although two others did. The anonymous woman said that, although “I regret not being maybe stronger in the moment,” her fears that charging Weinstein publicly might change her life permanently were too great. “It’s hard to know. . . . It’s like choosing a different life path.”

Some of the obstacles that Sciorra and other women believed they faced were related to Weinstein’s power in the film industry. Sciorra said that she felt the impact on her livelihood almost immediately. “From 1992, I didn’t work again until 1995,” she said. “I just kept getting this pushback of ‘We heard you were difficult; we heard this or that.’ I think that that was the Harvey machine.” The actress Rosie Perez, a friend who was among the first to discuss Sciorra’s allegations with her, told me, “She was riding high, and then she started acting weird and getting reclusive. It made no sense. Why did this woman, who was so talented, and riding so high, doing hit after hit, then all of a sudden fall off the map? It hurts me as a fellow-actress to see her career not flourish the way it should have.”

Several years later, Sciorra did begin working again. Weinstein again pursued her with unwanted sexual advances, she said. In 1995, she was in London shooting “The Innocent Sleep,” which Weinstein did not produce. According to Sciorra, Weinstein began leaving her messages, demanding that she call him or that they meet at his hotel. “I don’t know how he found me,” she said. “I’d come home from work and there’d be a message that Harvey Weinstein had called. This went on and on.” He sent cars to her hotel to bring her to him, which she ignored. One night, he showed up at her room and began pounding on the door, she said. “For nights after, I couldn't sleep. I piled furniture in front of the door, like in the movies.” Finally, she pleaded with Matthew Vaughn, then a twenty-two-year-old producer on the film, and more recently a prominent director, to move her secretly to a different hotel. (Vaughn said that he recalled booking her a room elsewhere.)

Two years later, Sciorra appeared in the crime drama “Cop Land” as Liz Randone, the wife of a corrupt police officer. She said that she auditioned for the part without realizing at first that it was a Miramax film, and she learned that Weinstein’s company was involved only when she began contract negotiations. (A person close to Weinstein contested this, saying that the script had the studio’s name on it.) In May, 1997, shortly before the film’s release, she went to the Cannes Film Festival. When she checked into the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, in Antibes, France, a Miramax associate told her that Weinstein’s room would be next to hers. “My heart just sank,” Sciorra recalled. Early one morning, while she was still asleep, there was a knock on the door. Groggy, and thinking she must have forgotten about an early hair-and-makeup call, she opened the door. “There’s Harvey in his underwear, holding a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a tape, a movie, in the other,” she recalled. “And it was horrific, because I'd been there before.” Sciorra said that she ran from Weinstein. “He was closing in really quickly, and I pressed all the call buttons for valet service and room service. I kept pressing all of them until someone showed up.” Weinstein retreated, she said, when hotel staff arrived.

Over time, Sciorra opened up to a small number of people. Perez said that she heard from an acquaintance about Weinstein’s behavior at the hotel in London and questioned Sciorra about what happened. Sciorra told Perez about the attack in her apartment, and Perez, who was sexually assaulted by a relative during her childhood, began crying. “I said, ‘Oh, Annabella, you’ve gotta go to the police.’ She said, ‘I can’t go to the police. He’s destroying my career.’”

Unlike Sciorra, Daryl Hannah, who is known for her roles in “Splash,” “Wall Street,” and many other films, told colleagues about what had happened to her. “I did tell people about it,” she told me. “And it didn’t matter.” Hannah first met Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival, in the early aughts, before she appeared in “Kill Bill: Volume 1,” which Weinstein produced. She was returning to her room at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, the same hotel where Sciorra said Weinstein harassed her. She saw Weinstein, who was at a reception in the hotel bar nearby. He called her over, and told her that he loved her work. Then he asked for her room number so that he could call her to schedule a meeting.

“That seemed pretty normal to me, you know, how people talk in business, and I didn’t know his reputation or anything,” Hannah said. She was in her room, already in her pajamas and getting ready for bed, when the phone calls started. “It felt like it was too late to have a meeting. I didn’t want to answer.” Though she didn’t pick up, she guessed that it was Weinstein. “And then, shortly thereafter, the knocking on the door began,” she told me. “It was sort of incessant, and then it started turning into pounding on my door,” she said. She was certain that it was Weinstein—as she recalls, she saw him through the peephole in the door. The pounding became so frightening that Hannah, who was staying on the ground floor, left her room via an exterior door. She spent the night in her makeup artist’s room. The following evening, Hannah was in her room with the makeup artist, packing her things ahead of their departure the next morning, when the pounding on the door began again. “The knocking started again and again. And I was like, ‘Oh, shit,’” Hannah recalled. “We actually pushed a dresser in front of the door and just kind of huddled in the room.” The next morning, as they left, Weinstein was standing outside the hotel, and appeared, she felt, to be waiting for her. She left quickly and went to the airport.

Several years later, while she was promoting “Kill Bill: Volume 2,” Hannah was in Rome for the film’s Italian première. She and the rest of the cast were scheduled to depart the following morning on a private plane belonging to Miramax. The première was followed by a reception, after which Hannah was in her suite at the Hassler Roma hotel with another hair-and-makeup artist, Steeve Daviault. The two had changed into their pajamas and were sitting on Hannah’s bed with an order of room-service spaghetti, watching a Sophia Loren movie, when Weinstein entered the bedroom. “He had a key,” Hannah recalled. “He came through the living room and into the bedroom. He just burst in like a raging bull. And I know with every fibre of my being that if my male makeup artist was not in that room, things would not have gone well. It was scary.” Daviault remembered the incident vividly. “I was there to keep her safe,” he told me.

When Hannah asked Weinstein what he was doing, he became flustered and angry, she said. Weinstein demanded that she get dressed and attend a party downstairs. Hannah pointed out that no one had ever mentioned a party. Weinstein stormed out, and she quickly took off her glasses and pajamas, donned a dress, and headed downstairs. When she arrived at the reception room Weinstein had mentioned, it was “completely empty,” Hannah recalled. “And it wasn’t even like there had been a party there. I didn’t see drinks around.” As she turned to leave, Weinstein was standing by the elevator. Hannah asked him what was happening and Weinstein replied, “Are your tits real?” Then he asked if he could feel them. “I said, ‘No, you can’t!’ And then he said, ‘At least flash me, then.’ And I said, ‘Fuck off, Harvey.’” She took the elevator back to her room and went to sleep.

“I experienced instant repercussions,” she told me. The next morning, the Miramax private plane left without Hannah on it. Her flights for a trip to Cannes for the film’s French première were cancelled, as were her hotel room in Cannes and her hair-and-makeup artist for the festival. “I called everybody,” she recalled, including her manager, a producer on the film, and its director, Quentin Tarantino, who has since told the Times that he knew enough, from his years collaborating with Weinstein, to have done more to stop him, and regrets his failure to do so. “I called all the powers that be and told them what had happened,” Hannah said. “And that I thought that was the repercussion, you know, the backlash from my experience.”

“And it didn’t matter,” Hannah said. “I think that it doesn’t matter if you’re a well-known actress, it doesn’t matter if you’re twenty or if you’re forty, it doesn’t matter if you report or if you don’t, because we are not believed. We are more than not believed—we are berated and criticized and blamed.”


Other women told me that Hannah’s fear of retaliation was well-founded. The actress Ellen Barkin told me that, though she was never a victim of Weinstein’s sexual advances, he frequently verbally abused her, calling her a “cunt” and “cunt bitch” during the filming of “Into the West,” which he produced. “The repercussions are real,” she said. “I was terrified Harvey was going to make it impossible to go back to work, with those tentacles of his.” She continued, “This fear of losing your career is not losing your ticket to a borrowed dress and earrings someone paid you to wear. It’s losing your ability to support yourself, to support your family, and this is fucking real whether you are the biggest movie star or the lowest-pay-grade assistant.”

Many of the women with allegations about Weinstein told me that the forces that kept them quiet continue to this day. Beginning in the early months of this year, Weinstein and his associates began calling women to determine who had spoken to the press. Three women who received those calls said that they were pressed for details about their communications with reporters. The calls nearly silenced them. In addition, Sciorra and several other individuals connected to the story received calls from a man they believed was working for Weinstein and posing as a journalist, who offered few details about himself and did not name any publication he was working for. “He said he was doing a piece about how movies have changed in the last thirty years, and I was like, ‘You fucker.’”

Sciorra and others said that Weinstein has a reputation for using the press to smear and intimidate people he sees as threats. “I’ve known now for a long time how powerful Harvey became, and how he owned a lot of journalists and gossip columnists,” Sciorra told me. Three sources with knowledge of the activities of Miramax Books corroborated some of Sciorra’s suspicions, saying that Weinstein would offer book deals to gossip columnists. The implication, the sources felt, was that he was trying to influence them. Weinstein’s reputation for manipulating the media created an atmosphere of paranoia. During one of our conversations, Sciorra said to me, “As I was talking to you, I got scared that it wasn’t really you.”

The power of the tabloid press to help silence women has been underscored in recent weeks. While there has been an enormous outpouring of support for those who have spoken out against Weinstein, there has also been a backlash. Asia Argento, an Italian actress who alleged, in the earlier New Yorker story, that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her, and also described, in all its nuance, their ensuing relationship, which included consensual sex, told me that, when she decided to speak, she was knowingly sacrificing her reputation. “This will completely destroy me,” she predicted.

Since her story was made public, she has fled her native Italy, following public shaming there. The journalist Renato Farina wrote an article about her in the conservative daily Libero, titled “First they give it away, then they whine and pretend to repent.” In a radio interview, the paper’s editor, Vittorio Feltri, said that Argento should be thankful that Weinstein had forced oral sex on her.
Some women joined the chorus, including the commentator Selvaggia Lucarelli. She suggested that it was not “legitimate” to raise an allegation twenty years after the fact.

“I knew, when I spoke up, that things would be difficult. That there would be some who would doubt me, mock me, even malign me. I knew this,” Argento told me this week. “But I was unprepared for the naked contempt, the unapologetically hateful public shaming and vilification I received in my own country. Much of it from women. Women! . . . It hurt me. Badly.”

Sciorra said that the attacks on Argento and other accusers reinforced her fears about speaking out, but they also finally made her believe that she had no choice but to do so. “The way they’re treating Asia, and the way they’re treating a lot of women, is so infuriating,” she said. The attempts to downplay the significance of Argento’s allegations made her realize the importance of her own story. “O.K., you want rape?” she said, addressing those commentators who questioned whether Argento’s experience qualified. “Here’s fucking rape.”

Virtually all the women I talked to who were struggling with whether to speak publicly said that advice from friends, loved ones, and colleagues was a deciding factor. Sciorra was one of several who told me that those they had consulted urged them to stay quiet. “I spoke with two people in the business who I’ve known for a while, and they were very clearly against me saying anything,” she told me. “And they were people I always really trusted and I respect. And they felt that no good could come out of it. Immediately, the response was ‘Stay as far away from this as possible.’”

Rosie Perez said that she urged Sciorra to speak by describing her own experience of going public about her assault. “I told her, ‘I used to tread water for years. It’s fucking exhausting, and maybe speaking out, that’s your lifeboat. Grab on and get out,’” Perez recalled. “I said, ‘Honey, the water never goes away. But, after I went public, it became a puddle and I built a bridge over it, and one day you’re gonna get there, too.’”

Harvey Weinstein, Caught on Tape



[Harvey Weinstein] I’m telling you right now, get in here.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] What do we have to do here?
[Harvey Weinstein] Nothing! I’m gonna take a shower, you sit there and have a drink. Water
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I don’t drink.
[Harvey Weinstein] Then have a glass of water.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] Can I stay on the bar?
[Harvey Weinstein] No. You must come here now.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No …
[Harvey Weinstein] Please?
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, I don’t want to.
[Harvey Weinstein] I’m not doing anything with you, I promise.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I know, I don’t want to.
[Harvey Weinstein] Now you’re embarrassing me.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I’m sorry, I cannot.
[Harvey Weinstein] No, come in here.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, yesterday was kind of aggressive for me.
[Harvey Weinstein] I know --
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I need to know a person to be touched.
[Harvey Weinstein] I won’t do a thing.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I don’t want to be touched.
[Harvey Weinstein] I won’t do a thing, please. I swear I won’t, just sit with me. Don’t embarrass me in the hotel, I’m here all the time.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I know, but I don’t want to.
[Harvey Weinstein] Sit with me, I promise – Please sit there. Please. One minute, I ask you.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, I can’t.
[Harvey Weinstein] Go to the bathroom.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] Please, I don’t want to do something I don’t want to do.
[Harvey Weinstein] Go to the bath – Hey, come here. Listen to me.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I want to go downstairs.
[Harvey Weinstein] I’m not gonna do anything. You’ll never see me again after this. OK? That’s it. If you don’t – if you embarrass me in this hotel where I’m staying at --
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I’m not embarrassing you. It’s just that I don’t,
[Harvey Weinstein] Just walk --
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I don’t feel comfortable.
[Harvey Weinstein] Honey, don’t have a fight with me in the hallway.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] It’s not nothing, it’s --
[Harvey Weinstein] Please, I am not gonna do anything, I swear on my children. Please come in. On everything, I’m a famous guy.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I’m, I’m feeling very uncomfortable right now.
[Harvey Weinstein] Please come in. Please come in now. And one minute. And if you wanna leave, when the guy comes with my jacket you can go.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] Why yesterday you touch my breast?
[Harvey Weinstein] Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in, I’m used to that. Come on. Please.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] You’re used to that?
[Harvey Weinstein] Yes, come in.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, but I’m not used to that.
[Harvey Weinstein] I won’t do it again, come on, sit here. Sit here for a minute, please?
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, I don’t want to.
[Harvey Weinstein] If you do this now you will embarrass me. Now go. Bye. Never call me again. OK? I’m sorry, nice to have – I promise you I won’t do anything
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I know, but yesterday was too much for me.
[Harvey Weinstein] The guy is coming. I will never do another thing to you. Five minutes. Don’t ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I know – but, it’s kind of like, it’s too much for me, I can’t.
[Harvey Weinstein] Please, you’re making a big scene here, please.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, but I wanna leave.
[Harvey Weinstein] OK, bye. Thank you.


Ronan Farrow, a television and print reporter, is the author of the upcoming book “War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence.”
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Re: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg On a Complicate

Postby admin » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:28 am

From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories
Multiple women share harrowing accounts of sexual assault and harassment by the film executive.

by Ronan Farrow
October 23, 2017

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image
In the course of a ten-month investigation, thirteen women interviewed said that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them.
Illustration by Oliver Munday; source photograph by Raymond Hall / GC Images via Getty


This story was first published on newyorker.com on October 10, 2017, at 10:47 A.M. The version below appears in the October 23, 2017, issue.

1.

Since the establishment of the first studios, a century ago, there have been few movie executives as dominant, or as domineering, as Harvey Weinstein. He co-founded the production-and-distribution companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company, helping to reinvent the model for independent films with movies including “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “The Crying Game,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The King’s Speech.” Beyond Hollywood, he has exercised his influence as a prolific fund-raiser for Democratic Party candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Weinstein combined a keen eye for promising scripts, directors, and actors with a bullying, even threatening, style of doing business, inspiring both fear and gratitude. His movies have earned more than three hundred Oscar nominations, and, at the annual awards ceremonies, he has been thanked more than almost anyone else in movie history, ranking just after Steven Spielberg and right before God.

For more than twenty years, Weinstein, who is now sixty-five, has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault. His behavior has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence. Too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, payoffs, and legal threats to suppress their accounts. Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director, said that she did not speak out until now—Weinstein, she told me, forcibly performed oral sex on her—because she feared that Weinstein would “crush” her. “I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento said. “That’s why this story—in my case, it’s twenty years old, some of them are older—has never come out.”

On October 5th, the New York Times, in a powerful report by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, revealed multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein, an article that led to the resignation of four members of the Weinstein Company’s all-male board, and to Weinstein’s firing.

The story, however, is complex, and there is more to know and to understand. In the course of a ten-month investigation, I was told by thirteen women that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them. Their allegations corroborate and overlap with the Times’s revelations, and also include far more serious claims.

Three of the women—among them Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans—told me that Weinstein had raped them, forcibly performing or receiving oral sex or forcing vaginal sex. Four women said that they had experienced unwanted touching that could be classified as an assault. In an audio recording captured during a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015, Weinstein admits to groping a Filipina-Italian model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, describing it as behavior he is “used to.” Four of the women I interviewed cited encounters in which Weinstein exposed himself or masturbated in front of them.

Weinstein admits to groping a woman, in a recording secretly captured during an N.Y.P.D. sting operation.

Harvey Weinstein, Caught on Tape



[Harvey Weinstein] I’m telling you right now, get in here.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] What do we have to do here?
[Harvey Weinstein] Nothing! I’m gonna take a shower, you sit there and have a drink. Water
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I don’t drink.
[Harvey Weinstein] Then have a glass of water.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] Can I stay on the bar?
[Harvey Weinstein] No. You must come here now.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No …
[Harvey Weinstein] Please?
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, I don’t want to.
[Harvey Weinstein] I’m not doing anything with you, I promise.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I know, I don’t want to.
[Harvey Weinstein] Now you’re embarrassing me.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I’m sorry, I cannot.
[Harvey Weinstein] No, come in here.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, yesterday was kind of aggressive for me.
[Harvey Weinstein] I know --
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I need to know a person to be touched.
[Harvey Weinstein] I won’t do a thing.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I don’t want to be touched.
[Harvey Weinstein] I won’t do a thing, please. I swear I won’t, just sit with me. Don’t embarrass me in the hotel, I’m here all the time.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I know, but I don’t want to.
[Harvey Weinstein] Sit with me, I promise – Please sit there. Please. One minute, I ask you.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, I can’t.
[Harvey Weinstein] Go to the bathroom.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] Please, I don’t want to do something I don’t want to do.
[Harvey Weinstein] Go to the bath – Hey, come here. Listen to me.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I want to go downstairs.
[Harvey Weinstein] I’m not gonna do anything. You’ll never see me again after this. OK? That’s it. If you don’t – if you embarrass me in this hotel where I’m staying at --
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I’m not embarrassing you. It’s just that I don’t,
[Harvey Weinstein] Just walk --
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I don’t feel comfortable.
[Harvey Weinstein] Honey, don’t have a fight with me in the hallway.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] It’s not nothing, it’s --
[Harvey Weinstein] Please, I am not gonna do anything, I swear on my children. Please come in. On everything, I’m a famous guy.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I’m, I’m feeling very uncomfortable right now.
[Harvey Weinstein] Please come in. Please come in now. And one minute. And if you wanna leave, when the guy comes with my jacket you can go.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] Why yesterday you touch my breast?
[Harvey Weinstein] Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in, I’m used to that. Come on. Please.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] You’re used to that?
[Harvey Weinstein] Yes, come in.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, but I’m not used to that.
[Harvey Weinstein] I won’t do it again, come on, sit here. Sit here for a minute, please?
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, I don’t want to.
[Harvey Weinstein] If you do this now you will embarrass me. Now go. Bye. Never call me again. OK? I’m sorry, nice to have – I promise you I won’t do anything
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I know, but yesterday was too much for me.
[Harvey Weinstein] The guy is coming. I will never do another thing to you. Five minutes. Don’t ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] I know – but, it’s kind of like, it’s too much for me, I can’t.
[Harvey Weinstein] Please, you’re making a big scene here, please.
[Ambra Battilana Gutierrez] No, but I wanna leave.
[Harvey Weinstein] OK, bye. Thank you.


Sixteen former and current executives and assistants at Weinstein’s companies told me that they witnessed or had knowledge of unwanted sexual advances and touching at events associated with Weinstein’s films and in the workplace. They and others described a pattern of professional meetings that were little more than thin pretexts for sexual advances on young actresses and models. All sixteen said that the behavior was widely known within both Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Messages sent by Irwin Reiter, a senior company executive, to Emily Nestor, one of the women who alleged that she was harassed, described the “mistreatment of women” as a serial problem that the Weinstein Company had been struggling with in recent years. Other employees described what was, in essence, a culture of complicity at Weinstein’s places of business, with numerous people throughout his companies fully aware of his behavior but either abetting it or looking the other way. Some employees said that they were enlisted in a subterfuge to make the victims feel safe. A female executive with the company described how Weinstein’s assistants and others served as a “honeypot”—they would initially join a meeting along with a woman Weinstein was interested in, but then Weinstein would dismiss them, leaving him alone with the woman. (On October 10th, the Weinstein Company’s board issued a statement, writing that “these allegations come as an utter surprise to the Board. Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false.”)

Virtually all of the people I spoke with told me that they were frightened of retaliation. “If Harvey were to discover my identity, I’m worried that he could ruin my life,” one former employee told me. Many said that they had seen Weinstein’s associates confront and intimidate those who crossed him, and feared that they would be similarly targeted. Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein’s advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them. Multiple sources said that Weinstein frequently bragged about planting items in media outlets about those who spoke against him; these sources feared similar retribution. Several pointed to Gutierrez’s case: after she went to the police, negative items discussing her sexual history and impugning her credibility began rapidly appearing in New York gossip pages. (In the taped conversation, part of which The New Yorker posted online, Weinstein asks Gutierrez to join him for “five minutes,” and warns, “Don’t ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.”)

Several former employees told me that they were speaking about Weinstein’s alleged behavior now because they hoped to protect women in the future. “This wasn’t a one-off. This wasn’t a period of time,” an executive who worked for Weinstein for many years told me. “This was ongoing predatory behavior toward women—whether they consented or not.”

It’s likely that the women who spoke to me have recently felt increasingly emboldened to talk about their experiences because of the way the world has changed regarding issues of sex and power. Their disclosures follow in the wake of stories alleging sexual misconduct by public figures, including Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, and Bill Cosby. In October, 2016, a month before the election, a tape emerged of Trump telling a celebrity-news reporter, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. . . . Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” This past April, O’Reilly, a host at Fox News, was forced to resign after Fox was discovered to have paid five women millions of dollars in exchange for silence about their accusations of sexual harassment. Ailes, the former head of Fox News, resigned in July, 2016, after he was accused of sexual harassment.

Megyn Kelly said the late Roger Ailes locked his office door at Fox once and "It culminated in him trying to be with me physically, and it was only at that point where you couldn't pretend it wasn't happening anymore that I really had to come to terms with it. And I ran out of the guy's office; he tried to grab me three times and make out with me."

-- Why Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple Should be Broken Up, by James Warren


Cosby went on trial this summer, charged with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman. The trial ended with a hung jury.

In the Times piece, Weinstein made an initial effort at damage control by partly acknowledging what he had done, saying, “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.” In an interview with the New York Post, he said, “I’ve got to deal with my personality, I’ve got to work on my temper, I have got to dig deep. I know a lot of people would like me to go into a facility, and I may well just do that—I will go anywhere I can learn more about myself.” He went on, “In the past I used to compliment people, and some took it as me being sexual, I won’t do that again.” In his written statement to the Times, Weinstein claimed that he would “channel that anger” into a fight against the leadership of the National Rifle Association. He also said that it was not “coincidental” that he was organizing a foundation for women directors at the University of Southern California. “It will be named after my mom and I won’t disappoint her.” (U.S.C. has since rejected his funding pledge.)

Sallie Hofmeister, a spokesperson for Weinstein, issued a new statement in response to the allegations detailed here. It reads in full: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”

While Weinstein and his representatives have said that the incidents were consensual, and were not widespread or severe, the women I spoke to tell a very different story.

2.

Lucia Stoller, now Lucia Evans, was approached by Weinstein at Cipriani Upstairs, a club in New York, in 2004, the summer before her senior year at Middlebury College. Evans, who is now a marketing consultant, wanted to be an actress, and although she had heard rumors about Weinstein she let him have her number. Weinstein began calling her late at night, or having an assistant call her, asking to meet. She declined, but said that she would do readings during the day for a casting executive. Before long, an assistant called to set up a daytime meeting at the Miramax office in Tribeca, first with Weinstein and then with a casting executive, who was a woman. “I was, like, Oh, a woman, great, I feel safe,” Evans said.

When Evans arrived for the meeting, the building was full of people. She was led to an office with exercise equipment in it, and takeout boxes on the floor. Weinstein was there, alone. Evans said that she found him frightening. “The type of control he exerted—it was very real,” she told me. “Even just his presence was intimidating.”

In the meeting, Evans recalled, “he immediately was simultaneously flattering me and demeaning me and making me feel bad about myself.” Weinstein told her that she’d “be great in ‘Project Runway’”—the show, which Weinstein helped produce, premièred later that year—but only if she lost weight. He also told her about two scripts, a horror movie and a teen love story, and said one of his associates would discuss them with her.

“At that point, after that, is when he assaulted me,” Evans said. “He forced me to perform oral sex on him.” As she objected, Weinstein took his penis out of his pants and pulled her head down onto it. “I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,’” she recalled. “I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him.” In the end, she said, “he’s a big guy. He overpowered me.” She added, “I just sort of gave up. That’s the most horrible part of it, and that’s why he’s been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it’s their fault.”

Weinstein appeared to find the encounter unremarkable. “It was like it was just another day for him,” Evans said. “It was no emotion.” Afterward, he acted as if nothing had happened. She wondered how Weinstein’s staff could not know what was going on.


Following the encounter, she met with the female casting executive, who sent her the scripts, and also came to one of her acting-class readings a few weeks later. (Evans does not believe that the executive was aware of Weinstein’s behavior.) Weinstein, Evans said, began calling her again late at night. She told me that the entire sequence of events had a routine quality. “It feels like a very streamlined process,” she said. “Female casting director, Harvey wants to meet. Everything was designed to make me feel comfortable before it happened. And then the shame in what happened was also designed to keep me quiet.”

Evans said that, after the incident, “I just put it in a part of my brain and closed the door.” She continued to blame herself for not fighting harder. “It was always my fault for not stopping him,” she said. “I had an eating problem for years. I was disgusted with myself. It’s funny, all these unrelated things I did to hurt myself because of this one thing.” Evans told friends some of what had happened, but felt largely unable to talk about it. “I ruined several really good relationships because of this. My schoolwork definitely suffered, and my roommates told me to go to a therapist because they thought I was going to kill myself.”

In the years that followed, Evans encountered Weinstein occasionally. Once, while she was walking her dog in Greenwich Village, she saw him getting into a car. “I very clearly saw him. I made eye contact,” she said. “I remember getting chills down my spine just looking at him. I was so horrified. I have nightmares about him to this day.”

3.

Asia Argento, who was born in Rome, played the role of a glamorous thief named Beatrice in the crime drama “B. Monkey,” which was released in the U.S. in 1999. The distributor was Miramax. In a series of long and often emotional interviews, Argento told me that Weinstein assaulted her while they were working together.

At the time, Argento was twenty-one and had twice won the Italian equivalent of the Oscar. Argento said that, in 1997, one of Weinstein’s producers invited her to what she understood to be a party thrown by Miramax at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, on the French Riviera. Argento felt professionally obliged to attend. When the producer led her upstairs that evening, she said, there was no party, only a hotel room, empty but for Weinstein: “I’m, like, ‘Where is the fucking party?’” She recalled the producer telling her, “Oh, we got here too early,” before he left her alone with Weinstein. (The producer denies bringing Argento to the room that night.) At first, Weinstein was solicitous, praising her work. Then he left the room. When he returned, he was wearing a bathrobe and holding a bottle of lotion. “He asks me to give a massage. I was, like, ‘Look, man, I am no fucking fool,’” Argento told me. “But, looking back, I am a fucking fool. And I am still trying to come to grips with what happened.”

Argento said that, after she reluctantly agreed to give Weinstein a massage, he pulled her skirt up, forced her legs apart, and performed oral sex on her as she repeatedly told him to stop. Weinstein “terrified me, and he was so big,” she said. “It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.”

At some point, she stopped saying no and feigned enjoyment, because she thought it was the only way the assault would end. “I was not willing,” she told me. “I said, ‘No, no, no.’ . . . It’s twisted. A big fat man wanting to eat you. It’s a scary fairy tale.” Argento, who insisted that she wanted to tell her story in all its complexity, said that she didn’t physically fight him off, something that has prompted years of guilt.


“The thing with being a victim is I felt responsible,” she said. “Because, if I were a strong woman, I would have kicked him in the balls and run away. But I didn’t. And so I felt responsible.” She described the incident as a “horrible trauma.” Decades later, she said, oral sex is still ruined for her. “I’ve been damaged,” she told me. “Just talking to you about it, my whole body is shaking.”

Argento recalled sitting on the bed after the incident, her clothes “in shambles,” her makeup smeared. She said that she told Weinstein, “I am not a whore,” and that he began laughing. He said he would put the phrase on a T-shirt. Afterward, Argento said, “He kept contacting me.” For a few months, Weinstein seemed obsessed, offering her expensive gifts.

What complicates the story, Argento readily allowed, is that she eventually yielded to Weinstein’s further advances and even grew close to him. Weinstein dined with her, and introduced her to his mother. Argento told me, “He made it sound like he was my friend and he really appreciated me.” She said that she had consensual sexual relations with him multiple times over the course of the next five years, though she described the encounters as one-sided and “onanistic.” The first occasion, several months after the alleged assault, came before the release of “B. Monkey.” “I felt I had to,” she said. “Because I had the movie coming out and I didn’t want to anger him.” She believed that Weinstein would ruin her career if she didn’t comply. Years later, when she was a single mother dealing with childcare, Weinstein offered to pay for a nanny. She said that she felt “obliged” to submit to his sexual advances.

Argento told me that she knew this contact would be used to attack the credibility of her allegation. In part, she said, the initial assault made her feel overpowered each time she encountered Weinstein, even years later. “Just his body, his presence, his face, bring me back to the little girl that I was when I was twenty-one,” she told me. “When I see him, it makes me feel little and stupid and weak.” She broke down as she struggled to explain. “After the rape, he won,” she said.

In 2000, Argento released “Scarlet Diva,” a movie that she wrote and directed. In the film, a heavyset producer corners Anna, the character played by Argento, in a hotel room, asks her for a massage, and tries to assault her. After the movie came out, women began approaching Argento, saying that they recognized Weinstein’s behavior in the portrayal. “People would ask me about him because of the scene in the movie,” she said. Some recounted similar details to her: meetings and professional events moved to hotel rooms, bathrobes and massage requests, and, in one other case, forced oral sex.



Weinstein, according to Argento, saw the film after it was released in the U.S., and apparently recognized himself. “Ha, ha, very funny,” Argento remembered him saying to her. But he also said that he was “sorry for whatever happened.” The movie’s most significant departure from the real-life incident, Argento told me, was how the hotel-room scene ended. “In the movie I wrote,” she said, “I ran away.”

Other women were too afraid to allow me to use their names, but their stories are uncannily similar to these allegations. One, a woman who worked with Weinstein, explained her reluctance to be identified. “He drags your name through the mud, and he’ll come after you hard with his legal team.”

Like others I spoke to, this woman said that Weinstein brought her to a hotel room under a professional pretext, changed into a bathrobe, and, she said, “forced himself on me sexually.” She told him no, repeatedly and clearly. Afterward, she experienced “horror, disbelief, and shame,” and considered going to the police. “I thought it would be a ‘he said, she said,’ and I thought about how impressive his legal team is, and I thought about how much I would lose, and I decided to just move forward,” she said.
The woman continued to have professional contact with Weinstein after the alleged rape, and acknowledged that subsequent communications between them might suggest a normal working relationship. “I was in a vulnerable position and I needed my job,” she told me. “It just increases the shame and the guilt.”

4.

Mira Sorvino, who starred in several of Weinstein’s films, told me that he sexually harassed her and tried to pressure her into a physical relationship while they were working together. She said that, at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, 1995, she found herself in a hotel room with Weinstein, who produced the movie she was there to promote, “Mighty Aphrodite,” for which she later won an Academy Award. “He started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around,” she recalled. She scrambled for ways to ward him off, telling him that it was against her religion to date married men. (At the time, Weinstein was married to Eve Chilton, a former assistant.) Then she left the room.

A few weeks later, in New York City, her phone rang after midnight. It was Weinstein, saying that he had new marketing ideas for the film and asking to get together. Sorvino offered to meet him at an all-night diner, but he said he was coming over to her apartment and hung up. “I freaked out,” she told me. She called a friend and asked him to come over and pose as her boyfriend. The friend hadn’t arrived by the time Weinstein rang her doorbell. “Harvey had managed to bypass my doorman,” she said. “I opened the door terrified, brandishing my twenty-pound Chihuahua mix in front of me, as though that would do any good.” When she told Weinstein that her new boyfriend was on his way, he became dejected and left.


Sorvino said that she struggled for years with whether to come forward with her story, partly because she was aware that it was mild compared with the experiences of other women, including Sophie Dix, an actress she spoke to at the time. (Dix told me that she had locked herself in a hotel bathroom to escape Weinstein, and that he had masturbated in front of her. She said it was “a classic case” of “someone not understanding the word ‘no.’ . . . I must have said no a thousand times.”) The fact that Weinstein was so instrumental in Sorvino’s success also made her hesitate: “I have great respect for Harvey as an artist, and owe him and his brother a debt of gratitude for the early success in my career, including the Oscar.” She had professional contact with Weinstein for years after the incident, and remains a close friend of his brother and business partner, Bob Weinstein. (She never told Bob about his brother’s behavior.)

Sorvino said that she felt afraid and intimidated, and that the incidents had a significant impact on her. When she told a female employee at Miramax about the harassment, the woman’s reaction “was shock and horror that I had mentioned it.” Sorvino appeared in a few more of Weinstein’s films afterward, but felt that saying no to Weinstein and reporting the harassment had ultimately hurt her career. She said, “There may have been other factors, but I definitely felt iced out and that my rejection of Harvey had something to do with it.”

5.

In March, 2015, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who was once a finalist in the Miss Italy contest, met Harvey Weinstein at a reception for “New York Spring Spectacular,” a show that he was producing at Radio City Music Hall. Weinstein introduced himself to Gutierrez, who was twenty-two, remarking repeatedly that she looked like the actress Mila Kunis.

Following the event, Gutierrez’s modelling agency e-mailed her to say that Weinstein wanted to set up a business meeting as soon as possible. Gutierrez arrived at Weinstein’s office in Tribeca early the next evening with her modelling portfolio. In the office, she sat with Weinstein on a couch to review the portfolio, and he began staring at her breasts, asking if they were real. Gutierrez later told officers of the New York Police Department’s Special Victims Division that Weinstein then lunged at her, groping her breasts and attempting to put a hand up her skirt while she protested. He finally backed off and told her that his assistant would give her tickets to “Finding Neverland,” a Broadway musical that he was producing. He said he would meet her at the show that evening.

Instead of going to the show, Gutierrez went to the nearest police station and reported the assault. Weinstein telephoned her later that evening, annoyed that she had failed to appear at the show. She picked up the call while sitting with investigators from the Special Victims Division, who listened in and devised a plan: Gutierrez would agree to see the show the following day and then meet with Weinstein. She would wear a wire and attempt to extract a confession or an incriminating statement.

The next day, Gutierrez met Weinstein at the bar of the Tribeca Grand Hotel. A team of undercover officers helped guide her through the interaction. On the recording, which I have heard in full, Weinstein lists actresses whose careers he has helped and offers Gutierrez the services of a dialect coach. Then he presses her to join him in his hotel room while he showers. Gutierrez says no repeatedly; Weinstein persists, and after a while she accedes to his demand to go upstairs. But, standing in the hallway outside his room, she refuses to go farther. In an increasingly tense exchange, he presses her to enter. Gutierrez says, “I don’t want to,” “I want to leave,” and “I want to go downstairs.” She asks him directly why he groped her breasts the day before.

“Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in,” Weinstein says. “I’m used to that. Come on. Please.”

“You’re used to that?” Gutierrez asks, sounding incredulous.

“Yes,” Weinstein says. He adds, “I won’t do it again.”

After almost two minutes of back-and-forth in the hallway, Weinstein finally agrees to let her leave.

According to a law-enforcement source, Weinstein, if charged, would most likely have faced a count of sexual abuse in the third degree, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of three months in jail. But, as the police investigation proceeded and the allegation was widely reported, details about Gutierrez’s past began to appear in the tabloids. In 2010, as a young contestant in the Miss Italy beauty pageant, Gutierrez had attended one of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s infamous “Bunga Bunga” parties. She claimed that she had been unaware of the nature of the party before arriving, and she eventually became a witness in a bribery case against Berlusconi, which is still ongoing. Gossip outlets also reported that Gutierrez, as a teen-ager, had made an allegation of sexual assault against an older Italian businessman but later declined to coöperate with prosecutors.

Two sources close to the police investigation of Weinstein said that they had no reason to doubt Gutierrez’s account of the incident. One of them, a police source, said that the department had collected more than enough evidence to prosecute Weinstein. But the other said that Gutierrez’s statements about her past complicated the case for the office of the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr. After two weeks of investigation, the D.A.’s office decided not to file charges. The office declined to comment on this story but pointed me to its statement at the time: “This case was taken seriously from the outset, with a thorough investigation conducted by our Sex Crimes Unit. After analyzing the available evidence, including multiple interviews with both parties, a criminal charge is not supported.”

“We had the evidence,” the police source involved in the operation told me. “It’s a case that made me angrier than I thought possible, and I have been on the force a long time.”

Gutierrez, when contacted for this story, said that she was unable to discuss the incident. Someone close to the matter told me that, after the D.A.’s office decided not to press charges, Gutierrez, facing Weinstein’s legal team, and in return for a payment, signed a highly restrictive nondisclosure agreement with Weinstein, including an affidavit stating that the acts he admits to in the recording never happened.

Weinstein’s use of such settlements was reported by the Times and confirmed to me by numerous people. A former employee with firsthand knowledge of two settlement negotiations that took place in London in the nineteen-nineties recalled, “It felt like David versus Goliath . . . the guy with all the money and the power flexing his muscle and quashing the allegations and getting rid of them.”

6.

The Times story disclosed a complaint to the Weinstein Company’s office of human resources, filed on behalf of a temporary front-desk assistant named Emily Nestor in December, 2014. Her own account of Weinstein’s conduct is being made public here for the first time. Nestor was twenty-five when she started the job and, after finishing law school and starting business school, was considering a career in the movie industry. On her first day in the position, Nestor said, two employees told her that she was Weinstein’s “type” physically. When Weinstein arrived at the office, he made comments about her appearance, referring to her as “the pretty girl.” He asked how old she was, and then sent all of his assistants out of the room and made her write down her telephone number.

Weinstein told her to meet him for drinks that night. Nestor invented an excuse. When he insisted, she suggested an early-morning coffee the next day, assuming that he wouldn’t accept. He did, and told her to meet him at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills, where he was staying. Nestor said that she had talked with friends in the entertainment industry and employees in the company who had warned her about Weinstein’s reputation. “I dressed very frumpy,” she said.

Nestor told me that the meeting was “the most excruciating and uncomfortable hour of my life.” After Weinstein offered her career help, she said, he began to boast about his sexual liaisons with other women, including famous actresses. “He said, ‘You know, we could have a lot of fun,’” Nestor recalled. “‘I could put you in my London office, and you could work there and you could be my girlfriend.’” She declined. He asked to hold her hand; she said no. In Nestor’s account of the exchange, Weinstein said, “Oh, the girls always say no. You know, ‘No, no.’ And then they have a beer or two and then they’re throwing themselves at me.” In a tone that Nestor described as “very weirdly proud,” Weinstein added “that he’d never had to do anything like Bill Cosby.” She assumed that he meant he’d never drugged a woman. “It’s just a bizarre thing to be so proud of,” she said. “That you’ve never had to resort to doing that. It was just so far removed from reality and normal rules of consent.”

“Textbook sexual harassment” was how Nestor described Weinstein’s behavior to me. “It’s a pretty clear case of sexual harassment when your superior, the C.E.O., asks one of their inferiors, a temp, to have sex with them, essentially in exchange for mentorship.” She recalled refusing his advances at least a dozen times. “ ‘No’ did not mean ‘no’ to him,” she said. “I was very aware of how inappropriate it was. But I felt trapped.”

Throughout the breakfast, she said, Weinstein interrupted their conversation to yell into his cell phone, enraged over a spat that Amy Adams, a star in the Weinstein movie “Big Eyes,” was having in the press. Afterward, Weinstein told Nestor to keep an eye on the news cycle, which he promised would be spun in his favor. Later in the day, there were indeed negative news items about his opponents, and Weinstein stopped by Nestor’s desk to be sure that she’d seen them.

By that point, Nestor recalled, “I was very afraid of him. And I knew how well connected he was. And how if I pissed him off then I could never have a career in that industry.” Still, she told a friend about the incident, and he alerted the company’s office of human resources, which contacted her. (The friend did not respond to a request for comment.) Nestor had a conversation with company officials about the matter but didn’t pursue it further: the officials said that Weinstein would be informed of anything she told them, a practice not uncommon in businesses the size of the Weinstein Company. Several former Weinstein employees told me that the company’s human-resources department was utterly ineffective; one female executive described it as “a place where you went to when you didn’t want anything to get done. That was common knowledge across the board. Because everything funnelled back to Harvey.” She described the department’s typical response to allegations of misconduct as “This is his company. If you don’t like it, you can leave.”

Nestor told me that some people at the company did seem concerned. Irwin Reiter, a senior executive who had worked for Weinstein for almost three decades, sent her a series of messages via LinkedIn. “We view this very seriously and I personally am very sorry your first day was like this,” Reiter wrote. “Also if there are further unwanted advances, please let us know.” Last year, just before the Presidential election, he reached out again, writing, “All this Trump stuff made me think of you.” He described Nestor’s experience as part of Weinstein’s serial misconduct. “I’ve fought him about mistreatment of women 3 weeks before the incident with you. I even wrote him an email that got me labelled by him as sex police,” he wrote. “The fight I had with him about you was epic. I told him if you were my daughter he would have not made out so well.” (Reiter declined to comment for this article, but his lawyer, Debra Katz, confirmed the authenticity of the messages and said that Reiter had made diligent efforts to raise these issues, to no avail. Katz also noted that Reiter “is eager to coöperate fully with any outside investigation.”)

Though no assault occurred, and Nestor left after completing her temporary placement, she was profoundly affected by the experience. “I was definitely traumatized for a while, in terms of feeling so harassed and frightened,” she said. “It made me feel incredibly discouraged that this could be something that happens on a regular basis. I actually decided not to go into entertainment because of this incident.”

7.

Emma de Caunes, a French actress, met Weinstein in 2010, at a party at the Cannes Film Festival. A few months later, he asked her to a lunch meeting at the Hôtel Ritz, in Paris. In the meeting, Weinstein told de Caunes that he was going to be producing a movie with a prominent director, that he planned to shoot it in France, and that it had a strong female role. It was an adaptation of a book, he said, but he claimed he couldn’t remember the title. “But I’ll give it to you,” Weinstein said, according to de Caunes. “I have it in my room.”

De Caunes replied that she had to leave, since she was already running late for a TV show she was hosting—Eminem was appearing on the show that afternoon, and she hadn’t written her questions yet. Weinstein pleaded with her to retrieve the book with him, and finally she agreed. As they got to his room, she received a telephone call from one of her colleagues, and Weinstein disappeared into a bathroom, leaving the door open. She assumed that he was washing his hands.

“When I hung up the phone, I heard the shower go on in the bathroom,” she said. “I was, like, What the fuck, is he taking a shower?” Weinstein came out, naked and with an erection. “What are you doing?” she asked. Weinstein demanded that she lie on the bed and told her that many other women had done so before her.

“I was very petrified,” de Caunes said. “But I didn’t want to show him that I was petrified, because I could feel that the more I was freaking out, the more he was excited.” She added, “It was like a hunter with a wild animal. The fear turns him on.” De Caunes told Weinstein that she was leaving, and he panicked. “We haven’t done anything!” she remembered him saying. “It’s like being in a Walt Disney movie!”

De Caunes told me, “I looked at him and I said—it took all my courage, but I said, ‘I’ve always hated Walt Disney movies.’ And then I left. I slammed the door.”
She was shaking on the stairs going down to the lobby. A director she was working with on the TV show confirmed that she arrived at the studio distraught and that she recounted what had happened. Weinstein called relentlessly over the next few hours, offering de Caunes gifts and repeating his assertion that nothing had happened.

De Caunes, who was in her early thirties at the time, was already an established actress, but she wondered what would happen to younger and more vulnerable women in the same situation. Over the years, she said, she’s heard similar accounts from friends. “I know that everybody—I mean everybody—in Hollywood knows that it’s happening,” de Caunes said. “He’s not even really hiding. I mean, the way he does it, so many people are involved and see what’s happening. But everyone’s too scared to say anything.”

8.

One evening in the early nineties, the actress Rosanna Arquette was supposed to meet Weinstein for dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel to pick up the script for a new film. At the hotel, Arquette was told to meet Weinstein upstairs, in his room.

Arquette recalled that, when she arrived at the room, Weinstein opened the door wearing a white bathrobe. He said that his neck was sore and that he needed a massage. She told him that she could recommend a good masseuse. “Then he grabbed my hand,” she said. He put it on his neck. When she yanked her hand away, Weinstein grabbed it again and pulled it toward his penis, which was visible and erect. “My heart was really racing. I was in a fight-or-flight moment,” she said. She told Weinstein, “I will never do that.”

Weinstein told her that she was making a huge mistake by rejecting him, and named an actress and a model who he claimed had given in to his sexual overtures and whose careers he said he had advanced as a result. Arquette said she responded, “I’ll never be that girl,” and left.

Arquette said that after she rejected Weinstein her career suffered. In one case, she believes, she lost a role because of it. “He made things very difficult for me for years,” she told me.
She did appear in one subsequent Weinstein film—“Pulp Fiction.” Arquette believes that she only got that role because of its small size and Weinstein’s deference to the filmmaker, Quentin Tarantino. (Disputes later arose over her entitlement to payment out of the film’s proceeds.) Arquette said that her silence was the result of Weinstein’s power and reputation for vindictiveness. “He’s going to be working very hard to track people down and silence people,” she explained. “To hurt people. That’s what he does.”

There are other examples of Weinstein’s using the same modus operandi. Jessica Barth, an actress who met him at a Golden Globes party in January, 2011, told me that he invited her to a business meeting at the Peninsula. When she arrived, he asked her over the phone to go up to his room. Weinstein assured her it was “no big deal”—because of his high profile, he simply wanted privacy to “talk career stuff.” In the room, she found that Weinstein had ordered champagne and sushi.

Barth said that, in the conversation that followed, Weinstein alternated between offering to cast her in a film and demanding a naked massage in bed. “So, what would happen if, say, we’re having some champagne and I take my clothes off and you give me a massage?” she recalled him asking. “And I’m, like, ‘That’s not going to happen.’”

When she moved toward the door to leave, Weinstein lashed out, saying that she needed to lose weight “to compete with Mila Kunis,” and then, apparently in an effort to mollify her, promising a meeting with one of his female executives.
“He gave me her number, and I walked out and I started bawling,” Barth told me. (Immediately after the incident, she spoke with two people; they confirmed to me that she had described her experience to them at the time.) Barth said that the promised meeting at Weinstein’s office seemed to be purely a formality. “I just knew it was bullshit,” she said. (The executive she met with did not respond to requests for comment.)

9.

Weinstein’s behavior deeply affected the day-to-day operations of his companies. Current and former employees described a pattern of meetings and strained complicity that closely matches the accounts of the many women I interviewed. The employees spoke on condition of anonymity because, they said, they feared for their careers in Hollywood and because of provisos in their work contracts.

“There was a large volume of these types of meetings that Harvey would have with aspiring actresses and models,” one female executive told me. “He would have them late at night, usually at hotel bars or in hotel rooms. And, in order to make these women feel more comfortable, he would ask a female executive or assistant to start those meetings with him.” She was repeatedly asked to join such meetings, she said, but she refused.

The executive said that she was especially disturbed by the involvement of other employees. “It almost felt like the executive or assistant was made to be a honeypot to lure these women in, to make them feel safe,” she said. “Then he would dismiss the executive or the assistant, and then these women were alone with him. And that did not feel like it was appropriate behavior or safe behavior.”

Before long, acting in Baby Burlesks demonstrated some fundamental lessons of movie life. It is not easy to be a Hollywood starlet. Starlets have to kiss a lot of people, including some unattractive ones. Often, starlets are knocked down to the floor or pricked by their diaper pins. The hours are long. Some of the positions that must be assumed are downright uncomfortable. Your hair and teeth must always be clean, and the same goes for your white socks.

Often starlets are required to wear scanty costumes and suffer sexist schemes, such as walking around with a silver arrow stuck through your head.

Like a Girl Scout, starlets must be cheerful and obliging, particularly to directors, producers, and cameramen. Like a Boy Scout, starlets must always be prepared, whether to recite lines, give a benefit performance, or become the butt of a joke.

Starlets must be constantly alert. Weak theatrical talent must be compensated by strong instincts for survival. Above all, starlets must cultivate the talent of tenacity.

Lesson One: Being a starlet is a complicated life, especially when you are four years old.

Lesson Two: Disobedience carries its price. The price was penalty time in a large, black box. Lamont was keeper of the key. Two dozen children under six years old can become a rabble more easily than two dozen adults. However menacing, Lamont's visage and manner were insufficient alone to establish his authority. He had a clincher to ensure our good behavior.

The 1927 advent of talking motion pictures had created the first such box, a portable work station for sound technicians, six feet to a side, mounted on rubber-tired wheels and with sole access through a narrow, soundproofed door. Inside there was a thick glass viewing port screened by a heavy curtain. There appeared to be no way to construct it so that it would be both soundproof and ventilated, so the air inside remained humid, hot, and heavy.

Two boxes were available for us, only one to be used for sound mixing. The other was empty, save for a large block of ice, its diabolic, dark interior waiting expectantly for some troublesome child to be thrust inside for punishment not always befitting the crime. The ice chilled the stale air and steadily melted. No child wants to lie down in a cold puddle, yet standing grows tiresome. As a final satanic option, the ice block provided the only place to sit.

Before utilizing this black box, however, our production staff had to temporarily separate mothers and offspring. That problem was easily solved. Mothers were officially excluded from the set at all times, on the pretext that their exclusion would avoid tumult, noise, and divided authority. Under this policy of exclusion, mothers were no longer chaperones but simply chauffeurs, hairdressers, and seamstresses. At the stage door mothers were redirected to an adjacent waiting room, where they sewed, chatted, or otherwise frittered away the waiting hours. As mothers patted us good-bye a child welfare supervisor theoretically took charge, smiling benignly. Across the threshold we would all troop, and the big, airtight doors of the soundstage would close behind us with a soft whoosh!

The presence of the child welfare supervisor represented another problem and a different tack was employed to neutralize her. Once our gaggle of children was without mothers present and in custody of the supervisor, she, too, disappeared. Adjourned to a nearby dressing room tastefully outfitted with radio, magazines, refreshments, and a soft couch, seldom would she reappear until end of work and time to reopen the soundstage door. Rested and refreshed, she would dutifully release us back into the custody of our waiting mothers.

Several times I wound up banished inside Lamont's black box. It was really a devilish punishment. Take one small, obstreperous child. Heat it under bright Kleig lights until perspiration starts. Remove child directly to the chill of the black box. Close access door tightly and leave child in box until sufficiently cooled and chastened. Remove child, reheat under the glare of Kleig lights, and carry on with work. The box proved the ultimate enforcer. Increased obedience followed as night follows day.


The process also proved a slick way to induce ear infections, a sty, some boils, or intestinal flu, items of only slight concern to our film mentors, save where production was thereby delayed. Child health was for mothers to cope with.

One obvious loose end in the scheme remained. What if some child complained to Mother? Hays and Lamont covered that open base by warning us that anyone who tattled would be recommitted to the box for disobedience. Despite Lamont's order of silence, I confided in Mother. Although intensely disliking my punishment status, I had come to uneasy terms with the total darkness, the ice block and the sense of locked confinement. The reason I turned to Mother was that I always had, but what I related was so alien to her patient, loving style, she brushed off my weird tale as if make-believe all day had overstimulated my imagination. I resolved the dilemma the only way left. The game was clear. Pay attention. Be alert. Do as I was told, when, and how. Get it right the first time. No mistakes, and no wasted time.

-- Child Star, by Shirley Temple Black


One former employee told me that she was frequently asked to join for the beginning of meetings that, she said, had in many cases already been moved from day to night and from hotel lobbies to hotel rooms. She said that Weinstein’s conduct in the meetings was brazen. During a meeting with a model, the former employee said, he turned to her and demanded, “Tell her how good of a boyfriend I am.” She said that when she refused to join one such meeting, Weinstein became enraged. Often, she was asked to keep track of the women, who, in keeping with a practice established by Weinstein’s assistants, were all filed under the same label in her phone: F.O.H., which stood for “Friend of Harvey.” She added that the pattern of meetings was nearly uninterrupted in her years of working for Weinstein. “I have to say, the behavior did stop for a little bit after the groping thing,” she told me, referring to Gutierrez’s allegation to the police. “But he couldn’t help himself. A few months later, he was back at it.”

Two staffers who facilitated these meetings said that they felt morally compromised by them. One male former staffer noted that many of the women seemed “not aware of the nature of those meetings” and “were definitely scared.” He told me that most of the encounters that he saw seemed consensual, but others gave him pause. He was especially troubled by his memory of one young woman: “You just feel terrible because you could tell this girl, very young, not from our country, was now in a room waiting for him to come up there in the middle of the day, and we were not to bother them.” He said that he was never asked to facilitate these meetings for men.

None of the former executives or assistants I spoke to quit because of the misconduct, but many expressed guilt and regret over not having said or done more. They talked about what they believed to be a culture of silence about sexual assault inside Miramax and the Weinstein Company and across the entertainment industry more broadly.

10.

Weinstein and his legal and public-relations teams have conducted a decades-long campaign to suppress these stories. In recent months, that campaign escalated. Weinstein and his associates began calling many of the women in this article. Weinstein asked Argento to meet with a private investigator and give testimony on his behalf. One actress who initially spoke to me on the record later asked that her allegation be removed from this piece. “I’m so sorry,” she wrote. “The legal angle is coming at me and I have no recourse.” Weinstein and his legal team have threatened to sue multiple media outlets, including the New York Times.

Several of the former executives and assistants in this story said that they had received calls from Weinstein in which he attempted to determine if they had talked to me or warned them not to. These employees continued to participate in the article partly because they felt that there was a growing culture of accountability, embodied in the relatively recent disclosures about high-profile men such as Cosby and Ailes. “I think a lot of us had thought—and hoped—over the years that it would come out sooner,” the former executive who was aware of the two legal settlements in London told me. “But I think now is the right time, in this current climate, for the truth.”

The female executive who declined inappropriate meetings told me that her lawyer advised her that she could be liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for violating the nondisclosure agreement attached to her employment contract. “I believe this is more important than keeping a confidentiality agreement,” she said. “The more of us that can confirm or validate for these women if this did happen, I think it’s really important for their justice to do that.” She continued, “I wish I could have done more. I wish I could have stopped it. And this is my way of doing that now.”

“He’s been systematically doing this for a very long time,” the former employee who had been made to act as a “honeypot” told me. She said that she often thinks of something Weinstein whispered—to himself, as far as she could tell—after one of his many shouting sprees at the office. It so unnerved her that she pulled out her phone and tapped it into a memo, word for word: “There are things I’ve done that nobody knows.” ♦


Ronan Farrow, a television and print reporter, is the author of the upcoming book “War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence.”
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Postby admin » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:52 am

Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades
by Jodi Kanto and Megan Twohey
New York Times
October 5, 2017

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Update: The Weinstein Company’s board has fired Harvey Weinstein after reports of sexual harassment complaints against him. Find more coverage here.

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Harvey Weinstein apologized for behavior that he said “has caused a lot of pain.” Credit Jean Baptiste LaCroix/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Two decades ago, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what the young actress expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview.

“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” Ms. Judd said she remembers thinking.

In 2014, Mr. Weinstein invited Emily Nestor, who had worked just one day as a temporary employee, to the same hotel and made another offer: If she accepted his sexual advances, he would boost her career, according to accounts she provided to colleagues who sent them to Weinstein Company executives. The following year, once again at the Peninsula, a female assistant said Mr. Weinstein badgered her into giving him a massage while he was naked, leaving her “crying and very distraught,” wrote a colleague, Lauren O’Connor, in a searing memo asserting sexual harassment and other misconduct by their boss.

“There is a toxic environment for women at this company,” Ms. O’Connor said in the letter, addressed to several executives at the company run by Mr. Weinstein.

An investigation by The New York Times found previously undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein stretching over nearly three decades, documented through interviews with current and former employees and film industry workers, as well as legal records, emails and internal documents from the businesses he has run, Miramax and the Weinstein Company.

During that time, after being confronted with allegations including sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact, Mr. Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women, according to two company officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. Among the recipients, The Times found, were a young assistant in New York in 1990, an actress in 1997, an assistant in London in 1998, an Italian model in 2015 and Ms. O’Connor shortly after, according to records and those familiar with the agreements.

In a statement to The Times on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Weinstein said: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”

He added that he was working with therapists and planning to take a leave of absence to “deal with this issue head on.”

I am a 28 year old woman trying to make a living and a career. Harvey Weinstein is a 64 year old, world famous man and this is his company. The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.

— From Lauren O’Connor‘s memo


Lisa Bloom, a lawyer advising Mr. Weinstein, said in a statement that “he denies many of the accusations as patently false.” In comments to The Times earlier this week, Mr. Weinstein said that many claims in Ms. O’Connor’s memo were “off base” and that they had parted on good terms.

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Some of Mr. Weinstein’s films include, from left to right, “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting.”

He and his representatives declined to comment on any of the settlements, including providing information about who paid them. But Mr. Weinstein said that in addressing employee concerns about workplace issues, “my motto is to keep the peace.”

Ms. Bloom, who has been advising Mr. Weinstein over the last year on gender and power dynamics, called him “an old dinosaur learning new ways.” She said she had “explained to him that due to the power difference between a major studio head like him and most others in the industry, whatever his motives, some of his words and behaviors can be perceived as inappropriate, even intimidating.”

Though Ms. O’Connor had been writing only about a two-year period, her memo echoed other women’s complaints. Mr. Weinstein required her to have casting discussions with aspiring actresses after they had private appointments in his hotel room, she said, her description matching those of other former employees. She suspected that she and other female Weinstein employees, she wrote, were being used to facilitate liaisons with “vulnerable women who hope he will get them work.”

The allegations piled up even as Mr. Weinstein helped define popular culture. He has collected six best-picture Oscars and turned out a number of touchstones, from the films “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting” to the television show “Project Runway.” In public, he presents himself as a liberal lion, a champion of women and a winner of not just artistic but humanitarian awards.

In 2015, the year Ms. O’Connor wrote her memo, his company distributed “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about campus sexual assault. A longtime Democratic donor, he hosted a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton in his Manhattan home last year. He employed Malia Obama, the oldest daughter of former President Barack Obama, as an intern this year, and recently helped endow a faculty chair at Rutgers University in Gloria Steinem’s name. During the Sundance Film Festival in January, when Park City, Utah, held its version of nationwide women’s marches, Mr. Weinstein joined the parade.


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Harvey Weinstein and Hillary Clinton in 2012. Mr. Weinstein held a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton at his Manhattan home last year. Credit Larry Busacca/Getty Images

“From the outside, it seemed golden — the Oscars, the success, the remarkable cultural impact,” said Mark Gill, former president of Miramax Los Angeles when the company was owned by Disney. “But behind the scenes, it was a mess, and this was the biggest mess of all,” he added, referring to Mr. Weinstein’s treatment of women.

Dozens of Mr. Weinstein’s former and current employees, from assistants to top executives, said they knew of inappropriate conduct while they worked for him. Only a handful said they ever confronted him.

Mr. Weinstein enforced a code of silence; employees of the Weinstein Company have contracts saying they will not criticize it or its leaders in a way that could harm its “business reputation” or “any employee’s personal reputation,”
a recent document shows. And most of the women accepting payouts agreed to confidentiality clauses prohibiting them from speaking about the deals or the events that led to them.

Charles Harder, a lawyer representing Mr. Weinstein, said it was not unusual to enter into settlements to avoid lengthy and costly litigation. He added, “It’s not evidence of anything.”

I am a professional and have tried to be professional. I am not treated that way however. I am sexualized and diminished.

— From Lauren O’Connor‘s memo


At Fox News, where the conservative icons Roger E. Ailes and Bill O’Reilly were accused of harassment, women have received payouts well into the millions of dollars. But most of the women involved in the Weinstein agreements collected between roughly $80,000 and $150,000, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

In the wake of Ms. O’Connor’s 2015 memo, some Weinstein Company board members and executives, including Mr. Weinstein’s brother and longtime partner, Bob, 62, were alarmed about the allegations, according to several people who spoke on the condition of anonymity. In the end, though, board members were assured there was no need to investigate. After reaching a settlement with Mr. Weinstein, Ms. O’Connor withdrew her complaint and thanked him for the career opportunity he had given her.

“The parties made peace very quickly,” Ms. Bloom said.

Through her lawyer, Nicole Page, Ms. O’Connor declined to be interviewed. In the memo, she explained how unnerved she was by what she witnessed or encountered while a literary scout and production executive at the company. “I am just starting out in my career, and have been and remain fearful about speaking up,” Ms. O’Connor wrote. “But remaining silent is causing me great distress.”

In speaking out about her hotel episode, Ms. Judd said in a recent interview, “Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”

A Common Narrative

Ms. Nestor, a law and business school student, accepted Mr. Weinstein’s breakfast invitation at the Peninsula because she did not want to miss an opportunity, she later told colleagues. After she arrived, he offered to help her career while boasting about a series of famous actresses he claimed to have slept with, according to accounts that colleagues compiled after hearing her story and then sent on to company executives.

“She said he was very persistent and focused though she kept saying no for over an hour,” one internal document said. Ms. Nestor, who declined to comment for this article, refused his bargain, the records noted. “She was disappointed that he met with her and did not seem to be interested in her résumé or skill set.” The young woman chose not to report the episode to human resources personnel, but the allegations came to management’s attention through other employees.

Across the years and continents, accounts of Mr. Weinstein’s conduct share a common narrative: Women reported to a hotel for what they thought were work reasons, only to discover that Mr. Weinstein, who has been married for most of three decades, sometimes seemed to have different interests. His home base was New York, but his rolling headquarters were luxury hotels: the Peninsula Beverly Hills and the Savoy in London, the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc near the Cannes Film Festival in France and the Stein Eriksen Lodge near the Sundance Film Festival.

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The Peninsula Beverly Hills, a hotel where Mr. Weinstein has been accused of sexually harassing women in the entertainment industry. Credit FG/Bauer-Griffin, via Getty Images

Working for Mr. Weinstein could mean getting him out of bed in the morning and doing “turndown duty” late at night, preparing him for sleep. Like the colleague cited in Ms. O’Connor’s memo, some junior employees required to perform those tasks said they were disturbing.

In interviews, eight women described varying behavior by Mr. Weinstein: appearing nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself. The women, typically in their early or middle 20s and hoping to get a toehold in the film industry, said he could switch course quickly — meetings and clipboards one moment, intimate comments the next. One woman advised a peer to wear a parka when summoned for duty as a layer of protection against unwelcome advances.


Laura Madden, a former employee who said Mr. Weinstein prodded her for massages at hotels in Dublin and London beginning in 1991, said he had a way of making anyone who objected feel like an outlier. “It was so manipulative,” she said in an interview. “You constantly question yourself — am I the one who is the problem?”

“I don’t know anything about that,” Mr. Weinstein said.

Most women who told The Times that they experienced misconduct by Mr. Weinstein had never met one another. They range in age from early 20s to late 40s and live in different cities. Some said they did not report the behavior because there were no witnesses and they feared retaliation by Mr. Weinstein. Others said they felt embarrassed. But most confided in co-workers.

Ms. Madden later told Karen Katz, a friend and colleague in the acquisitions department, about Mr. Weinstein’s overtures, including a time she locked herself in the bathroom of his hotel room, sobbing. “We were so young at the time,” said Ms. Katz, now a documentary filmmaker. “We did not understand how wrong it was or how Laura should deal with it.”

Others in the London office said the same. “I was pretty disturbed and angry,” said Sallie Hodges, another former employee, recalling the accounts she heard from colleagues. “That’s kind of the way things were.”

The human resources operation was considered weak in New York and worse in London, so some employees banded together in solidarity. “If a female executive was asked to go to a meeting solo, she and a colleague would generally double up” so as not to be alone with Mr. Weinstein, recalled Mr. Gill, the former president of Miramax Los Angeles.

Many women who worked with Mr. Weinstein said they never experienced sexual harassment or knew of anyone who did, and recalled him as a boss who gave them valuable opportunities at young ages. Some described long and satisfying careers with him, praising him as a mentor and advocate.

But in interviews, some of the former employees who said they had troubling experiences with Mr. Weinstein asked a common question: How could allegations repeating the same pattern — young women, a powerful male producer, even some of the same hotels — have accumulated for almost three decades?

“It wasn’t a secret to the inner circle,” said Kathy DeClesis, Bob Weinstein’s assistant in the early 1990s. She supervised a young woman who left the company abruptly after an encounter with Harvey Weinstein and who later received a settlement, according to several former employees.

Speaking up could have been costly. A job with Mr. Weinstein was a privileged perch at the nexus of money, fame and art, and plenty of his former assistants have risen high in Hollywood. He could be charming and generous: gift baskets, flowers, personal or career help and cash. At the Cannes Film Festival, according to several former colleagues, he sometimes handed out thousands of dollars as impromptu bonuses.

Mr. Weinstein was a volcanic personality, though, given to fits of rage and personal lashings of male and female employees alike. When a female guest of his had to wait for a hotel room upgrade, he yelled that Ms. O’Connor would be better off marrying a “fat, rich Jewish” man because she was probably just good for “being a wife” and “making babies,” she wrote in her memo. (He added some expletives, she said.) His treatment of women was sometimes written off as just another form of toxicity, according to multiple former employees.

In the fall of 1998, a 25-year-old London assistant named Zelda Perkins confronted Mr. Weinstein. According to former colleagues, she and several co-workers had been regularly subjected to inappropriate requests or comments in hotel rooms, and she was particularly concerned about the treatment of another woman in the office. She told Mr. Weinstein that he had to stop, according to the former colleagues, and that she would go public or initiate legal action unless he changed his behavior.

Steve Hutensky, one of Miramax’s entertainment lawyers, was dispatched to London to negotiate a settlement with Ms. Perkins and her lawyer. He declined to comment for this article.


Ms. Perkins, now a theater producer in London, also declined to comment for this article, saying that she could not discuss her work at Miramax or whether she had entered into any agreements.

Months after the settlement, Mr. Weinstein triumphed at the Oscars, with “Life Is Beautiful” and “Shakespeare in Love” winning 10 awards. A few years later, Mr. Weinstein, who had produced a series of British-themed movies, was made a Commander of the British Empire, an honorary title just short of knighthood.

‘Coercive Bargaining’

For actors, a meeting with Mr. Weinstein could yield dazzling rewards: scripts, parts, award campaigns, magazine coverage, influence on lucrative endorsement deals. He knew how to blast small films to box office success, and deliver polished dramas like “The King’s Speech” and popular attractions like the “Scary Movie” franchise. Mr. Weinstein’s films helped define femininity, sex and romance, from Catherine Zeta-Jones in “Chicago” to Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

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The actress Ashley Judd in the 1997 film “Kiss the Girls.” Ms. Judd said that Mr. Weinstein sexually harassed her two decades ago in his room at the Peninsula. Credit Paramount Pictures, via Photofest

But movies were also his private leverage. When Mr. Weinstein invited Ms. Judd to breakfast in Beverly Hills, she had been shooting the thriller “Kiss the Girls” all night, but the meeting seemed too important to miss. After arriving at the hotel lobby, she was surprised to learn that they would be talking in his suite; she decided to order cereal, she said, so the food would come quickly and she could leave.

Mr. Weinstein soon issued invitation after invitation, she said. Could he give her a massage? When she refused, he suggested a shoulder rub. She rejected that too, she recalled. He steered her toward a closet, asking her to help pick out his clothing for the day, and then toward the bathroom. Would she watch him take a shower? she remembered him saying.

“I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” Ms. Judd said. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”

To get out of the room, she said, she quipped that if Mr. Weinstein wanted to touch her, she would first have to win an Oscar in one of his movies. She recalled feeling “panicky, trapped,” she said in the interview. “There’s a lot on the line, the cachet that came with Miramax.”


Not long afterward, she related what had happened to her mother, the singer Naomi Judd, who confirmed their conversation to a Times reporter. Years later, Ashley Judd appeared in two Weinstein films without incident, she said. In 2015, she shared an account of the episode in the hotel room with “Variety” without naming the man involved.

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In 1997, Mr. Weinstein reached a settlement with the actor Rose McGowan after an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival. She had just appeared in the movie “Scream,” above. Credit Dimension Films, via Photofest

In 1997, Mr. Weinstein reached a previously undisclosed settlement with Rose McGowan, then a 23-year-old-actress, after an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival. The $100,000 settlement was “not to be construed as an admission” by Mr. Weinstein, but intended to “avoid litigation and buy peace,” according to the legal document, which was reviewed by The Times. Ms. McGowan had just appeared in the slasher film “Scream” and would later star in the television show “Charmed.” She declined to comment.

Increased Scrutiny

Just months before Ms. O’Connor wrote her memo, a young female employee quit after complaining of being forced to arrange what she believed to be assignations for Mr. Weinstein, according to two people familiar with her departure. The woman, who asked not to be identified to protect her privacy, said a nondisclosure agreement prevented her from commenting.

Soon, complaints about Mr. Weinstein’s behavior prompted the board of his company to take notice.

In March 2015, Mr. Weinstein had invited Ambra Battilana, an Italian model and aspiring actress, to his TriBeCa office on a Friday evening to discuss her career. Within hours, she called the police. Ms. Battilana told them that Mr. Weinstein had grabbed her breasts after asking if they were real and put his hands up her skirt, the police report says.

The claims were taken up by the New York Police Department’s Special Victims Squad and splashed across the pages of tabloids, along with reports that the woman had worked with investigators to secretly record a confession from Mr. Weinstein. The Manhattan district attorney’s office later declined to bring charges.

But Mr. Weinstein made a payment to Ms. Battilana, according to people familiar with the settlement, speaking on the condition of anonymity about the confidential agreement.

The public nature of the episode concerned some executives and board members of the Weinstein Company. (Harvey and Bob Weinstein together own 42 percent of the privately held business.) When several board members pressed Mr. Weinstein about it, he insisted that the woman had set him up, colleagues recalled.

Ms. Battilana had testified in court proceedings against associates of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy who are accused of procuring women for alleged sex parties, and the Italian news media also reported that, years ago, Ms. Battilana accused a septuagenarian boyfriend of sexual harassment, a complaint that was apparently dismissed. Ms. Battilana did not respond to requests for comment. Her lawyer, Mauro Rufini, could not be reached for comment.

After the episode, Lance Maerov, a board member, said he successfully pushed for a code of behavior for the company that included detailed language about sexual harassment.

Then Ms. O’Connor’s memo hit, with page after page of detailed accusations. In describing the experiences of women at the company, including her own, she wrote, “The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”

She was a valued employee — Mr. Weinstein described her as “fantastic,” “a great person,” “a brilliant executive” — so the complaint rattled top executives, including Bob Weinstein. When the board was notified of it by email, Mr. Maerov insisted that an outside lawyer determine whether the allegations were true, he said in an interview.

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Mr. Weinstein in 1999 with the winners of the best-picture Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love.” Credit Hector Mata/Agence France—Presse

But the inquiry never happened. Mr. Weinstein had reached a settlement with Ms. O’Connor, and there was no longer anything to investigate.

“Because this matter has been resolved and no further action is required, I withdraw my complaint,” Ms. O’Connor wrote in an email to the head of human resources six days after sending her memo. She also wrote a letter to Mr. Weinstein thanking him for the opportunity to learn about the entertainment industry.

Rachel Abrams and William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting. Grace Ashford contributed research.
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Re: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg On a Complicate

Postby admin » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:58 am

Weinstein Company Faces Civil Rights Inquiry by New York Attorney General
by Megan Twohey
October 23, 2017

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The New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, has opened an inquiry into the Weinstein Company examining whether allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment against its co-founder Harvey Weinstein reflect broad gender discrimination and other civil rights violations.

“No New Yorker should be forced to walk into a workplace ruled by sexual intimidation, harassment or fear,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement on Monday. “If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know.”

On Monday, the attorney general’s Civil Rights Bureau sent a subpoena to the company seeking a long list of documents, including personnel files; criteria for hiring, promoting and firing; formal and informal complaints of sexual harassment or other discrimination based on gender or age; and records showing how such complaints were handled, according to a person who has seen the confidential subpoena and who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The office is also seeking any documents and communications related to private out-of-court settlements struck with accusers, the person said.


The civil investigation places heightened scrutiny on an already reeling entertainment company. The inquiry will also examine whether the company itself bears financial responsibility for any misconduct.

The New York Times reported this month that Mr. Weinstein had faced allegations of sexual harassment, unwanted touching and other inappropriate behavior toward employees and actresses stretching back decades. It also found that he had made payments to at least eight women who accused him of sexual harassment, unwanted touching and other inappropriate behavior in exchange for their silence, but it was unclear where the money came from and whether people in the company were involved.

David Boies, a lawyer who has represented Mr. Weinstein as well as the company, has said the company and its board were aware of as many as four payouts to women. Lance Maerov, a board member, said he was told of only one settlement with a woman who complained of misconduct. Mr. Weinstein’s brother, Bob Weinstein, another co-founder, has declined to answer questions about the issue. The Weinstein Company did not return requests for comment on Monday morning.

In addition to the civil case, Harvey Weinstein has come under criminal investigation by the police in New York, Los Angeles and London for allegations of sexual assault in those three jurisdictions. The New Yorker documented some assault cases, included allegations of rape, and in recent weeks other women have come forward with claims of assault and misconduct by Mr. Weinstein over more than three decades.

The Weinstein Company fired him after the Times coverage and the upheaval that followed. The majority of its nine-member board has resigned. Bob Weinstein is scrambling to save the company while negotiating possible sales of some or all of the production studio. And employees are calling for the company to release them from their nondisclosure agreements so they can openly discuss what it was like to work there.

Civil investigations of this kind can prove costly for companies. Those found in violation of civil rights laws can face fines and other financial penalties. In 2015, ConEd was required to pay $3.8 million to hundreds of female employees after an investigation by the attorney general and federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found violations of sexual discrimination and harassment dating back nearly a decade.
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