The Weinstein Company head Harvey Weinstein, a man responsible for six Best Picture Oscar-winning movies, has been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment over the course of several decades. The shocking details were revealed in an expose recently released by The New York Times. In the expose, it is said that Weinstein "has reached at least eight settlements with women" over the years, with more coming forward to accuse him.
Ashley Judd, who is best known for her work on films such as Kiss the Girls, Heat and most recently Twin Peaks, worked with Harvey Weinstein over the years and came forward in the expose to detail her experiences with him. According to her account, Weinstein had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in just a robe and asked if he could give her a massage, or if she would watch him shower. In the situation, she thought, "How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?" This was not the only incident, as she has been approached by him many times over the years. Here's what she had to say about it.
"I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask. It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining."
Ahead of the release of the New York Times article, the 65-year-old Harvey Weinstein hired several attorneys and PR consultants, as news of the expose broke prior to its release. Among those hired were Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan in its fight with Gawker, a website that was forced to shut down after Hogan won his case over them publishing his sex tape. These new sexual harassment allegations confirm years of persistent rumors about Weinstein, who is one of the most notorious film executives working in Hollywood. Though all of this happened a long time ago, Ashley Judd feels now was the right time to come forward.
"Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it's simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly."
It isn't just Ashely Judd who came forward in this new piece. According to The New York Times, eight women shared similar stories. The report notes that Weinstein had a pattern of sexual harassment and misconduct. It is said he would appear "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." Harvey Weinstein commented on the matter, releasing a statement about his alleged sexual misconduct over the years.
"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. I came of age in the 60's and 70's, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then."
In a statement that is likely to haunt Harvey Weinstein following these accusations, the Hollywood figure said to THR prior to the release of the article that it "sounds so good, I want to buy the movie rights." Later, actress Rose McGowan, who was one of the eight women who was paid a settlement over the years, tweeted, "I want to buy the rights." McGowan received a $100,000 settlement for an incident that occurred in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival. Though, the settlement was "not to be construed as an admission." It was, rather, to "avoid litigation and buy peace." McGowan, though she declined to make a statement in the New York Times piece, released a statement on Twitter, taking aim at the protection that has been afforded to men who have sexually harassed women in Hollywood for decades. Here's what she had to say.
"Hollywood boy's club press: protecting violators since 1919. You're in foul company, gentlemen, you must be so proud of yourselves."
According to New York Times, the settlements that Harvey Weinstein made over the years were for "unwanted physical contact." Sources say the settlements were anywhere between $80,000 and $150,000. Attorney Lisa Bloom, who is said to have been advising Weinstein over the last year, said that he is "an old dinosaur learning new ways," who uses "words and behaviors [that] can be perceived as inappropriate, even intimidating." Harvey Weinstein will be taking a leave of absence to "deal with this issue head on." Though he has acknowledged wrongdoing, Weinstein is denying many of the claims being made against him. You can also check out Weinstein's full statement in response to the allegations for yourself below.
"I came of age in the 60's and 70's, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. I have since learned it's not an excuse, in the office, or out of it. To anyone. I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it. Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment. My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons. Over the last year I've asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me and she's put together a team of people. I've brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women and regret what happened. I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with Lisa to learn more. Jay Z wrote in 4:44 'I'm not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children.' The same is true for me. I want a second chance in the community but I know I've got work to do to earn it. I have goals that are now priorities. Trust me, this isn't an overnight process. I've been trying to do this for 10 years and this is a wake-up call. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them. I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I've decided that I'm going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I'm going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I'm making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organising a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom and I won't disappoint her."
This news comes at a time shortly after former Birth.Movies.Death editor Devin Faraci, who was fired for sexual misconduct, was re-hired by Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League to do some work for this year's Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. You can read the full piece on Harvey Weinstein over at The New York Times.