Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment by several actresses, former and current colleagues and industry insiders over decades. The allegations surfaced after a New York Times investigation followed by one by The New Yorker.
Harvey’s movies have won at least 300 Oscar nominations and a great number of Academy awards. But many the women who worked with for all these years or in many cases refused to work with him reportedly went through a harrowing time suffering sexual harassment at the hands of Weinstein.
Investigations by the New York Times and The New Yorker have brought out untold stories of alleged sexual harassment by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein over several decades. Weinstein is one of the most celebrated and successful producers in the business, but he has been fired by his Weinstein Company’s board after the allegations were reported earlier this month. Since the first report came out on October 5, many actresses, employees and former employees have come forward to give accounts of harassment by Weinstein, some of them leading names in Hollywood.
The Times’ investigation revealed a history of unsolicited sexual advances, harassment and physical contact with women. It gave accounts of former and current employees, people from the cinema industry, legal records, emails and also internal documents of his businesses Miramax and the Weinstein Company.
Harvey’s movies have won at least 300 Oscar nominations and a great number of Academy awards. The Times investigation revealed that he had, over the years, reached at least eight settlements in harassment cases women indicating complaints were raised by multiple people against his conduct.
The New Yorker investigation includes rape allegations by at least three women. The allegations were, however, denied with the argument that every encounter was consensual. Weinstein, who was also a prominent fundraiser for democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, has also received condemnation from the Obamas. Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama found the acts disgusting and said the the courage of the women who have come out with these stories should be celebrated.
Here are some of the allegations levelled against Weinstein:
Gwyneth Paltrow alleged Weinstein came on to her and made unsolicited advances. After refusing and revealing the incident to Brad Pitt, the producer allegedly berated and reprimanded her and warned her not to tell anyone else.
Academy award winning actor Gwyneth Paltrow was signed by Weinstein for ‘Emma’ when she was 22 and an aspiring actor. According to the report, Paltrow was summoned by Weinstein to his suite at Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a business meeting. Paltrow told the Times that towards the end of an uneventful meeting, Weinstein places his hands on her and suggested that they “head to the bedroom for massages”. After refusing his advances, Paltrow reportedly complained to Brad Pitt, then her boyfriend, who confronted Weinstein. The producer apparently reprimanded Paltrow for her confession to Pitt who confronted him at a theatre premier and warned him never to touch Paltrow again. Weinstein reportedly warned her not to tell anyone else. The actress said that she feared Weinstein would fire her.
Ashley Judd said Weinstein employed coercive bargaining when he tried to make new advances at her after every refusal.
About two decades ago, the Times report said, Weinstein called Ashley Judd to Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a business breakfast meeting. Instead of Weinstein meeting her in the restaurant, the producer had her sent to his suite. Judd was met by Weinstein who had come in a bathrobe asking “if he could give her a massage” or “she could watch him shower”. The ‘massage advance’ was a an almost constant fixture in his alleged overtures on women. Judd mentioned that Weinstein would employ coercive bargaining seeking acceptability to his solicitations like physical contact, exhibitionism etc.
“I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” she told the Times. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”
Angelina Jolie said she had a bad experience working with Harvey Weinstein and decided never to work with him again.
Angelina Jolie told the Times that Weinstein made unwanted advances on her whilst in a hotel room. She said she rejected his overtures. “I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did,” Jolie told the Times in an email, adding, “This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
Weinstein, in 2014, called Emily Nestor, a temporary employee only a day into her job, to the same hotel. Weinstein allegedly made her an offer if she was willing to accept his sexual advances and that he would “boost her career”. The Times report said the account was as provided by Nestor to colleagues who sent them ahead to executives.
Lauren O’Connor wrote in a memo about the harassment by their boss Weinstein. In 2015, a female assistant was pressured to give Weinstein a massage as he lay naked. This left her “crying and distraught”, O’Connor wrote.
Katherine Kendall, the actress who worked in the movie Swingers, alleged that Weinstein undressed and chased her around in a room. The Times quoted her as recalling the incident in a recent interview saying, “I’ll never work again and no one is going to care or believe me.”
In 1984, Tomi-Ann Roberts, 20, a college junior was in New York. Weinstein approached her to audition for a movie. Weinstein apparently asked her to meet him where he was staying to discuss a film. Roberts said that Weinstein was naked in the bathtub when she arrived to meet him. Roberts was told her audition would be much better if she were comfortable “getting naked in front of him” as the role required a topless scene.
In the 1990s, Rosanna Arquette, born to a film family and who had just given a hit Desperately Seeking Susan, was called to the hotel to pick up a script. She was ushered to Weinstein’s rooms where the producer was waiting in a bathrobe and complained of neck pain. Weinstein allegedly asked for a massage and Arquette recommended a professional masseuse, according to Maria Smith who heard about the incident from her friend Arquette. She said Weinstein then grabbed Arquette’s hand. Arquette refused all advances and was told she was making a big mistake, apart from boasting about the famous women he had shared intimate relations with. Arquette left the room saying “I’m not that girl. I’ll never be that girl.”
In 1996, Godrèche met Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival. Godrèche was already an established film star in France. Her film Ridicule was supposed to open the festival and he had just acquired it. After a breakfast meeting where he wanted to discuss the meeting, Weinstein met Godrèche with female executive who later disappeared. He invited her to take a look at the view from his hotel room. Godrèche alleged that in the room he asked her for a massage and when she refused, Weinstein told her that it was an American custom and he gave it to his secretary all the time. The actress alleged he tried to physically overpower her and undress her. That is when she left.
In 2003, Dawn Dunning met Harvey Weinstein while she was a small-time actor, design student. The then 24-year-old was offered a screen test at Miramax. Giving the offer, Weinstein invited Dunning to lunch and dinner to discuss films and even gave her boyfriend and her tickets to a Broadway show. She was invited to meet Weinstein at a Manhattan hotel by his assistant. She was told to head to the suite instead of the restaurant as one of her meetings was running late. In the room, Weinstein was in a bathrobe behind a coffee table laid out with papers.
Dunning alleged that Weinstein told her that the papers were contracts to his next three films and if she wished to sign them, the solitary condition was agreeing to a three-way sexual encounter with him. When she laughed thinking it was a joke, Weinstein allegedly told her that “You’ll never make it in the business.”
Similarly the investigations found several more accounts of women reporting harassment but Weinstein’s attempts at damage control didn’t come necessarily with denials to such allegations. In a statement that he sent the Times, he 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.”