Harvey Weinstein, the independent film executive behind such modern classics as Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare In Love, and sex, lies, and videotape, sexually harassed actresses and female subordinates for “decades,” according to a bombshell report in The New York Times.
The investigation, by Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, “found previously undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein stretching over nearly three decades” and discovered that “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.” The Times details the specifics of several of those settlements, as well as allegations leveled by actors Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.
The reporting is thorough and devastating, and Weinstein, who is taking a leave of absence from the company that bears his name, issued a statement that the paper published in full. In it, the producer and studio chief explains that he “came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplace were different” (Weinstein was born in 1952, and his first film credit is from 1981), insists “I so respect all women and regret what happened,” and promises to “give the NRA my full attention” while working in a plug for a movie he’s making about President Trump (???).
But he does offer up a mea culpa – “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it” – and carefully name-drops advisor Lisa Bloom, who has represented women accusing Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump, and Bill Cosby of sexual harassment. (Earlier this year, The Weinstein Company picked up adaptation rights for Bloom’s 2014 book Suspicion Nation. Probably just a coincidence.) Bloom offered up her own statement today, noting, “I have told him that times have changed, it is 2017, and he needs to evolve to a higher standard. I have found Harvey to be refreshingly candid and receptive to my message. He has acknowledged mistakes he has made. He is reading books and going to therapy. He is an old dinosaur learning new ways.”
But not that new. Weinstein’s attorney, Charles Hander – who represented Hulk Hogan in the Gakwer case, y’know, the one that just pinched bad ol’ Gawker and wouldn’t have any implications against any real, important news outlets – has announced that Weinstein will sue the Times for its “false and defamatory statements.” (But don’t worry: if they win, they’ll donate the money “to women’s organizations.”) It’s unclear what exactly is so false and defamatory in the Times story, if Weinstein is apologizing in statements and his lawyer is talking about the “mistakes he has made.” But if there’s one thing film journalists have learned over the past twenty-five years, it’s that Harvey Weinstein is very good at talking out of both sides of his mouth.