Who is Harvey Weinstein? The Movie Producer Accused of a Catalogue of S*xual Harassment Against Hollywood Actresses
He’s the brains behind some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, but Harvey Weinstein now stands accused of a catalogue of sexual harassment against actresses and female employees over the last two decades.
Divergent star Ashley Judd came forward in an explosive expose by the New York Times last week, claiming she was subjected to unwanted advances whilst working with Weinstein on Kiss the Girls in 1997.
Her claims were subsequently echoed by a string of other actresses and former employees, and Weinstein was sacked by his own company on October 9.
Pictured with Bradley Cooper, Weinstein is one of Hollywood’s most powerful players (Image: WireImage)
Who is Harvey Weinstein?
The Oscar-winning executive producer worked on huge films such as Django Unchained, Pulp Fiction, Silver Linings Playbook and the Spy Kids movies.
He first started making films with his brother Bob back in the seventies, and they formed their own studio, Miramax in 1979.
Named after their parents Miriam and Maz, they sold the studio to Disney in 1993 and formed The Weinstein Company in 2005.
Weinstein worked on cult classic Pulp Fiction
Who are his accusers?
Ashley Judd claims he invited her to his room at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what she thought would be a business breakfast meeting.
But when she got there he was wearing a bathrobe and allegedly begged her to give him a massage and watch him shower.
Feeling uncomfortable, Ashley, 49, ordered cereal because it was quicker to eat, whilst trying to work out a way of getting out of the room without offending one of the major powers in Hollywood. She eventually joked that he’d need to win her an Oscar before she would touch him.
Ashley Judd pictured in 1997 (Image: Reuters)
“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 newspaper. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”
In 2014 a temp claimed she was called to his room in the same hotel, where Weinstein promised to kick-start her career if she’d accept his sexual advances.
And according to the report, a year later he “badgered” a female assistant into massaging his naked body, which left her ‘crying and very distraught.”
Ex-newsreader Lauren Sivan claims Weinstein trapped her in the hallway of a restaurant and masturbated in front of her until he ejaculated into a potted plant in the hall.
Lauren Sivan (Image: Twitter/idiotsivan)
The incident, which took place a decade ago at the restaurant-club Socialista, allegedly occurred after Sivan rebuffed his attempt to kiss her.
Also on Huffington Post, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker and wife of California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, published a column in which she related her own experiences with Weinstein and called for the end of “open secrets” of sexual harassment by powerful Hollywood producers and other elites.
“Based on my years in the industry and unfortunately, my own personal experience with Harvey Weinstein, I can tell you that I believe every single word that was written in the extremely disturbing, but not all that shocking, New York Times piece published yesterday,” wrote Newsom.
“Not all that shocking because very similar things happened to me. I was naive, new to the industry, and didn’t know how to deal with his aggressive advances – work invitations with a friend late-night at The Toronto Film Festival, and later an invitation to meet with him about a role in The Peninsula Hotel, where staff were present and then all of a sudden disappeared like clockwork, leaving me alone with this extremely powerful and intimidating Hollywood legend.”
It’s also been claimed that he flirted with British actress Hayley Atwell, before calling her a “fat pig” and ordering her to go on a diet.
According to the New York Post , Weinstein “started flirting with the actress, who was clearly nervous, starring one of her first major roles.”
And when the cast and crew sat down for lunch, the report claims the 65-year-old urged the Captain America star to eat less, telling her, “You look like a fat pig on screen.”
However, when Hayley told her costar Emma Thompson, the 58-year-old reportedly “flipped” and told Weinstein that if she got wind of him forcing Hayley or anyone else to go on a diet then she would quit.
In a statement released to Mirror Online, Weinstein said: “I came of age in the 60s and 70s, when all the rules about behavior 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 apologize 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.
“One year ago, I began organizing 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.”
She said: “Harvey Weinstein and I have had many wide ranging conversations over the last year about rumors and allegations against him. He denies many of the accusations as patently false. Nevertheless, I have 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.
“As a women’s rights advocate, I have been blunt with Harvey and he has listened to me. 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.
“And as we work together on a project bringing my book to the screen, he has always been respectful toward me. He is deeply bothered by his some of his emotional responses. He has been working on his temper for over ten years and is chagrined the issue still plagues him. He recognizes he needs time off to focus on this issue and has much to learn.
“He wants to reach out to teachers with expertise in this area. Harvey is not going to demean or attack any of the women making accusations against him, although he does dispute many of the allegations. Instead, he is going to use this as a painful learning experience to grow into a better man.
“I will continue to work with him personally for as long as it takes. In addition, Harvey has asked me to do a comprehensive review of his company’s policies and practices regarding women in the workplace. I will make recommendations to ensure that gender equality and zero tolerance for workplace misconduct aren’t just goals, but a reality.”
She has since stood down as his attorney.
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