Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed at least three women inside the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel — including actress Ashley Judd — and has reached eight or more settlements with women he made unwanted advances against, according to a just-published New York Times story.
Judd told reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey about an incident 20 years ago in which the Miramax and Weinstein Company co-founder met her for breakfast wearing a bathrobe, asking if she would let him give her a massage or watch him shower. In 2015, an assistant found herself giving naked Weinstein a massage; this came just one year after a former Weinstein Company temporary employee was offered professional breaks in return for servicing Weinstein sexually.
The 3,500-word exposé alleges that Weinstein’s wrongdoing against women went on for three decades. Dozens of current and former employees told The Times that they knew about their boss’s behavior — “It wasn’t a secret to the inner circle,” said Bob Weinstein’s onetime assistant, Kathy DeClesis — yet few stood up to him, fearing for their careers.
“There is a toxic environment for women at this company,” said Lauren O’Connor, a co-worker of the woman who says she gave Weinstein the massage. Laura Madden, a former employee, said she was also asked for massages from “manipulative” Weinstein in Dublin and London circa 1991. “You constantly question yourself — am I the one who is the problem?” she said. The Times reported that Weinstein’s victims range in age from early 20s to late 40s.
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Weinstein knew this article was coming: news broke on Oct. 3 that he’d assembled a team of lawyers and PR crisis specialists, and he joked in a statement, “The story sounds so good I want to buy the movie rights.” Today, he was more resigned when he told The Times, “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.”
Weinstein also said he is currently in therapy, announcing that he’s taking a leave of absence from his Weinstein Company duties. The father of five has been married to fashion designer Georgina Chapman since 2007.
One of his attorneys, Lisa Bloom, best known for advocating on behalf of sexual assault victims, described her client as “an old dinosaur learning new ways.” Journalist Ronan Farrow is reportedly readying a separate story for The New Yorker about Weinstein’s offenses.