In some sadly unsurprising news, yet another Hollywood mogul has been accused of some unsavory behaviour behind the scenes. A new exposé from the New York Times suggests that mogul Harvey Weinstein has spent the last few decades sexually harassing employees and potential collaborators.
The producer and owner of awards season mainstay the Weinstein Company has apparently reached "at least eight settlements with women" due to his inappropriate behaviour over the years. The Times suggest that there were previously undisclosed allegations spanning three decades.
While the Times uses many unnamed sources, Ashley Judd was willing to go on the record and detail her uncomfortable experiences with Weinstein.
Judd said that she was invited to Weinstein's hotel room for a business meeting some 20 years ago, at which point the producer asked if she could massage him or watch him shower. "How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?" Judd recalled asking herself.
The allegations have continued to more recent years. Emily Nestor, a temporary employee at the Weinstein Company, was invited to the same hotel, where Weinstein allegedly said he would boost her career if she accepted his sexual advances. Another employee in 2016 was brought to tears in the same hotel after he allegedly pressured her into giving him a massage while he was naked.
A fellow Weinstein Co. employee Lauren O'Connor once wrote a memo to the company that read, "There is a toxic environment for women at this company."
According to the report, Weinstein is said to have reached private settlements with at least eight women (including O'Connor) over accusations of sexual misconduct. Among the accusers who reportedly reached settlements are two former assistants, an actress and an Italian model.
In a statement to the Times, Weinstein said he was planning to see a therapist and take a leave of absence from the company. Weinstein, through his lawyer Lisa Bloom, has also denied "many of the accusations as patently false."
Read his full statement, which oddly features references to JAY-Z and the NRA, below:
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.
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.
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 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.