Be­ware of Har­vey

What Hol­ly­wood exec told Rachel Grif­fiths

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JONATHON MO­RAN

IT was the chilling warn­ing given to ac­claimed Aussie ac­tress Rachel Grif­fiths on her ar­rival in Hol­ly­wood: never be alone with Har­vey.

While the We­in­stein Com­pany has done its best to dis­tance it­self from dis­graced founder Har­vey We­in­stein since a flood of sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions emerged against the movie ex­ec­u­tive last month, Grif­fiths has revealed in­sid­ers knew of his ab­hor­rent be­hav­iour decades ago.

Grif­fiths, who was pro­pelled to in­ter­na­tional star­dom off the back of her break­through role in 1994’s Muriel’s Wed­ding, went to Los An­ge­les af­ter We­in­stein’s com­pany Mi­ra­max bought dis­tri­bu­tion rights to the film. “When I landed in Hol­ly­wood af­ter the ac­qui­si­tion of Muriel’s Wed­ding by Mi­ra­max I was pulled aside by a high-rank­ing fe­male from Mi­ra­max and told, ‘Don’t ever be alone in a room with Har­vey, ever,’ ” she said. “I took her ad­vice and never was.”

The scan­dal has revealed a seedy un­der­belly of sex­ual abuse in Hol­ly­wood af­ter dozens of ac­tresses came for­ward with horrific sto­ries of abuse and bul­ly­ing at the hands of We­in­stein. It has since spread to en­gulf other top show­biz names in­clud­ing ac­tor Kevin Spacey and comedian Louis CK.

How­ever, it now ap­pears We­in­stein’s be­hav­iour was an open se­cret among Hol­ly­wood in­sid­ers who failed to do any­thing about it.

Toni Col­lette, who co-starred in Muriel’s Wed­ding, said on In­sta­gram: “I made a slew of films with Mi­ra­max in the ’90s. Within the struc­ture of Hol­ly­wood and the con­text of film­mak­ing in that pe­riod, Har­vey was a cow­boy with a lot of power who seemed to do what­ever he wanted.

“Thank­fully, it never hap­pened to me, how­ever I did hear nu­mer­ous, very real sto­ries about other ac­tresses be­ing sex­u­ally ha­rassed and/or abused by him. He was no­to­ri­ous. I sym­pa­thise with and re­spect those who were abused. You are he­roes for com­ing for­ward.

“The trauma from any kind of abuse can last a life­time. No man has the right to touch any woman with­out her per­mis­sion. Ever.”

The world’s lead­ing bur­lesque per­former Dita Von Teese also de­tailed her ex­pe­ri­ences with We­in­stein yes­ter­day.

“I’ve been to the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val many times (and) all these par­ties with Har­vey We­in­stein … I’ve been to the pri­vate yacht par­ties and it is like an un­spo­ken joke that ev­ery­one had. It is nice to see light be­ing shed on the sub­ject.”

Back in the ’90s Rachel Grif­fiths was warned about Har­vey We­in­stein’s bad rep­u­ta­tion. Pic­ture: Toby Zerna

Grif­fiths and Col­lette in Muriel’s Wed­ding, and (above) We­in­stein.

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