Beware of Harvey
What Hollywood exec told Rachel Griffiths
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.