Weinstein sex scandal goes global
THE case against Harvey Weinstein has taken on an international dimension, with police in New York and Britain launching investigations – while a fourth woman accused the movie mogul of rape.
An avalanche of claims of sexual harassment, assault and rape by the hugely influential Hollywood producer have surfaced since the publication last week of an explosive New York Times report alleging a history of abusive behaviour dating back decades.
On Thursday, US actress Rose McGowan became the fourth woman to accuse Weinstein of raping her.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department meanwhile confirmed it was investigating a 2004 case, but provided no details.
The New York Daily News reported that the case involved aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who earlier told the New Yorker magazine that Weinstein had forced her to perform oral sex on him.
McGowan berated Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a blistering series of tweets on Thursday, claiming she had told Amazon Studios chief Roy Price that Weinstein had raped her but was ignored.
“Over and over I said it. He said it hadn’t been proven. I said I was the proof,” she wrote.
Amazon Studios later said that Price – who has also been accused of sexual harassment by TV producer Isa Hackett – was “on leave of absence effective immediately”.
On Wednesday, Weinstein was seen in public for the first time in days when paparazzi descended upon him as he left his daughter’s home in Los Angeles.
“Guys, I’m not doing OK but I’m trying,” he said in a video obtained by ABC. “I got to get help. You know what, we all make mistakes.”
As he climbed into an oversized sports utility vehicle, he said he hoped people would give him “a second chance”.
The TMZ website reported that Weinstein later flew to Arizona to enter a rehabilitation centre, possibly The Meadows, a facility northwest of Phoenix where golfer Tiger Woods and supermodel Kate Moss have been treated.
The allegations against a man who is a prominent supporter of liberal causes and a major Democratic Party fundraiser sent tremors through the party, with conservatives accusing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton of waiting too long to disavow Weinstein.
Obama eventually said he was “disgusted” and Clinton that she was “appalled” by the alleged acts.
The allegations against one of cinema’s titans – a man whose studio has garnered more than 300 Oscar nominations – have shaken Hollywood, which has long battled a reputation for exploiting female actors, bypassing female directors and overlooking female-centred scripts.
Weinstein’s accusers include top actresses such as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino, Kate Beckinsale and actor/singer Ashley Judd. — AFP