Cast­ing couch mogul says wife will ‘be kick­ing my ass’

Sunday Times - - NEWS -

Har­vey We­in­stein says his Bri­tish fash­ion de­signer wife is stand­ing by him “100%” and “will be kick­ing my ass to be a bet­ter hu­man be­ing”, af­ter he was ac­cused of decades of sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

Ge­orgina Chap­man, the 41-year-old founder of the March­esa la­bel, mar­ried We­in­stein, 65, in 2007 and the pair have two chil­dren. She de­clined to com­ment af­ter the New York Times de­tailed al­le­ga­tions against the Hol­ly­wood movie mogul.

We­in­stein told the New York Post: “She stands 100% be­hind me. Ge­orgina and I have talked about this at length. Ge­orgina will be kick­ing my ass to be a bet­ter hu­man be­ing and to apol­o­gise to peo­ple for my bad be­hav­iour; to say ‘I’m sorry,’ and to ab­so­lutely mean it.”

Bikini screen test

The New York Times pub­lished a litany of al­le­ga­tions about be­hav­iour that had been go­ing on for decades, in­clud­ing that We­in­stein ap­peared naked before his staff in ho­tel rooms and asked them for mas­sages and that they watch him take a shower.

Ac­tresses Ash­ley Judd (Di­ver­gent) and Rose McGowan (who played a witch in the TV se­ries Charmed) were among those who ac­cused the film-stu­dio ex­ec­u­tive of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour.

Jes­sica Hynes, who stars in the BBC com­edy se­ries W1A, claimed this week that she lost a role af­ter re­fus­ing to wear a bikini.

“I was of­fered a film role at 19. Har­vey We­in­stein came on board and wanted me to screen test in a bikini. I re­fused & lost the job,” she tweeted, adding: “I’m sure there are many more . . .”

As We­in­stein faced be­ing os­tracised in Hol­ly­wood, he also looked set to be­come a po­lit­i­cal pariah.

A high-pro­file sup­porter of the Demo­cratic Party, the mogul has given an es­ti­mated $1.4-mil­lion (R19-mil­lion) to can­di­dates and cam­paigns since 1990. That in­cluded $25 000 to Hil­lary Clin­ton and a five-fig­ure sum to for­mer president Barack Obama.

At least four Demo­crat sen­a­tors, in­clud­ing El­iz­a­beth War­ren of Mas­sachusetts, who re­ceived $5 000 for her 2012 po­lit­i­cal cam­paign, said they were now giv­ing the do­na­tions to char­ity.

De­spite apol­o­gis­ing for “bad be­hav­iour”, We­in­stein is now threat­en­ing to sue the New York Times for $50-mil­lion. He has hired Charles Harder, the Los Angeles lawyer who forced the clo­sure of gos­sip web­site Gawker af­ter win­ning a $140-mil­lion ver­dict for wrestler and ac­tor Hulk Ho­gan when the site posted a sex tape.

Reck­less re­port­ing

We­in­stein is­sued a con­trite state­ment af­ter the news­pa­per pub­lished its story. “I ap­pre­ci­ate the way I’ve be­haved with col­leagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sin­cerely apol­o­gise for it,” he said. “Though I’m try­ing to do bet­ter, I know I have a long way to go.” But he then ac­cused the New York Times of “reck­less re­port­ing”, and con­firmed that he was su­ing.

“What I am say­ing is that I bear re­spon­si­bil­ity for my ac­tions, but the rea­son I am su­ing is be­cause of the Times’s in­abil­ity to be hon­est with me, and their reck­less re­port­ing,” he said.

“They told me lies. They made as­sump­tions. The Times had a deal with us that they would tell us about the peo­ple they had on the record in the story, so we could re­spond ap­pro­pri­ately, but they didn’t live up to the bar­gain.”

The news­pa­per claimed the pro­ducer had reached at least eight set­tle­ments with women. We­in­stein told the Post: “No com­pany ever talks about set­tle­ments, and nei­ther does the re­cip­i­ent, so I don’t know how the Times came to this con­clu­sion, but it is pure con­jec­ture.”

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

Pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein and his wife Ge­orgina Chap­man.

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