Sex claims against We­in­stein mul­ti­ply

More ac­tresses come for­ward with sto­ries of ha­rass­ment, as­sault by Hol­ly­wood movie mogul

The Herald (South Africa) - - WORLD - Veronique Dupont and Michael Mathes

THE avalanche of as­sault ac­cu­sa­tions against Har­vey We­in­stein grew as more ac­tresses came for­ward with ex­plo­sive charges against the movie mogul, whose lurid be­hav­iour has opened a Pan­dora’s Box of Hol­ly­wood ha­rass­ment and hypocrisy.

The new claims landed as the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences as well as the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val or­gan­i­sa­tion de­clared the abu­sive be­hav­iour re­pug­nant, but also as film fig­ures warned that such ac­tions had gone vir­tu­ally unchecked in an in­dus­try that for years had seen it­self in a pro­gres­sive light.

The We­in­stein rev­e­la­tions were just the tip of the ice­berg, com­edy ac­tor and di­rec­tor Rob Sch­nei­der told TMZ.

“There’s not one ac­tress who doesn’t have a story,” he said, adding that he him­self had ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ual ha­rass­ment by a male di­rec­tor when younger.

Amid the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion, the academy, which has awarded 81 Os­cars to We­in­stein films pro­duced by Mi­ra­max and then the We­in­stein Com­pany, an­nounced it would con­vene a meet­ing to­mor­row to dis­cuss the al­le­ga­tions against We­in­stein and any ac­tions war­ranted by the academy.

We­in­stein, 65, has de­nied all charges, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from his spokes­woman Sal­lie Hofmeis­ter.

On Wed­nes­day, she of­fered “no com­ment” when asked about re­ports We­in­stein was head­ing to Europe to en­ter a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fa­cil­ity.

His com­pany, The We­in­stein Com­pany, has in­sisted it knew noth­ing of the mogul’s al­leged mis­con­duct.

But the New York Times re­ported on Wed­nes­day night that it had in fact been aware as far back as 2015 of set­tle­ments paid to three or four women.

The Times quoted a lawyer, David Boies, who rep­re­sented We­in­stein when his con­tract was up for re­newal in 2015.

The Times also said that last week We­in­stein had sent mem­bers of the com­pany board an e-mail say­ing they knew about those pay­offs.

It quoted what it called peo­ple who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity about the con­fi­den­tial com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

The scan­dal has rocked Hol­ly­wood, with the list of the Os­car-win­ner’s ha­rass­ment vic­tims also re­port­edly now in­clud­ing Gwyneth Pal­trow, An­gelina Jolie, Rosanna Ar­quette and French ac­tress Ju­dith Go­dreche.

But a new an­gle to al­le­ga­tions emerged on Tues­day when three women, in­clud­ing an Ital­ian film star, claimed that We­in­stein had raped them.

The We­in­stein Com­pany board has sacked him, and his wife Ge­orgina Chap­man told celebrity magazine Peo­ple she was leav­ing We­in­stein, with whom she has two chil­dren.

“I am pro­foundly dev­as­tated. I have lost my wife and kids, whom I love more than any­thing else,” We­in­stein told The New York Post. “I hope one day we can rec­on­cile.”

The abun­dance of charges has sent tremors through the Demo­cratic Party, whose heavy­weights Hil­lary Clin­ton and Barack Obama stand ac­cused of hav­ing waited too long af­ter the rev­e­la­tions broke to dis­avow their friend and party donor.

Repub­li­cans have launched with­er­ing ac­cu­sa­tions that lib­eral elites were pro­tect­ing one of their own, as those in Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s party de­manded that Democrats jet­ti­son the con­sid­er­able con­tri­bu­tions made by the movie mogul to var­i­ous Demo­cratic can­di­dates. – AFP

HAR­VEY WE­IN­STEIN

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