Sex claims against Weinstein multiply
More actresses come forward with stories of harassment, assault by Hollywood movie mogul
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