Po­lice on both sides of At­lantic look into claims against dis­graced mogul

Beck­in­sale is lat­est to speak of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour as Thomp­son says ‘he’s a preda­tor’

The Guardian - - NEWS | WEINSTEIN ALLEGATIONS - Jamiles Lartey New York Kevin Rawl­in­son Lon­don

Po­lice on both sides of the At­lantic are in­ves­ti­gat­ing Har­vey We­in­stein as the scan­dal sur­round­ing the film pro­ducer deep­ens.

In Lon­don, the Metropoli­tan po­lice are as­sess­ing a sex­ual abuse al­le­ga­tion made against We­in­stein. In his home town of New York, po­lice are car­ry­ing out a “re­view” look­ing for new com­plaints.

Scot­land Yard told the Guardian on Thurs­day: “The Met has been passed an al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual abuse by Mersey­side po­lice on Wed­nes­day 11 Oc­to­ber. The al­le­ga­tion will be as­sessed by of­fi­cers from the child abuse and sex­ual of­fences com­mand.” There is no in­di­ca­tion the com­plaint re­lates to child abuse.

Lt John Grimpel of the NYPD said in a state­ment: “Based on in­for­ma­tion ref­er­enced in pub­lished news re­ports, the NYPD is con­duct­ing a re­view to de­ter­mine if there are any ad­di­tional com­plaints re­lat­ing to the Har­vey We­in­stein mat­ter.

“No filed com­plaints have been iden­ti­fied as of this time and as al­ways, the NYPD en­cour­ages any­one who may have in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to this mat­ter to call the CrimeS­top­pers Hot­line at 1-800-577-TIPS.”

The Bri­tish ac­tor Kate Beck­in­sale joined the large group of women ac­cus­ing We­in­stein of in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­duct yes­ter­day in a deeply per­sonal In­sta­gram post.

Beck­in­sale, who starred in sev­eral We­in­stein Com­pany films, re­called her first meet­ing with the pro­ducer when she was 17. Like more than a dozen of the women who have now come for­ward to speak on We­in­stein’s pat­tern of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour, she re­calls be­ing sent to his ho­tel room for a busi­ness meet­ing where he greeted her in a bathrobe.

“A few years later he asked me if he had tried any­thing with me in that first meet­ing. I re­alised he couldn’t re­mem­ber if he had as­saulted me or not,” she wrote.

Beck­in­sale con­cluded her post with a plea to the in­dus­try: “Let’s stop al­low­ing our young women to be sex­ual can­non fod­der and let’s re­mem­ber that Har­vey is an em­blem of a sys­tem that is sick, and that we have work to do.”

She fol­lows a string of other high-pro­file ac­tors, in­clud­ing Gwyneth Pal­trow, An­gelina Jolie, Léa Sey­doux and Cara Delev­ingne, who have ac­cused the pro­ducer of sex­ual ha­rass­ment or as­sault. Three women have ac­cused We­in­stein of rape.

We­in­stein has said many of the de­tails of those ac­counts are in­ac­cu­rate, and has de­nied ac­cu­sa­tions of crim­i­nal sex­ual ha­rass­ment, rape and sex­ual as­sault.

Sal­lie Hofmeis­ter, a spokes­woman for We­in­stein, said on Tues­day: “Any al­le­ga­tions of non-con­sen­sual sex are un­equiv­o­cally de­nied by Mr We­in­stein … With re­spect to any women who have made al­le­ga­tions on the record, Mr We­in­stein be­lieves that all of these re­la­tion­ships were con­sen­sual.”

Last night the ac­tor Emma Thomp­son told BBC News­night that We­in­stein was the top of a lad­der of ha­rass­ment. She said: “What I find ex­tra­or­di­nary is that this man is at the top of a very par­tic­u­lar ice­berg. I don’t think you can de­scribe him as a ‘sex ad­dict’. He’s a preda­tor. That’s dif­fer­ent. But what he’s the top of the lad­der of is a sys­tem of ha­rass­ment and be­lit­tling and bul­ly­ing and in­ter­fer­ence and what my mother would have re­ferred to in the olden days as ‘pes­ter­ing’.”

“Is he pes­ter­ing you?” That’s the word we used to use in the olden days, if you re­call. This has been part of our world women’s world since time im­memo­rial.”

In a state­ment is­sued on Wed­nes­day in re­sponse to his wife’s de­ci­sion to leave him, We­in­stein said: “I sup­port her de­ci­sion, I am in coun­selling and per­haps, when I am bet­ter, we can re­build. Over the last week, there has been a lot of pain for my fam­ily that I take re­spon­si­bil­ity for.”

He was re­ported to be head­ing for treat­ment in Ari­zona. Be­fore he left, We­in­stein told pho­tog­ra­phers in LA: “Guys, I’m not do­ing OK but I’m try­ing. I gotta get help … You know, we all make mis­takes … sec­ond chance I hope.”

But he added: “And you know what? I’ve al­ways been loyal to you guys,” he told the pa­parazzi pho­tog­ra­phers who cap­tured his re­marks, adding “not like those fuck­ing pricks who treat you like shit. I’ve been the good guy.”

As pres­sure grew on celebri­ties to ex­plain what they had known about We­in­stein’s con­duct over a pe­riod of decades, Jane Fonda said she had been told about ac­cu­sa­tions against him last year, and re­gret­ted not speak­ing out about them.

“I wish I had spo­ken out,” the Os­car win­ner told the BBC. “I will ad­mit I should have been braver, I think from now on I will be when I hear such sto­ries.

“I think it’s be­cause if I had I would have had to out some­one that wasn’t pre­pared to speak out. She sub­se­quently has. If it had hap­pened to me I would now.”

The NYPD’s ref­er­ence to “ad­di­tional com­plaints” may re­late to the March 2015 case in which the model, Am­bra Bat­ti­lana Gu­tier­rez, ac­cused We­in­stein of grop­ing her breasts and putting his hand up her skirt dur­ing a meet­ing at his of­fice.

She filed a com­plaint with the NYPD, and met with We­in­stein the next night, sup­ported by an NYPD un­der­cover op­er­a­tion and while wear­ing a wire, ac­cord­ing to the New Yorker, record­ing the pro­ducer ap­pear­ing to con­fess to grop­ing her.

The NYPD said it in­ves­ti­gated a mis­de­meanor sex­ual abuse com­plaint against We­in­stein and the case was re­ferred to the Man­hat­tan dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice. The of­fice de­cided not to file charges.

Ques­tioned about that de­ci­sion at a pub­lic ap­pear­ance in New York on Wed­nes­day, the Man­hat­tan dis­trict at­tor­ney, Cyrus Vance Jr, said: “It’s ob­vi­ously sick­en­ing. But at the end of the day we op­er­ate in a court­room of law, not the court of pub­lic opin­ion, and our sex crime pros­e­cu­tors made a de­ter­mi­na­tion that this was not go­ing to be a prov­able case.”

The Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences said it would hold a meet­ing on Satur­day to dis­cuss al­le­ga­tions against We­in­stein, as spec­u­la­tion grew it would fol­low the lead of its Bri­tish equiv­a­lent, Bafta, in sus­pend­ing his mem­ber­ship.

“The Academy finds the con­duct de­scribed in the al­le­ga­tions against Har­vey We­in­stein to be re­pug­nant, ab­hor­rent, and an­ti­thet­i­cal to the high stan­dards of the Academy and the cre­ative com­mu­nity it rep­re­sents,” it said in a state­ment.

We­in­stein could face five to 25 years in prison on sex­ual as­sault charges if the lat­est abuse al­le­ga­tions are tried in crim­i­nal court, le­gal ex­perts told the Guardian. Specif­i­cally, the claims de­scribed by Lu­cia Evans, a for­mer as­pir­ing ac­tor, rise to the level of a felony rape un­der New York laws.

Be­cause a crim­i­nal con­vic­tion could be dif­fi­cult to achieve, how­ever, pros­e­cu­tors may be re­luc­tant t to file crim­i­nal charges.

‘Let’s stop al­low­ing our young women to be can­non fod­der. Har­vey’s an em­blem of a sick sys­tem’ Kate Beck­in­sale

I thought might be ca­pa­ble of ac­tion and I re­alised their hands were tied and they weren’t will­ing to help me in the way I hoped, so I just buried it.

“You think you go into the film busi­ness be­cause you think it is this free-think­ing, lib­er­ally minded in­dus­try, but it ac­tu­ally could not be more op­po­site. It is as an­ti­quated, as sex­ist and rigged as they come.

“What I’m in­ter­ested in talk­ing about is the af­ter­math of a trauma like that. I’ve had friends call this week af­ter the New York Times pieces came out, some who are now re­ally fa­mous, who knew about it at the time and they say ‘this was the mo­ment it changed for you’. It was mas­sively dam­ag­ing, it’s the sin­gle most dam­ag­ing thing that’s hap­pened in my life.”

She said that she had buried her mem­o­ries of that in­ci­dent decades ago un­til this week when dozens of ac­tors, in­clud­ing An­gelina Jolie, Gwyneth Pal­trow and Cara Delev­ingne, had stepped for­ward with al­le­ga­tions of un­wel­come sex­ual over­tures and as­sault.

Lon­don and New York po­lice have said they have opened un­spec­i­fied in­ves­ti­ga­tions into We­in­stein.

We­in­stein has said he re­alised his be­hav­iour with col­leagues had “caused a lot of pain”. He said: “I sin­cerely apol­o­gise for it,” as the first al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct emerged a week ago.

He has sub­se­quently un­equiv­o­cally de­nied “any al­le­ga­tions of non-con­sen­sual sex” and a spokes­woman said that he never re­tal­i­ated against women who re­fused his sex­ual ad­vances.

“Mr We­in­stein ob­vi­ously can’t speak to anony­mous al­le­ga­tions, but with re­spect to any women who have made al­le­ga­tions on the record, Mr We­in­stein be­lieves that all of these re­la­tion­ships were con­sen­sual.”

Pho­to­graph: Eric Char­bon­neau/ Rex Pic­tures

Kate Beck­in­sale in 2004 with We­in­stein, whom she says acted in­ap­pro­pri­ately when she was 17 – and years later said he could not re­mem­ber whether he had ‘tried any­thing’

Emma Thomp­son, top, said Har­vey We­in­stein is ‘at the top of the lad­der of a sys­tem of ha­rass­ment, be­lit­tling and bul­ly­ing’. Jane Fonda said she was told of the pro­ducer’s be­hav­iour last year and now re­grets not speak­ing up at the time

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