We­in­stein ef­fort back­fires

In a pub­lished quote, the mogul, while deny­ing guilt, says he of­fered jobs for sex.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Richard Win­ton richard.win­ton@latimes.com

Be­lea­guered pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein’s lat­est ef­fort to un­der­mine the piles of al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual vi­o­lence against him back­fired badly Fri­day when a sup­pos­edly friendly colum­nist quoted him as say­ing that he had traded act­ing jobs for sex.

We­in­stein, fac­ing a po­ten­tial life sen­tence af­ter be­ing in­dicted in New York on mul­ti­ple sex crime felonies, was look­ing for a sym­pa­thetic ear when he turned to the Bri­tish Spec­ta­tor magazine so­ci­ety colum­nist Taki Theodor­a­cop­u­los with the of­fer of an ex­clu­sive on two of his most prom­i­nent ac­cusers, ac­tresses Rose McGowan and Asia Ar­gento.

But in the in­ter­view pub­lished Fri­day, We­in­stein seem­ingly ad­mit­ted for the first time that he did use his busi­ness to get sex­ual fa­vors.

In the ar­ti­cle, We­in­stein was quoted as say­ing: “You were born rich and priv­i­leged and you were hand­some. I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get some­where. You got lots of girls, no girl looked at me un­til I made it big in Hol­ly­wood. Yes, I did of­fer them act­ing jobs in ex­change for sex, but so did and still does ev­ery­one. But I never ever forced my­self on a sin­gle woman.”

The words rum­bled across so­cial me­dia glob­ally and cre­ated a new le­gal headache for We­in­stein’s le­gal team. While keep­ing his long-main­tained po­si­tion that all his sex acts were con­sen­sual, the quote ac­knowl­edged he was es­sen­tially us­ing his power to get sex.

Shortly af­ter pub­li­ca­tion, We­in­stein’s at­tor­ney Ben­jamin Braf­man, who was present for what he said was a so­cial visit by the colum­nist, de­nied his client said such a thing. “I was present for the con­ver­sa­tion; it was not an in­ter­view, but a so­cial meet­ing be­tween old friends,” Braf­man said in a state­ment to The Times on Fri­day. “Har­vey and Taki did not dis­cuss the case, nor would I al­low him to…. Mr. We­in­stein never said any­thing about trad­ing movie roles for sex­ual fa­vors. You have my word that Har­vey did not say that.”

We­in­stein’s pub­lic re­la­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tive also added a state­ment from Theodor­a­cop­u­los, walk­ing back the story. “Af­ter 41 years as a Spec­ta­tor colum­nist with­out a sin­gle re­trac­tion, I be­lieve that I may have mis­rep­re­sented Har­vey We­in­stein's con­ver­sa­tion with me in New York last month,” Theodor­a­cop­u­los said in a state­ment. “It was my mis­take. We were dis­cussing Hol­ly­wood and I may have mis­un­der­stood cer­tain things about the meth­ods of that place. … It was, af­ter all, a so­cial visit.”

We­in­stein’s team would not say whether the con­ver­sa­tion was recorded.

Theodor­a­cop­u­los was the lat­est per­son meant to sell a story that would hurt McGowan’s and Ar­gento’s al­le­ga­tions of rape and sex­ual as­sault against We­in­stein and ques­tion state­ments the two have made about the re­cent sui­cide of Ar­gento’s boyfriend, the revered chef and jour­nal­ist Anthony Bour­dain. Theodor­a­cop­u­los’ col­umn crit­i­cized the #MeToo move­ment spawned by the ac­cu­sa­tions against We­in­stein and wrote that he had “doubts about women who come out of the wood­works years later” with rape al­le­ga­tions.

“This is a clear lie,” McGowan tweeted. “Nice try, rapist.”

More than 80 women have ac­cused We­in­stein of mis­con­duct, in­clud­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment and rape. Po­lice in Los An­ge­les, Beverly Hills, New York and Lon­don have con­ducted in­ves­ti­ga­tions into more than 20 al­le­ga­tions. We­in­stein was ar­rested in May and ini­tially pleaded not guilty to charges of rap­ing a woman twice in New York in 2013 and forc­ing an as­pir­ing ac­tress to give him oral sex in 2004 at his of­fice.

He pleaded not guilty this week to a new in­dict­ment that charges him with one count of a crim­i­nal sex­ual act in the first de­gree, for al­legedly per­form­ing forced oral sex on a third woman in July 2006 at his Man­hat­tan apart­ment.

Al Seib Los An­ge­les Times

HAR­VEY WE­IN­STEIN, left, with brother Bob, in 2012. The pro­ducer’s lawyer said, “Mr. We­in­stein never said any­thing about trad­ing movie roles for sex­ual fa­vors” in a magazine in­ter­view. “You have my word.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.