New York Post
WEINSTEIN IN R-RATED SHOCK
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed actresses and female assistants over the past three decades — including Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd — and paid off at least eight women to settle complaints about his lewd behavior, according to a bombshell exposé Thursday.
The women, most in their early to mid-20s at the time, claimed the producer would appear near or fully naked, make them watch him bathe or give him a massage, and, in at least one instance, press a young temp for sex, The New York Times reported.
Some of Weinstein’s targets were paid $80,000 to $150,000 each to make their complaints go away, the Times said, with “Scream” actress McGowan, then 23, getting $100,000 in 1997 over an incident that took place during the Sundance Film Festival.
After the report was published, Weinstein, 65, issued a statement in which he said he’ll “take a leave of absence from my company” and “spend more time with a therapist.”
Actress Judd told the Times that she was filming 1997’s “Kiss the Girls” when Weinstein — who has five kids and has been married to fashion designer Georgina Chapman since 2007 — lured her to his hotel room.
Judd said she showed up at the Peninsula Beverly Hills for a planned breakfast meeting but instead was sent up to his suite and subjected to a series of come-ons.
She said the co-founder of the successful Miramax production company offered to give her a massage or a shoulder rub, solicited her advice on what he should wear, and even asked whether she wanted to watch him shower.
“I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” she told the Times. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”
Judd, who was not among the women the Times said received settlements, described feeling “panicky, trapped” and recalled thinking, “How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?”
She escaped by joking that the only way she would let Weinstein touch her was if she first won an Oscar in one of his films.
“There’s a lot on the line, the cachet that came with Miramax,” she explained to the Times.
Judd’s mom, singer Naomi Judd, told the Times that her daughter confided in her about what happened a short time afterward.
Ashley Judd, who appeared in two Weinstein films years later, also said he was the unidentified producer she described in a 2015 Variety report in which she first revealed the alleged harassment.
Judd said she decided to identify him because “women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”
The Times report was the first in an anticipated one-two punch against Weinstein, 65.
On Wednesday, Variety reported that NBC “Today” reporter Ronan Farrow — son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow — was writing a takedown piece for The New Yorker.
The Times said the women who settled with Weinstein included Italian model Ambra Battilana, who accused him of grabbing her breasts and putting his hand up her skirt in his Tribeca Film Center office in March 2015.
Battilana’s allegations were investigated by the NYPD’s Special Victims Division, which had her secretly record a call in which Weinstein admitted getting “a little frisky,” sources said. Prosecutors declined to file charges.
In 2014, the Times said, Weinstein invited a temporary em- ployee, Emily Nestor, to the Peninsula on her second day of work and offered to boost her career if she accepted his advances.
The next year, he allegedly hounded an assistant into giving him a massage at the hotel while he was naked, after which she was “crying and very distraught.”
An account of that incident was relayed to execs at the Weinstein Company — which Weinstein cofounded with his younger brother, Bob, after they sold Miramax for $60 million — in a memo written by an employee, Lauren O’Connor, who described “a toxic environment for women at this company,” the Times reported.
O’Connor’s 2015 letter said Weinstein had her discuss casting with aspiring actresses after they met privately with him in his hotel room, leading her to suspect she and other assistants were being used to set up Weinstein with “vulnerable women who hope he will get them work,” the Times said.
Months before O’Connor wrote her letter, another young female employee reportedly quit because she felt she was being used to arrange trysts for Weinstein.
O’Connor also reportedly described getting profanely berated by Weinstein and told she should marry a “fat, rich Jewish” man because she was fit only for “being a wife” and “making babies.”
“I am a 28 year old woman trying to make a living and a career. Harvey Weinstein is a 64 year old, world famous man and this is his company,” she reportedly wrote. “The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”
Weinstein Company execs and board members, including brother Bob Weinstein, were alarmed by the letter but decided not to investigate after O’Connor struck a deal with Harvey, canceled a complaint she filed with human resources and sent a note thanking him for the career opportunity, the Times said.