The New York Times has published a staggering array of sexual harassment allegations against top Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – stretching back decades – leading to a statement from Weinstein himself and the announcement of a lawsuit against the Times.

The full report, which has been foreshadowed over the past few days as Weinstein’s threats to keep it quiet became public, can be found over at the NYT. The crux of it is that Weinstein has allegedly fostered a “toxic environment” at his production companies Miramax and The Weinstein Company.

The Times article outlines a number of complaints from staffers and actresses who have worked with Weinstein over the years:

In 2014, Mr. Weinstein invited Emily Nestor, who had worked just one day as a temporary employee, to the same hotel and made another offer: If she accepted his sexual advances, he would boost her career, according to accounts she provided to colleagues who sent them to Weinstein Company executives. The following year, once again at the Peninsula, a female assistant said Mr. Weinstein badgered her into giving him a massage while he was naked, leaving her “crying and very distraught,” wrote a colleague, Lauren O’Connor, in a searing memo asserting sexual harassment and other misconduct by their boss.

According to the Times, Weinstein has reached settlements with at least eight women over these allegations, including a $100,000 settlement with actress Rose McGowan.

Weinstein issued a statement to the Times, in which he said he came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when “the rules about behavior and workplaces were different,” and that he apologises for the way he has behaved with colleagues in the past. The full statement is here:

I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different.

That was the culture then. I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office – or out of it. To anyone.

I realised some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed.

I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it.

Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment. My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons. Over the last year I’ve asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me and she’s put together a team of people. I’ve brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women and regret what happened. I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with Lisa to learn more. Jay Z wrote in 4:44 “I’m not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children.” The same is true for me. I want a second chance in the community but I know I’ve got work to do to earn it. I have goals that are now priorities. Trust me, this isn’t an overnight process. I’ve been trying to do this for 10 years and this is a wake-up call. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them.

I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organising a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom and I won’t disappoint her.

It’s definitely an odd statement – especially the weird digression at the end about National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre. If it was a way of pointing out a random personality who is worse than Weinstein, it wasn’t the most graceful way of doing it.

Despite the fact he seems quite apologetic in this letter, it doesn’t mean he’s not seeking legal redress from the New York Times. In an email to The Hollywood Reporter, Weinstein’s lawyer Charles Harder says that he will be suing the Times over “false and defamatory statements” in their report.

“The New York Times published today a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein,” Harder wrote in his email. “It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by 9 different eyewitnesses.

“We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish. We are preparing the lawsuit now. All proceeds will be donated to women’s organisations.”

Weinstein – along with his brother Bob Weinstein – is known best for ascending into Hollywood stardom through their independent and arthouse productions through the 80’s and 90’s.

He – and his companies – are known best for their string of successful indie productions like Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies and Videotape, The Crying Game and Clerks.

Source: New York Times
Image: Getty Images