The recent sexual harassment revelations about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – which led to his resignation – have spurred other women (including several actresses) to come forward with their own stories about the former executive.
A massive report in The New Yorker today alleges that Weinstein’s conduct veered from aggressive unwanted advances into actual sexual assault on several occasions. The report from Ronan Farrow cites the testimony of several women on this matter:
Three women—among them [Asia] Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans—told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex. Four women said that they experienced unwanted touching that could be classified as an assault. In an audio recording captured during a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015 and made public here for the first time, Weinstein admits to groping a Filipina-Italian model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, describing it as behaviour he is “used to.” Four of the women I interviewed cited encounters in which Weinstein exposed himself or masturbated in front of them.
Farrow’s report also cites a number of current former executives and staffers at Weinstein’s companies, who allege that they personally witnessed instances of unwanted touches and advances. They describe a pattern of professional meetings which were little but excuses for Weinstein to make sexual advances on young models and actresses.
In the wake of the New Yorker report, the New York Times has also come out with further reports of sexual impropriety from Weinstein – this time from Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.
Paltrow alleges that Weinstein made sexual advances on her before shooting began on the Jane Austen adaptation Emma. She told the NYT that Weinstein placed his hands on her at his Beverly Hills hotel, and invited her upstairs for massages. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she said.
Jolie told the Times that Weinstein made advances on her in a hotel room back in the late 90s, and she chose never to work with him again as a result.
“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did,” Jolie said. “This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
The NYT report also outlines allegations of sexual harassment from a number of other women in Hollywood, ranging from inappropriate and unwanted advances to groping and other physical contact.
Allegations against Weinstein have been an open Hollywood secret for some time. Media organisations suggest the reason they haven’t been covered before is the clout that Weinstein wields in the industry, and his ability to compel women to remain silent about his alleged crimes. As Farrow outlines in his New Yorker piece, it was too hard to pull a cohesive narrative together:
For more than twenty years, Weinstein has also been trailed by rumours of sexual harassment and assault. This has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence. Too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories.
Seems the cone of silence has finally been lifted.