There’s another huge article about Harvey Weinstein in the New York Times today, this one uncovering how he managed to keep people quiet about his alleged offences using his connections with powerful figures in media, and his skill for weaponising gossip about his accusers. Much of it we’ve read before in some way or another, but there’s some very intriguing reporting on the connections between Weinstein and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

It’s no secret that Weinstein had connections in the upper echelons of the Democratic machine, as he was a known big money donor to the party and other liberal causes in the United States. After the allegations surfaced, Clinton said she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations,” and denied any knowledge.

In the NYT article, campaign surrogate Lena Dunham says she brought her concerns about Weinstein and the Hollywood rumours about him to the attention of the campaign team:

In 2016, Lena Dunham, the writer and actress, said she was troubled by the producer’s visible presence during Mrs. Clinton’s presidential run, hosting fund-raisers and appearing at campaign events. She had heard stories, both directly and secondhand from other actresses, about disturbing encounters with him, she said. So in March last year, Ms. Dunham, a vocal Clinton supporter, said she warned the campaign.

“I just want you to let you know that Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point,” Ms. Dunham said she told Kristina Schake, the campaign’s deputy communications director. She recalled adding, “I think it’s a really bad idea for him to host fund-raisers and be involved because it’s an open secret in Hollywood that he has a problem with sexual assault.”

The article alleges that if Clinton did indeed receive this warning – or any others in the same vein – she didn’t do anything about it. She was still meeting with Weinstein after her election loss planning with him a possible TV show about her campaign.

Dunham – who has recently faced backlash for her own treatment of sexual assault allegations – told the NYT that she has “an incredible allegiance to Hillary,” and doesn’t believe her warning reached as high as Clinton, but said her complaints fell of deaf ears with lower level campaign managers.

Nick Merrill, the communications director on Clinton’s campaign, issued a statement denying Dunham came to them with serious allegations:

We were shocked when we learned what he’d done. It’s despicable behaviour, and the women that have come forward have shown enormous courage. As to claims about a warning, that’s something staff wouldn’t forget … Only [Dunham] can answer why she would tell them instead of those who could stop him.

The whole article is worth a read.

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