The New York Times and The New Yorker recently published a detailed history of Harvey Weinstein's sexually harassing actresses. What was apparently one of Hollywood's secrets was all too familiar to many A-list stars. For those of you unfamiliar with Weinstein, he's a famed film producer and studio executive known for critically acclaimed movies like Gangs of New York, Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love. Until recently, his predatory history has been unknown to the public, but apparently has been happening in Hollywood for over three decades.
The first woman to come forward was notable actress Ashley Judd, who recalled that Weinstein invited her to his hotel room for a "meeting" greeted her in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage and watch him take a shower. Afraid to upset one of the biggest names in the business, Judd fled and kept quiet about the incident. Until now. “How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” she recalled.
The number of women Harvey Weinstein legitimately harassed is hard to put into numbers as many of the women were certainly silenced with threats from the past. But as many as 30 have come forward with accounts of Weinstein's unwanted advances, many beginning with offers of shoulder rubs or Weinstein naked under hotel bath robes. The accounts follow the same formula of Weinstein abusing his power as a movie producer, attempting to manipulate young actresses, some no older than 20, into sexual acts.
Gwenyth Paltrow is one of the biggest names to come forward about Weinstein. At 22, she had just landed a role in the Weinstein film Emma. Weinstein called Paltrow to his hotel room for a meeting that started off tame enough but ended with his hands on the star. Weinstein suggested that they go to the bedroom for massages, but Paltrow refused. She told The Times:
"She refused his advances, she said, and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Mr. Pitt confronted Mr. Weinstein, and soon after, the producer threatened her not to tell anyone else about his come-on. “I thought he was going to fire me,” she said.
When Mr. Weinstein tried to massage her and invited her into the bedroom, she immediately left, she said, and remembers feeling stunned as she drove away. “I thought you were my Uncle Harvey,” she recalled thinking, explaining that she had seen him as a mentor."
Brad Pitt approached Weinstein at a premiere soon after and told him to "never put a hand on her again." Pitt verified the incident to The Times. Not long after Pitt approached Weinstein, Weinstein called Paltrow and screamed at her for telling her boyfriend. "It was brutal," Paltrow recalls. She would keep silent for many years, including when she was cast in Shakespeare in Love - a production Weinstein would fund and work on.
Angelina Jolie has since come forward about Weinstein's advances towards her, saying, "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,” she said in an email. “This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
Following the Times' reporting Weinstein released this statement, "I realized 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 apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go."
Weinstein has since been fired by Weinstein Productions and has been left by his wife, Georgina Chapman.
To read in further detail about the women who have come out against him, click here.