After decades of smoke surrounding inappropriate behavior by vaunted Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, the New York Times is officially yelling “fire,” with an explosive report that alleges Weinstein and his company have been burying sexual harassment allegations for years.
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s exhaustive report details an ongoing pattern of Weinstein harassing young women — a mix of actors, assistants, and 20-something women looking to find a foothold in the entertainment industry — and negotiating settlements if they ever made formal complaints. The article opens with actor Ashley Judd recounting how, 20 years ago, Weinstein allegedly made her meet him in his hotel room before asking her to watch him shower, among other explicit requests.
While there are many more women who have made complaints, Kantor and Twohey report, “Mr. Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women” over three decades.
In his initial statement, Weinstein told the New York Times that he “appreciate[s] 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.”
Through both his own statements to the Times and his attorneys, Weinstein has denied the breadth of the charges against him, while paradoxically acknowledging his part in perpetuating a culture of harassment. But the common thread throughout his contradictory reactions is Weinstein and his attorneys’ assertion that his age is the mitigating factor in the predatory behavior he apparently exhibited over the years.
In a second, lengthier separately published statement, Weinstein reiterated that he knows his age isn’t an excuse for mistreating women, while providing his age as an excuse for mistreating women. “I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then,” he writes to open the statement, which goes on to explain that he’s being tutored by his attorney Lisa Bloom in the ways of being decent and that he will now “channel his anger” about his own behavior at the NRA. It also (inaccurately) quotes Jay Z’s “4:44.”
Shortly after the report published, Weinstein attorney Charles Harder announced that Weinstein will sue the New York Times for publicizing “false and defamatory statements,” with the proceeds being donated “to women’s organizations.”
As per the New York Times, "dozens of Mr. Weinstein's former and current employees, from assistants to top executives said they knew of inappropriate conduct while they worked for him.” But the reason it took nearly 30 years for a report of this nature to come out may be explained by the following sentence: “Only a handful said they ever confronted him."
You can read the full New York Times report here.
Updated to reflect that Weinstein will now be suing The New York Times.
Correction: This piece originally said the allegations against Weinstein stretched over 30 years, when the original Times piece said “over nearly three decades.” We've updated this piece to better reflect the time period.