On Wednesday, the New York Times published a bombshell report of allegations that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed women for decades.
The publication interviewed “dozens” of current and former employees as well as people in the film industry, and went over legal records, emails, and internal documents from the businesses he has run, Miramax and the Weinstein Co., to compile the story. And the story is a disturbing one.
Weinstein, who has won six Best Picture Oscars, doesn’t seem to be shying away from many of the allegations as he has issued a lengthy apology for his behavior.
Here are six things you need to know about the explosive report:
He’s settled many times before: Amid allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact, Weinstein has reached “at least eight settlements with women” over the course of nearly three decades, two anonymous company sources tell the Times .
Let’s not forget that Weinstein has been married go Georgina Chapman, the co-founder of fashion label Marchesa, since 2007 and was married to his ex-wife, Eve Weinsten, from 1987 to 2004.
While declining to comment on any specific accusations, Weinstein said he had settled because “my motto is to keep the peace.” The article notes that most of the women who accepted payouts agreed to confidentiality clauses prohibiting them from speaking about the settlement or events leading up to it.
According to records and those familiar with the agreements, per the Times, recipients include: a young assistant in New York in 1990, an actress in 1997, an assistant in London in 1998, an Italian model in 2015, and former employee Lauren O’Connor, also in 2015.
There’s a smoking gun memo: At the center of the article is O’Connor, whose 2015 memo is one of the article’s most detailed sources. In it, she detailed sexual harassment allegations and misconduct by Weinstein over a two-year period. She apparently wrote the memo after her colleague said she had been “badgered” into giving her boss a massage while he was naked. It would appear the Times got its hands on the memo, as it quotes many excerpts.
“There is a toxic environment for women at this company,” O’Connor wrote, saying it’s equally as toxic for aspiring actresses, as she suspected she and other employees were being used to facilitate liaisons with “vulnerable women who hope he will get them work.”
“I am just starting out in my career, and have been and remain fearful about speaking up,” O’Connor also penned. “But remaining silent is causing me great distress… the balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”
Read another poignant line, “I am a professional and have tried to be professional. I am not treated that way however. I am sexualized and diminished.”
The memo rattled the board and Harvey’s brother, Bob Weinsten, as it came from a well-trusted employee. Even Harvey called her “fantastic,” “a great person,” and “a brilliant executive.” The board insisted an outside lawyer investigate to see if her damning allegations were true, but it never got that far. Weinstein and O’Connor reached a settlement and she withdrew her complaint six days later. She also wrote a letter to her former boss thanking him for the opportunity to learn about the entertainment industry.
Rose McGowan is the 1997 actress: According to a legal document reviewed by the Times, Weinstein paid the actress $100,000 after an incident in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival. McGowan was just 23 at the time and fresh off of her success in Scream, in which they worked together. According to the document, the settlement was “not to be construed as an admission” by Mr. Weinstein, but intended to “avoid litigation and buy peace.”
Ashley Judd also had an inappropriate encounter: In 2015, the actress revealed during an interview that she had been sexually harassed by one of the “industry’s most famous” men, but declined to give a name. Judd has now gone on record with the Times confirming that man was Harvey Weinstein.
Twenty years ago, Weinstein requested that she have a meeting with him at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel (one of his favorite spots), and she was puzzled when she was then summoned to his room. There, he allegedly asked if he could give her a massage or if she would watch him shower.
“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” Judd said she remembers thinking. “I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask. … It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”
She added, “Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”
A lot of incidents were in a hotel room: Practically all complaints painted a similar picture, as the Times interviewed eight women with slightly varying versions.
Weinstein would allegedly invite a woman to his hotel room where he then made inappropriate requests. In exchange for a massage, watching him undress, or bathe, he would help advance their career. This offer applied to actresses, employees, or anyone looking to get ahead in Hollywood. The women were typically in their early or mid-20s and hoping to move up in the film industry.
However, if you were a junior employee, your job description was a bit altered. Apparently, some women’s duties included getting Weinstein out of bed in the morning and doing “turndown duty” at night. Former employee O’Connor referenced those disturbing requests in a scathing memo addressed to several executives at the Weinstein Co.
Weinstein has apologized, is working with a therapist, and taking a leave of absence: In a statement to Yahoo, Weinstein says, “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 added that he is working with therapists and will take a leave of absence to “deal with this issue head on.”
“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. I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office — or out of it,” he says. “To anyone. I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed. … My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons.”
The producer then quoted Jay Z’s song, “4:44.”
“‘I’m not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children,'” he continues. “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.”
Weinstein says during his leave of absence from the Weinstein. Co., he is “going to give the NRA my full attention.”
He concludes, “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 organizing 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.”
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