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NBC anchor/reporter Ronan Farrow, in what he says was a 10-month investigation, spoke with three women who claim the movie mogul forcibly performed or received oral sex and forced vaginal sex.
In the story, Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director who starred in crime drama B. Monkey, distributed by Miramax, spoke out. Argento outlines a 1997 incident, when she was 21, where she was told by one of Weinstein’s producers that there would be an industry party at the Hotel du Cap on the French Riviera, only to be escorted to a hotel room that was empty save for Weinstein. He then asked her for a massage, after which he spread her legs apart and performed oral sex on her, despite her repeated pleas for him to stop.
“I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” said Argento in the piece. “That’s why this story — in my case, it’s 20 years old, some of them are older — has never come out.”
A former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans told Farrow that, in 2004, before she began her senior year of college, Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him. She recalled saying no repeatedly, and then, “I just sort of gave up.” Evans continued: “That’s the most horrible part of it, and that’s why he’s been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it’s their fault.”
A third woman, who asked not be named in the story, worked with Weinstein and went to his hotel room under the guise of a work meeting. Weinstein changed into a bathrobe and forced himself on her sexually. She says after the rape, she continued to have professional contact with Weinstein through her work. “I was in a vulnerable position and I needed my job,” she told Farrow. “It just increases the shame and the guilt.”
Farrow says he also spoke to 16 current and former TWC employees, who witnessed or had direct knowledge of Weinstein’s sexual harassment, including unwanted touching, in the workplace or at events for the company’s projects.
Actress Mira Sorvino, who starred in the Miramax movies Mimic and Beautiful Girls, recalled how, in 1995, Weinstein chased her around a room and, on one occasion, showed up after midnight at her apartment: “I opened the door terrified.”
Weinstein responded to The New Yorker via his spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister. The mogul’s new statement read: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
The statement added: “Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
The New Yorker story comes on the heels of Thursday’s New York Times exposé by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey that outlined decades of sexual harassment claims leveled against the Hollywood movie mogul. On Sunday, The Weinstein Co. board terminated Weinstein. The attorney for the mogul, Charles Harder, said the same day he was preparing a lawsuit against the Times over “false and defamatory statements.” The paper has defended its reporting.
Weinstein has not given any interviews beyond a conversation with Page Six, in which he said of the claims that “I also have the worst temper known to mankind, my system is all wrong, and sometimes I create too much tension. I lose it, and I am emotional, that’s why I’ve got to spend more time with a therapist and go away.”
Weinstein is now being represented personally by David Boies and Harder. On Thursday, Harder emailed The Hollywood Reporter saying they are prepping a lawsuit against the Times. There has been no word yet from the Weinstein camp on what legal action, if any, will be taken against The New Yorker.
The women in Farrow’s New Yorker piece are the latest in a days-long whirlwind of victims coming forward with their own stories of harassment at the hands of Weinstein. This includes TV news reporter Lauren Sivan, who told HuffPost how the mogul had cornered her in a New York City restaurant a decade ago, masturbated and then ejaculated into a potted plant. On Tuesday, Gloria Allred announced a press conference with another Weinstein sexual harassment accuser, a former film actress and screenwriter.
On Monday, actresses Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Judi Dench, all of whom have starred in Weinstein movies, publicly denounced his alleged behavior.
Amid the emerging claims, Bob Weinstein and TWC president/COO David Glasser have taken control of the company. TWC is going to lengths to distance itself from Harvey Weinstein and begin to rebrand, removing his name from the credits of upcoming film and television projects and mulling a company name change that may be announced as soon as the next few days.
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