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It has been 25 days since The New York Times broke the dam with details of Harvey Weinstein’s history of alleged sexual misconduct, a pattern of behavior, the paper reported at the time, that stretched over at least three decades.
On Monday, the Times added to its explosive investigation with a new report featuring four new on-the-record accusers, two of whom say that Weinstein raped or assaulted them in the 1970s, a decade that had yet to be included in previous reports. Another accuser, a dancer named Ashley Matthau, said that after Weinstein victimized her in a hotel room, she reached a settlement with him through a lawyer who threatened to “drag you through the mud by your hair” if she chose to go public with their encounter.
The meeting Matthau took with Weinstein’s attorney continues a troubling narrative of this story — one that has been recounted by dozens of victims in the past three weeks — of how the film mogul used lawyers to silence, harass and bully women in to staying silent. By speaking out now, Matthau confirms that she’s breaking her confidentiality clause in order to prevent future abuses. (She follows former Miramax employee Zelda Perkins, who broke her non-disclosure agreement in an interview with Financial Times last week to share a story about a colleague whom she says was assaulted by Weinstein nearly 20 years ago.)
“I want to do my part to help bring this to light so it doesn’t happen with other people in Hollywood or anywhere else,” she told the Times in Monday’s story, written by Ellen Gabler with Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, the latter two who first broke the story for the Times. Ronan Farrow has also penned two major investigative pieces in The New Yorker.
Weinstein’s rep, Sallie Hofmeister, again reiterated to the Times that “any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
It’s impossible to discount the emotional gravity of what these four women share on the record.
Cynthia Burr said she met Weinstein in the 1970s when she was a young aspiring actress in New York. Her manager suggested they meet and they did. After greeting her in the lobby of an old building, Weinstein attempted to kiss her in an elevator, she claims, and later forced her to perform oral sex in a hallway. “The way he forced me made me feel really bad about myself. What are you going to do when you are a girl just trying to make it as an actress? Nobody would have believed me,” said Burr. She continued on with her acting career and has appeared in Scarface, Lethal Weapon and Crossroads Café.
Around the same time period, Hope Exiner d’Amore worked for Weinstein in Buffalo, New York, during his days as a concert promoter with his company Harvey and Corky Productions. She accompanied him on a business trip to the city where they stayed at the Park Lane Hotel. She says that he claimed that the hotel made a mistake with the reservations so they would have to share a room.
That night, she continued, he crawled in her bed and was naked. “I told him no. I kept pushing him away. He just wouldn’t listen,” Exiner d’Amore told the Times. “He just forced himself on me.” Her claims include oral sex and intercourse. When they returned home, she said that he volunteered credit cards for shopping sprees but she declined. She was fired within the month, she said.
Matthau met Weinstein decades later in 2004 in Puerto Rico where she had booked a job on his company’s production of Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. After multiple attempts to secure a private meeting with her, Weinstein ultimately convinced her to get in a car with him. They went to his hotel room, she said, where he pushed her onto a bed, fondled her breasts, straddled her and masturbated while on top of her.
“I kept telling him, ‘Stop, I’m engaged,’ but he kept saying: ‘It’s just a little cuddling. It’s not a problem. It’s not like we’re having sex,’ ” Matthau told the newspaper. Days later, her fiance, Charles, convinced her to hire attorney John S. West, a partner in Gloria Allred’s law firm. (Allred’s daughter, Lisa Bloom, had been representing Weinstein when news broke in early October.)
Matthau and her attorney met with Weinstein and attorney Daniel M. Petrocelli at his favorite hangout, Peninsula Beverly Hills. She claims that Petrocelli said he would “drag you through the mud by your hair,” using her appearances at several Playboy Mansion parties. Instead, she settled for $100,000 and a contract that forbade her to speak of the allegations. (Petrocelli declined comment to the Times.)
The fourth accuser is Lacey Dorn, who met Weinstein when she was fresh to New York from Stanford University. She was 22. They were introduced at a New York Film Festival party for The Artist and later connected at a Halloween party at the Gramercy Park Hotel, where he allegedly grabbed her backside and crotch.
Monday’s piece comes on the heels of a weekend report, also in the Times, featuring an exclusive interview with actress-turned-activist Rose McGowan. She has been at the center of this story for several weeks after the newspaper first reported that she, too, had settled with Weinstein following an incident at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. McGowan later confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Weinstein had raped her in a hotel room at the festival.
McGowan told the paper that she had been negotiating (in the days leading up to the publication of the first story in the Times) with Weinstein through his lawyers to stay silent. The talks included an offer for at least $1 million if she never spoke publicly on the matter. McGowan refused, she says, adding that while she still feels rage about it, she’s settling into other emotions as she watches women continue to come forward with their own stories of Weinstein’s many alleged abuses. “I’ll tell you what I don’t feel anymore,” McGowan said. “Despair.”
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