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Tina Brown knows Harvey Weinstein well: Brown left her plum position editing The New Yorker in the late 1990s to go into business with Weinstein and Miramax Films and start a new, ill-fated magazine called Talk.
On Tuesday, she described her experience working with him (The New York Times described their relationship as a “strained collaboration” in 2002) and weighed in on the scandalous allegations made against him over the last few days.
“What I learned about Harvey in the two years of proximity with him at Talk was that nothing about his outward persona, the beguiling Falstaffian charmer who persuaded — or bamboozled — me into leaving The New Yorker and joining him, was the truth,” Brown wrote. “He is very Trumpian in that regard. He comes off as a big, blustery, rough diamond kind of a guy, the kind of old-time studio chief who lives large, writes big checks and exudes bonhomie. Wrong. The real Harvey is fearful, paranoid, and hates being touched (at any rate, when fully dressed).”
Brown also served as chairwoman of Talk Miramax Books, and said in her piece on Tuesday that she noticed strange contracts on the books, “book deals with no deadline attached authored by attractive or nearly famous women.” She said one such contract was with a private-plane stewardess.
Brown also described Weinstein’s efforts to kill bad press. “Harvey spent most of the hours of his working day ensuring that all the bad stories went away, killed, evaporated, spun into something diametrically its opposite,” she wrote.
Sizing up the outpouring of stories about Weinstein’s misconduct, Brown wrote: “It takes one brave whistleblower and then two to get the ball rolling and give the shattered sharers of the same story permission to speak out to The New York Times. Kudos to Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, and now all the many new voices captured by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker. Harvey is an intimidating and ferocious man. Crossing him, even now, is scary. But it’s a different era now. Cosby. Ailes. O‘Reilly, Weinstein. It’s over, except for one — the serial sexual harasser in the White House.”
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