Harvey Weinstein, the head of The Weinstein Company and one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, is at the centre of a huge scandal at the moment, after The New York Times published a story overnight reporting that he has allegedly sexually harassed women for decades — actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd among them.
Ashley recounted to the publication that one time Harvey summoned her to his hotel room two decades ago, and greeted her wearing his bathrobe. She said that he asked if he could give her a massage, or if she wanted to watch him take a shower. Her thoughts at the time, when she was in this position against someone who could dramatically affect her career? “How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?”
Since the NYT story has come out, the film studio executive has taken leave of absence, and has hired Lisa Bloom, one of Hollywood’s go-to attorneys, to represent him. This move from Lisa is also an interesting one, since she’s the attorney who has defended celebrity clients including Mischa Barton and Blac Chyna in cases involving sexual harassment and assault.
In a statement, Lisa said that “he denies many of the accusations as patently false.”
(Bonus fun fact: Lisa’s mother is renowned feminist attorney Gloria Allred, who represented many of Bill Cosby’s accusers. She released a statement saying she didn’t approve of her daughter representing Harvey: “Had I been asked by Mr. Weinstein to represent him, I would have declined, because I do not represent individuals accused of sex harassment,” she said. “While I would not represent Mr. Weinstein, I would consider representing anyone who accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual harassment, even if it meant that my daughter was the opposing counsel.”)
There have also been plenty of celebrities who have shown their support for the women who’ve spoken out against Harvey, or weighed in on the matter, including Rose, who reached a $100,000 settlement with the film exec in 1997.
“Women fight on. And to the men out there, stand up. We need you as allies. #bebrave,” she tweeted.
She also put out a call for people to stop working with Harvey: “Anyone who does business with __ is complicit. And deep down you know you are even dirtier. Cleanse yourselves.”
Lena Dunham tweeted that the women who have shared their story “deserve our awe,” while Amber Tamblyn shared the link to the NYT story with her followers, with a reminder of why so many women stay silent.
Harvey, 65, who is married to fashion designer Georgina Chapman, has also released a statement about the story.
Another lawyer, Charles Harder, is also working with Harvey to prepare a lawsuit against the NYT, accusing the article of being “saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein.”
Charles said proceeds from the lawsuit would be donated to women’s organisations.