Since rising to fame as one of the central figures of the indie film renaissance in the early 1990s, Miramax and the Weinstein Company co-founder Harvey Weinstein has enjoyed a spot at the very top of the Hollywood food chain.
Weinstein is such a powerful figure that tales of him wielding his clout to secure everything from favorable reviews to Academy Awards are the stuff of legend within the movie industry.
Unfortunately, as is the case with so many powerful men in far too many fields, there’s a dark side to Weinstein’s ascendance that’s come to light slowly thanks to a number of brave women and their willingness to share their stories.
Weinstein’s been accused of sexual assault and harassment several times over the years, but he’s survived each scandal due largely to the tremendous amount of media influence he’s accrued over the years.
In October of 2015, actress Ashley Judd claimed she was harassed by an unnamed producer who was widely assumed to be Weinstein.
“I was sexually harassed by one of our industry’s most famous, admired-slash-reviled bosses,” Judd revealed in an interview with Variety.
“I was making Kiss the Girls at the time, and here I was, a declared feminist … It took years before I could evaluate that incident and realize that there was something incredibly wrong and illegal about it.”
As the account followed closely on the heels of a different Weinstein sexual assault scandal, many believed that Judd was hinting that she had been assaulted by the then-Miramax chief.
Now, the allegations have been confirmed in a scathing New York Times exposé that Weinstein reportedly tried to prevent from being published.
In addition to detailing the abuse against Judd, the Times has published allegations from several women who worked for Weinstein and claim they were groped, harassed, or otherwise abused during their time in his employ.
An investigation by the Times revealed several undisclosed allegations against Weinstein across a thirty-year period.
The mogul has reportedly reached out-of-court settlements with his accusers on eight separate occasions.
The Times piece includes accusations from a temporary Miramax employee who says she was forced to massage Weinstein while he was naked, an episode that left her “crying and very distraught.”
The Times also excerpted a letter written by Weinstein colleague Lauren O’Connor to several execs at TWC that addresses the issue of Weinstein’s ongoing misconduct:
“There is a toxic environment for women at this company,” O’Connor wrote.
“I am a 28 year old woman trying to make a living and a career. Harvey Weinstein is a 64 year old, world famous man and this is his company. The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”
In a statement issued to the Times this afternoon, Weinstein did not deny the allegations against him, saying:
“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.”
Sources say Weinstein will be taking an indefinite hiatus from his company.
We’ll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.