Weinstein executives describe 'culture of complicity' at the company
Allegations against Harvey Weinstein have caused his wife to leave him and highlighted the 'casting couch culture' of Hollywood. Who will be the next big name to be exposed?
Hollywood and political power players have lined up to condemn Harvey Weinstein, including George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Lena Dunham. Also Michael Keaton, Meryl Streep, Emmy Rossum and Hillary Clinton. Picture: AP Photo/File.Source:AP
AS ALLEGATIONS of sexual harassment mount up against Harvey Weinstein, one d etail has become disturbingly familiar.
In some of the hotel rooms around the world where actresses claimed they were propositioned or harassed, an agent or assistant was also there, only to disappear at a critical moment before Weinstein would make his alleged move.
It was described by New Zealand model Zoe Brock, who wrote how Weinstein and his assistant, Ben Silverman ânever left my sideâ in Cannes in 1997 when she was âHarveyedâ.
She said the gang were partying with others until cars separated and the âenergy shiftedâ. She asked Ben to contact her friends and he left to call them.
âAnd suddenly I was alone in a remote hotel suite with Harvey f**king Weinstein,â she wrote. After she refused to give him a massage, she said Silverman returned looking âashen and uncomfortableâ.
âHe couldnât meet my eye. I had really liked him too. I felt so betrayed and used,â she said, adding that she suspects her agent was âin on the ruseâ .
âMy instincts tell me he was,â she wrote. âEvery time I tell it Iâm disgusted, all over again, at the insidious âbro-codesâ that many men subscribe to. A code that says itâs OK to enable your friends and employers to intimidate, threaten and manipulate women into sexual situations against their will.â
Cara Delevingne said she was relieved to see a female assistant in the room, only to have to avoid her sexual advances in front of Harvey Weinstein. Picture: AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISSource:AFP
Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have both added to claims against Harvey Weinstein. Picture: AP Photo/File.Source:AP
A similar situation was described by Cara Delevingne this week who revealed she was told to go to Weinsteinâs hotel room by an assistant, despite feeling uncomfortable about it.
âWhen I arrived I was relieved to find another woman in his room and thought immediately I was safe,â she wrote on Instagram.
âHe asked us to kiss and she began some sort of advances upon his direction. I swiftly got up and asked him if he knew that I could sing,â she said, adding that she dodged a kiss on the way out as well.
French Bond actress Lea Seydoux said the nature of the open secret is the âmost disgusting thingâ about the mounting allegations.
âEveryone knew what Harvey was up to and no one did anything,â she told The Guardian while recounting her own experience. âItâs unbelievable that heâs been able to act like this for decades and still keep his career. Thatâs only possible because he has a huge amount of power.â
The disgraced mogul has apologised for his actions but denied raping anyone, saying he believed sexual relations were consensual. Picture: Al Powers/Invision/AP, File.Source:AP
The âculture of complicityâ at the Weinstein company is something 16 current and former executives who said they had witnessed or knew about unwanted sexual advances described to The New Yorker this week.
The paper wrote employees âdescribe a pattern of professional meetings that were little more than thin pretexts for sexual advances on young actresses and models.â
Some workers claimed they had been âenlisted in subterfuge to make the victims feel safeâ.
âA female executive with the company described how Weinstein assistants and others served as a âhoney potâ â" they would initially join a meeting, but then Weinstein would dismiss them, leaving him alone with the woman,â Ronan Farrow reported.
It comes as more Hollywood players step forward to claim they had been subject to Weinsteinâs unwelcome advances. Three women have accused him of rape, with another four claiming he masturbated or exposed himself in front of them.
Overnight, Weinstein spoke publicly for the first time since the accusations came to light, telling reporters outside his daughter Remyâs Los Angeles home: âGuys, Iâm not doing OK but Iâm trying. I got to get help. You know what, we all make mistakes. ... A second chance, I hope.â
Weinsteinâs spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister has also said: âAny allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Wein stein.
âWith respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.â
âMr Weinstein has begun counselling, 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.â
The movie mogul previously admitted he would try to âconquer my demonsâ and would work with therapists to âdeal with this issue head onâ in a statement to The New York Times.
âI realised some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed,â he said.
âI appreciate the way Iâve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it.â
Actress Hilarie Burton has renewed an earlier allegation that actor Ben Affleck groped her during a visit to MTV's TRL in 2003. Affleck tweeted an apology on Wednesday. Picture: Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)Source:AP
Weinstein has been fired by the board of his company, The Weinstein Company, which plans to change its name.
In a statement on Tuesday night, the four-member board of directors strongly denied that it knew about Weinsteinâs behaviour.
âThese alleged actions are antithetical to human decency. These allegations come as an utter surprise to the board. Any suggestion that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false,â the statement said.
âWe are committed to assisting with our full energies in all criminal or other investigations of these alleged acts, while pursuing justice for the victims and a full and independent investigation of our own.â
However, legal experts are sceptical the company could have been unaware given the volume of allegations.
âGiven all the information thatâs coming out now, I would find it highly implausible that the board was not aware,â said Angela Reddock-Wright, who specialises in employment law.
âThere are just too many allegations here.â
â" with wiresSource: Google News