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Entertainment: More allegations, including rape, emerge as Harvey Weinstein scandal deepens

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More allegations, including rape, emerge as Harvey Weinstein scandal deepens

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The scandal that has exploded around ousted Hollywood studio chief Harvey Weinstein has deepened dramatically following a series of explosive allegations of rape and a secret recording allegedly capturing Weinstein trying to lure a model to his room.

The revelations, in The New Yorker magazine, come just days after The New York Times revealed a pattern of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, by the mogul which dates back decades.

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Weinstein scandal deepens and darkens

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Weinstein scandal deepens and darkens

Rape, harassment and intimidation are just a few allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in an explosive New Yorker article.

Meanwhile, two of Hollywood's most powerful actresses - Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow - have also come forward with separate accounts of falling prey to Weinstein's harassment.

Both Jolie and Paltrow made statements to the Times.

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"I had a bad experience ... and as a result chose never to work with [Weinstein] again and warn others when they did," Jolie said. "This behaviour towards women in any field, any country, is unacceptable."

The incident involving Paltrow occurred during the filming of Emma in 1996, when she was dating actor Brad Pitt. She later told Pitt, who allegedly confronted Weinstein. Pitt verified Paltrow's statement to the Times, the paper said.


In related developments, Weinstein's wife Georgina Chapman has announced she is leaving the couple's marriage and Cate Blanchett, Hillary Clinton and the Obamas added their voices to a growing chorus of disgust at Weinstein's alleged behaviour.

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The scandal has dethroned one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, and exposed a deep ly entrenched culture of sexual harassment in which actresses and other women working with him were targets of his unwanted advances.

The explosive claims in The New Yorker magazine follow a 10-month investigation by NBC journalist Ronan Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and filmmaker Woody Allen.

The magazine report includes accounts from three women who claim they were forced into sex with Weinstein, including an account from Italian actress Asia Argento in which she said she was lured to the Hotel du Cap on the French Riviera to a "party" but instead pressed into a non-consensual sexual situation by Weinstein.

"The thing with being a victim is I felt responsible," Argento told Farrow. "Because if I were a strong woman I would have kicked him in the balls and run away. But I didn't. And so I felt responsible."

A second woman, former actress Lucia Evans, told the magazine she was coerced into performing oral se x on Weinstein.

"I tried to get away but maybe I didn't try hard enough," Evans told Farrow. "I didn't want to kick him or fight him. He's a big guy. He overpowered me."

And a third, who asked not to be named, alleged she was invited to a hotel on the pretext of a "meeting" and sexually assaulted by Weinstein

Complicating their testimony, in some cases the women continued to have relationships with Weinstein.

"I was in a vulnerable position and I needed my job," the third, unnamed, woman said. "It just increases the shame and the guilt."

A statement from Weinstein's representatives provided to The New Yorker denied "allegations of non-consensual sex".

The magazine report also included testimony from Oscar winner Mira Sorvino and actress Rosanna Arquette.

And in another stunning account, model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez alleges she was invited to meet Wei nstein at his office but left when he "lunged at her, groping her breasts".

She later went to a New York police station to report the assault and, after speaking to investigators from the special victim's division, met Weinstein with a police wiretap to record the second interaction.

That recording was played in full to Farrow, New York magazine says.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office has released a statement confirming Gutierrez's testimony but says the wiretap which was done with the co-operation of the New York police was done so without their involvement.

As a result, chief assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman-Agnifilo says, the wiretap did not obtain the necessary admissions from Weinstein to proceed with a criminal charge.

"If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015 we would have," Friedman-Agnifilo says.

"Mr Weinstein's pattern of mistreating women, as recounted in recent reports, is disgraceful and shocks the conscience."

"While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent," she added.

"Subsequent investigative steps undertaken in order to establish intent were not successful. This, coupled with other proof issues, meant that there was no choice but to conclude the investigation without criminal charges."

Friedman-Agnifilo said any individual who feels she may have been the victim of a crime by Weinstein should contact the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

As headline compounded headline, Weinstein's wife Georgina Chapman announced she was leaving the couple's marriage.

"My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions," she said.

"I hav e chosen to leave my husband; caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time."

Australian actress Cate Blanchett also added her voice to the chorus of disapproval from Hollywood's most influential actresses and actors.

"Any man in a position of power or authority who thinks it's his prerogative to threaten, intimidate or sexually assault any woman he encounters or works alongside needs to be called to account," Blanchett said. "It is never easy for a woman to come forward in such situations and I wholeheartedly support those who have."

​Both former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle also issued statements disavowing the mogul.

"I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein," Clinton said. "The behaviour described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior."

And a statement from the Obamas said the couple were "disgusted" by what they had seen reported in the media.

"Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status," the statement said.

Since the first allegations were made public last week Weinstein and his company have both been in damage control.

Weinstein has hired a crisis PR firm in Los Angeles to manage the situation, while the company's board voted to sack him and are investigating their options around changing the company's name.

Notably in the original Times piece was testimony from actress Ashley Judd of a meeting with Weinstein in which she was asked to meet at his hotel, where he met her dressed in only a bathrobe and asked if she would massage him or watch him shower.

A day after the Times piece was published, television journalist Lauren Sivan related an encounter with Weinstein at a restaurant in which he masturbated into a pot plant after she refused his advances.

High-profile actors include Lena Dunham, Brie Larson, Amber Tamblyn and Seth Rogen, and the director Judd Apatow, were among the first to speak out against Weinstein, as was the actress Rose McGowan.

Others have followed: Meryl Streep called it "disgraceful", Dame Judi Dench called the allegations as "horrifying" and Glenn Close said she was "angry and darkly sad" and praised "the monumental courage of the women who have spoken up".

Weinstein's representatives said "any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein [and] there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.

"Mr Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual."

The statement noted Weinstein has "begun counselling".

"[He has] listened to the community and is pursuing a better path," the statement said. "Mr Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance."

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