Paltrow, Jolie join flood of allegations against Weinstein
An avalanche of allegations poured out Tuesday against Harvey Weinstein in on-the-record reports that detailed claims of sexual abuse and included testimonies from Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, further intensifying the already explosive collapse of the disgraced movie mogul.
Three women accused Weinstein of raping them in a story published online by The New Yorker, including Italian actress Asia Argento and a woman who was an aspiring actress in college when she caught Weinstein’s eye. A representative for the mogul vehemently denied the allegations in a statement to the magazine.
In a follow-up to its earlier expose, The New York Times also reported Tuesday that many other actresses have in recent days added to the chorus of accusations surrounding Weinstein. Paltrow described Weinstein’s attempt to lure her, then 22, into giving him a massage in a hotel room. The incident prompted her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt to angrily confront Weinstein at a film premiere.
Both reports significantly ratcheted up the unfolding scandal surrounding Weinstein, who was fired Sunday from the Weinstein Co. They not only describe a mounting number of alleged incidents, but thoroughly document the systematic harassment, abuse and intimidation of women – almost always young actresses trying to succeed in movies.
Lucia Evans, then a senior at Middlebury College, said Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 at the Miramax offices in Tribeca. She had been brought in for a casting meeting with Weinstein. Argento, an actress and director, said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999. A third woman spoke anonymously.
“I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento told The New Yorker. “That’s why this story – in my case, it’s 20 years old, some of them are older – has never come out.”
Attorneys for Weinstein did not immediately return messages Tuesday. The New Yorker quoted Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister responding that “any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
“Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that 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,” said Hofmeister. “Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, 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.”
The New Yorker story, written and researched by NBC correspondent Ronan Farrow, claimed that 13 women have said Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them between 1990 and 2015. The incidents described range from unwanted groping to forced sex. Some of those incidents overlap with the eight allegations of sexual harassment previously reported by The New York Times, all of which resulted in financial settlements.
But they also go much further. In the article, Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino are among those who claim Weinstein sexually harassed them. Arquette described a 1990s incident at a Beverly Hills hotel in which Weinstein tried to make her give him a massage and then attempted to lead her hand to his penis. Afterward, the actress told the magazine, “He made things very difficult for me for years.”
In a statement on Twitter on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton said she was “shocked and appalled” by the revelations about Weinstein. She praised the women coming forward: “Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”
Clinton has been a beneficiary of the Weinstein family’s donations. She said nothing about those donations in her statement.