Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein believes that accusations of sexual harassment on his part are part of a vast right-wing "conspiracy" to bring down the big donor to Democratic causes, according to the DailyMail.com.
The New York Times is reporting that the founder of the Miramax film company has been accused of reaching at least eight settlements with women for sexually harassing behavior going back three decades. He is said, for example, to have paid actress Rose McGowan $100,000 in a settlement for an incident shortly before her breakthrough role in the horror movie Scream, and to have asked hysterical feminist activist/actress Ashley Judd to watch him shower (a horror show in itself).
Weinstein, 65, issued an apologetic statement to the Times in which he said that "the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it." And yet he also plans to sue the Times, claiming that its article is full of lies and that some of their material came from private company personnel records.
The Times alleges that Weinstein used his star-making power in Hollywood to try to take advantage of women, many of whom reported meeting him at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, where he would make advances toward them. They include Lauren O'Connor, a female assistant who says Weinstein gave her a massage in 2015. "I am a 28 year old woman trying to make a living and a career," she wrote in a memo to the company's human resources department. "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."
Judd said she was invited up to Weinstein's room 20 years ago where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could massage her or watch him shower. She remembered thinking, "How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?"
She soon got another invitation and was asked to give him a shoulder rub, according to the Daily Mail, or to watch him shower again. Judd said, "I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask. It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining."
Weinstein also reportedly reached a settlement with an Italian model after she accused him of sexual harassment in 2015 at his office in Manhattan.
The report also noted that the women generally received between $80,000 and $150,000 in payouts each to make accusations go away. Hollywood insiders are saying Weinstein's behavior is the worst-kept secret in Tinsel Town.
In his statement Weinstein said that he was taking a leave of absence from The Weinstein Company to "deal with this issue head on." He also said he has spent spent the last year taking counsel on gender roles from Lisa Bloom, who has represented victims of sexual assault in prominent cases including against Bill Cosby.
In a statement, Bloom said, "As a women's rights advocate, I have been blunt with Harvey and he has listened to me. I have told him that times have changed, it is 2017, and he needs to evolve to a higher standard. I have found Harvey to be refreshingly candid and receptive to my message. He has acknowledged mistakes he has made. He is reading books and going to therapy. He is an old dinosaur learning new ways."
Weinstein has retained star litigator David Boies and Charles Hader to ready a lawsuit against the New York Times for a story that is "saturated with false and defamatory statements... It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by 9 different eyewitnesses. We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish. We are preparing the lawsuit now. All proceeds will be donated to women's organizations."
According to DailyMail.com, which claims to have been contacted by sources close to Weinstein, he believes that a team of lawyers linked to conservative groups has been digging up dirt on him and that other prominent Democrat supporters are next in line.
The source said,
"Harvey feels he is being set up by a team of people who are out to get him. Nobody is claiming that the New York Times spent any money to get this story done but other organisations may have done. There are are conservative organisations who know he is long-time foe of the NRA, of Donald Trump, and a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Democrats. He believes they are financing a team of lawyers who are digging up these stories.
"There's a political agenda behind this. Harvey feels it's a conspiracy and that's the most interesting part of this, where it originated from, not the erroneous reporting that's going on. He won't be the last; other people like him will be targeted too."
So Weinstein apparently is striking back. He wrote in a statement, bizarrely, that during his time off he intends to go after the National Rifle Association. "I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I've decided that I'm going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope [NRA head honcho] Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I'm going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah."