Years of Sexual Harassment Allegations Have Emerged Against Film Producer Harvey Weinstein

The New York Times has reported that major Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein committed sexual harassment towards actresses, employees and interns throughout the past 30 years. Reports of these incidents were revealed primarily through emails and internal documents from Weinstein's businesses, Miramax and the Weinstein Company.

Actress Ashley Judd, known for her roles in Where the Heart Is and the Divergent franchise, is a notable name tied to the report, sharing about a 1997 encounter with Weinstein. The film mogul invited her to a breakfast meeting in his Beverly Hills hotel suite, where Weinstein wore a bathrobe and repeatedly asked if he could give her a massage. Judd rejected this proposal, leading to Weinstein asking if she would watch him take a shower.

"I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back to me with some new ask," Judd told The Times. "It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining." 

Judd felt "panicky" and "trapped" in the situation, feeling pressured because of Weinstein's prominent influence in the film industry. "How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?" she said she thought at the time. 

Temporary employee Emily Nestor claims that, in 2014, Weinstein offered to help her in her career if she accepted his sexual proposals. Lauren O'Connor, another Weinstein employee, detailed his inappropriate behavior in a 2015 memo she wrote to company executives. When she received an undisclosed settlement from Weinstein after sending the memo, she withdrew her statement. 

"There is a toxic environment for women at this company," she 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: zero, Harvey Weinstein: 10."

The Times investigation revealed previously undisclosed sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, who reached at least eight settlements with women over this decades-long span. One of Weinstein's lawyers, Lisa Bloom, said that her boss "denies many of the accusations as patently false."

"I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it," Weinstein said in a statement exclusively for The Times. "Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go." 

Several current and former employees have admitted that they were aware of Weinstein's behavior, but only a few tried to confront him about it. 

"I came of age in the '60s and '70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different," Weinstein explained in his statement. "That was the culture then."

Weinstein is best known for his producer credits on films such as Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love, Pulp Fiction and The King's Speech. He has maintained a public persona as a champion for women, distributing the campus sexual assault documentary The Hunting Ground, campaigning for Hillary Clinton and even hiring Malia Obama as a company intern. 

The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Weinstein will sue The New York Times for its report, as an attorney said that it "relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report...which has been debunked by nine different eyewitnesses. We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish."

Weinstein will also take a leave of absence from his company.