Thursday 19 July 2018

Former Irish film producer wins praise for helping expose decades of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein

US film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives for the Burberry Prorsum show during the 2014 Autumn / Winter London Fashion Week in London on February 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT
US film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives for the Burberry Prorsum show during the 2014 Autumn / Winter London Fashion Week in London on February 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT
Actress Rose McGowan
Lysette Anthony attending the British Soap Awards 2016 at the Hackney Empire, 291 Mare St, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 28, 2016. See PA Story SHOWBIZ Soap. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire
Controversy: Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, pictured with wife Georgina Chapman, stands accused of sexual harassment against several actresses. Photo: Lovekin/WWD/REX/Shutterstock
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A former Irish film producer Laura Madden has been applauded for her bravery in being among the first to speak out against Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct.

Ms Madden, from Co Monaghan, was one of the original complainants to go on the record to the New York Times last week in a report which has snowballed into dozens of more complaints from women, his firing from his production company and removal of memberships from both the BAFTAs and The  Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences. The disgraced producer's wife Georgina Chapman has left him and more allegations of sexual misconduct are emerging daily.

Ms Madden worked as a producer at Miramax in Los Angeles in the early 1990s and she has since relocated from Los Angeles back to her native Monaghan, where she was most recently known to be running a country estate. She said the producer would ask for massages while he was staying at hotels in Dublin and London.

"It was so manipulative," she told The Times. "You consistently question yourself - am I the one who is the problem?" A former colleague of hers said that Madden locked herself in the bathroom of one of his hotel rooms and cried.

Controversy: Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, pictured with wife Georgina Chapman, stands accused of sexual harassment against several actresses. Photo: Lovekin/WWD/REX/Shutterstock
Controversy: Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, pictured with wife Georgina Chapman, stands accused of sexual harassment against several actresses. Photo: Lovekin/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Ms Madden's ex-husband Kevin Allen, a Welsh film producer, branded Weinstein a "repulsive bloke" and praised his ex-wife for her bravery in coming forward.

"Before actually meeting him, I'd heard things about him that would make your toes curl by virtue of my ex wife working as a Miramax production exec at the time, one of many women who have bravely stepped forward to blow the whistle on a litany of appalling acts he has committed," he wrote on Facebook.

"As for the abuse of his many victims - my ex wife included - yes, it was many years ago and I can completely understand how f***ed up it all must have been for a young woman starting off in the film industry - and I can also understand how so many of these young victims remained shtum for so many years."

Mr Allen goes on to criticise Hollywood's elite for its stony silence and those who "turned a blind eye" to the litany of sexual assault allegations over the course of his career. Weinstein also paid off a number of women who complained about his behaviour and then required to sign non-disclosure agreements.

"But, what I really don’t get is how many grown up, seasoned professionals turned a blind eye and allowed this to happen on their watch. Some of whom I know quite well. People who were working very close to him and were fully aware of what he was up to. It’s a disgrace. Just like all those who stood by and watched Saville do what he was allowed to do at the fucking BBC," he added.

Ms Madden did not respond to messages from Independent.ie this week.

Today, British actress Lysette Anthony has accused Weinstein of raping her in her home in the late '80s in what she described as a "pathetic, revolting attack" that left her "disgusted and embarassed" to the Sunday Times.

The 54-year-old said that she met the producer when she starred in 1982 sci-fi film Krull and the alleged assault occurred a few years later.

Lysette Anthony attending the British Soap Awards 2016 at the Hackney Empire, 291 Mare St, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 28, 2016. See PA Story SHOWBIZ Soap. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire
Lysette Anthony attending the British Soap Awards 2016 at the Hackney Empire, 291 Mare St, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 28, 2016. See PA Story SHOWBIZ Soap. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

"He pushed me inside and rammed me up against the coat rack... and started fumbling at my dressing gown," she told The Sunday Times. "He was trying to kiss me and shove inside me." The actress pushed him away but he was too heavy. "Finally I just gave up," she said.

On Wednesday, Anthony tweeted that she had just reported a historical crime, adding "feel sick... so sad". The Metropolitan Police said it was passed an allegation of sexual assault by Merseyside Police the same day. "The allegation will be assessed by officers from Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command," the force said.

American actress Rose McGowan publicly accused Weinstein of raping her on Twitter on Thursday. In a never before published interview from January of this year, the former Charmed star said she was advised against filing a police report because a criminal lawyer told her she was unlikely to win.

"Also, I didn't want his name next to mine in my obituary; his name doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as mine when I’m dead," she said. She says she was threatened afterwards and "blacklisted" from Hollywood.

"They threatened [me] with being blacklisted. I was blacklisted after I was raped, because I got raped, because I said something … but only like internally, you know," she said, according to The Guardian's Observer magazine.

Weinstein reached a settlement with McGowan, according to the report by The Times.

"I actually have a signed document from the time of the attack. It was settled for a very small settlement, so that’s an admission of guilt, she said."I had three surgeries on my wrist and elbow. I think that’s fair enough."

Actress Rose McGowan
Actress Rose McGowan

McGowan said she has been in touch with NYT reporter David Carr for years about her story, but didn't want to publicise it yet as she felt the "public consciousness is not there".

"All allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein," a spokesperson for Weinstein said.

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