Saturday 17 March 2018

New York attorney general calls Weinstein lawsuit ‘most despicable case’

His comments come as a new BBC film investigates the Weinstein scandal.

Harvey Weinstein (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Harvey Weinstein (Jonathan Brady/PA)

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

The attorney general who filed a lawsuit against Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein has claimed the case is one of the most despicable he has ever worked on.

Eric Schneiderman filed the suit against Weinstein and the Weinstein Co last month following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

In a new BBC Panorama film to air Thursday night, the New York attorney general claims there was “not one formal investigation” by the Weinstein Co into the producer’s behaviour despite “lots of complaints”.

Evening Standard Film Awards – London

He added: “It’s sort of unfathomable.

“It is very difficult for anyone who looks at the documents that we’ve seen to, to believe that there wasn’t at least some knowledge that he was engaged in sexual misconduct.

“We’ve never seen anything as despicable as this.”

Weinstein, 65, has been accused of sexual harassment, assault and rape by around 100 women, including from global stars Rose McGowan, Asia Argento, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, since October when revelations first broke.

Some cases date back to the 1980s while there are police inquires ongoing in LA, New York and London. He denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

The 60-minute BBC film, produced with PBS Frontline, builds a picture of Weinstein through interviews with alleged victims, former colleagues and Hollywood figures.

Paul Webster, former head of production of Miramax, said he “didn’t have the guts” to confront Weinstein.

He said: “I think looking back that I did know and I chose to suppress it. I chose to hide from that fact. I think the deal I made with the devil was to my advantage.”

Rose McGowan (PA)

Among the alleged victims interviewed are actors Katherine Kendall and Sean Young, while Paula Wachowiak, a former intern at Miramax, recalled Weinstein laughing when she said he “disgust(ed)” her.

Model Zoe Brock told documentary makers: “I just remember feeling so small and so inconsequential and so powerless.

“I came out of the bathroom and he was apologising … and he started to cry. And he said something that I have never forgotten and I never will for the rest of my days, in between his tears ‘you don’t like me because I’m fat’.”

A spokeswoman for Weinstein told the film makers: “Mr Weinstein categorically denies ever engaging in any non-consensual sexual conduct with anyone and any suggestion that he acted improperly to defend himself against such claims is simply wrong.

“Nevertheless, to those offended by Mr Weinstein’s behaviour, he remains deeply apologetic.

“At no time has Mr Weinstein been charged with any crime and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate clams of impolitic behaviour or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct.

“Mr Weinstein categorically denies these claims and his lawyers will respond in the appropriate legal forum with evidence proving they are untrue.”

– Weinstein: The Inside Story airs on Thursday night at 9pm on BBC One.

Press Association

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Also in this section