Wednesday 22 January 2020

Don't forget all that I did for women in film, says Weinstein

Controversy: Harvey Weinstein leaves Manhattan Criminal Court using a walker, following a hearing last week. Photo: Bryan R Smith/AFP via Getty
Controversy: Harvey Weinstein leaves Manhattan Criminal Court using a walker, following a hearing last week. Photo: Bryan R Smith/AFP via Getty

George Ryan

Harvey Weinstein, whose alleged behaviour ignited the #MeToo movement, has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women since 2017.

Yet the 67-year-old Hollywood producer told the 'New York Post' that his advocacy and support of women in the industry has been eviscerated by the allegations.

"I feel like the forgotten man. I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I'm talking about 30 years ago. I'm not talking about now when it's vogue, I did it first. I pioneered it," he said.

For example, Gwyneth Paltrow in 2003 earned $10m (€9m) making 'View from the Top', a movie Weinstein produced at Miramax, he told the 'Post', noting that Paltrow was the highest-paid actress in an independent film.

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Among others, the Weinstein Company also released Felicity Huffman's 'Transamerica' in 2005, and 'Paris is Burning' in the early 90s, both films with impactful social justice agendas. "This was a company that took social issues and tackled them," Weinstein added.

"I want this city to recognise who I was instead of what I've become."

Anger: Ashley Judd has condemned Weinstein
Anger: Ashley Judd has condemned Weinstein

Weinstein agreed to Friday's interview, his first in more than a year, at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Centre, following a three-hour spinal surgery to treat injuries sustained in a car accident in August.

The goal, he said, was not to boast about his accomplishments or comment on the upcoming criminal case, but to clarify his medical condition and put to rest rumours that circulated last week about his use of a walker at a Manhattan courthouse to garner sympathy. The 'Post' published the interview on Sunday, igniting immediate reactions, many from his accusers.

A list of 23 women, including Katherine Kendall and Caitlin Dulany, as well as actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, signed a statement according to ABC News, saying in part: "He says in a new interview he doesn't want to be forgotten. Well, he won't be. He will be remembered as a sexual predator and an unrepentant abuser who took everything and deserves nothing. He will be remembered by the collective will of countless women who stood up and said enough."

Kendall, in a statement, said: "He seems disturbingly out of touch. What he did shattered countless women's lives. It's time now to listen to the women, it's time for us to reclaim our power."

Dulany called Weinstein's interview "self-promotion gone terribly bad".

Lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents several Weinstein accusers, said: "Whatever he has done professionally for women may or may not be relevant at the time of sentencing if he is convicted. For now, any attempt by him to recast his tattered reputation or to appear to ask for sympathy will only serve to trigger many of those who allege that they are victims of Mr Weinstein."

Weinstein is set to go on trial on sex-crimes charges in Manhattan Supreme Court on January 6, stemming from allegations of sexual assault in 2006 and the rape of another woman in 2013. The native of Queens, New York, has denied all wrongdoing.

He has been free on $1m bail since his arrest last year. His bail was raised last week, pursuant to New York's new criminal justice statutes.

Last week, the 'New York Times' reported Weinstein and his former film studio reached a tentative $47m settlement, of which about $25m will compensate women who choose to participate and have accused him of sexual misconduct. (© Washington Post)

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