Saturday 21 July 2018

Jolie and Paltrow join list of women to accuse Weinstein

Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow
Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow

Joe Nerssessian in New York

The 'New Yorker' magazine has reported that 13 women have now claimed that movie producer Harvey Weinstein either sexually harassed or assaulted them, including three who said they had been raped.

In the article, a spokeswoman for Weinstein denied the claims. Reuters was unable to independently confirm any of the claims. Weinstein and several of the women cited in the article did not immediately reply to emailed requests for comment.

Weinstein's spokeswoman, Sallie Hofmeister, was quoted in the article as saying: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein.

"He obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual."

The 'New York Times' published an article last week in which it was alleged that Weinstein had sexually harassed several women, including actress Ashley Judd, over the last 30 years.

Apologised

Weinstein (65) last week initially apologised for causing anyone pain and said he was seeking therapy. However, he later threatened to sue the 'New York Times'. He was fired at the weekend from his job as co-chairman of The Weinstein Company.

Actresses Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino also spoke on the record to the 'New Yorker' and said they had been subjected to unwanted sexual attention from Weinstein.

Meanwhile, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are the latest actresses to accuse the veteran film producer of sexual harassment.

Paltrow said she was left "petrified" after Weinstein propositioned her when she was just 22, while Jolie vowed never to work with him again after a "bad experience" as a young actress.

Speaking to the 'New York Times', Paltrow claimed that Weinstein summoned her to his suite at a Beverly Hills hotel after he had hired her as a lead for the 1996 hit 'Emma'. She said he placed his hands on her and suggested that they head to the bedroom for massages.

She told the newspaper: "I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified," adding that she confided in her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt, who confronted Weinstein. This, she said, led to Weinstein threatening her not to tell anyone else.

"I thought he was going to fire me," Paltrow said.

In an email statement to the same publication, Jolie said: "I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth and as a result chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did.

"This behaviour towards women in any field, in any country, is unacceptable."

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who received major donations from Weinstein during her unsuccessful campaign to win the American presidency, said that she was "shocked and appalled" by the revelations concerning Weinstein.

In a post that was shared by her communications director Nick Merrill and subsequently retweeted by her, Ms Clinton said: "The behaviour described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated.

Meanwhile, A former actress and screenwriter says Harvey Weinstein appeared in an open bathrobe with no clothes on during a meeting at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Louisette Geiss says Weinstein asked several times that she watch him masturbate during the 2008 encounter.

Geiss made the allegations yesterday during a news conference with attorney Gloria Allred, who invited Weinstein to meet with his alleged victims in a mediation or arbitration process.

Geiss said in a statement that she is coming forward to help give voice to other alleged victims of sexual harassment. She said her experience with Weinstein led to her departure from the entertainment industry. She now works in real estate.

Stars including Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch have thrown their support behind the women accusing him of sexual harassment, while Ben Affleck said reading the rape allegations made him "sick".

Indefensible

George Clooney has called Weinstein's alleged behaviour "indefensible" in an interview where he suggested it was well known that the Weinstein Co chairman was "a dog".

He said few understood that the conduct constituted "harassment on a very high level."

In remarks to the 'Daily Beast' on Monday night, Clooney credited Weinstein for giving him his first big break as an actor in 'From Dusk Till Dawn' and as a director in 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind'.

But he said: "I've never seen any of this behaviour - ever.

"A lot of people are doing the 'you had to know' thing right now and yes, if you're asking if I knew that someone who was very powerful had a tendency to hit on young, beautiful women, sure," said Clooney.

However, he added: "But I had no idea that it had gone to the level of having to pay off eight women for their silence and that these women were threatened and victimised."

Irish Independent

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