Monday 16 September 2019

Tinseltown loses lustre as A-list remains silent over Weinstein

Hollywood movie mogul threatens to sue US newspaper for $50m after it published allegations

Powerful: Harvey Weinstein and wife Georgina Chapman
Powerful: Harvey Weinstein and wife Georgina Chapman

Harriet Alexander in New York

Hollywood has been accused of hypocrisy as allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein, the volcanic-tempered movie mogul, were met with a "deafening silence" from A-list stars.

Two days after the New York Times reported that Weinstein had reached at least eight legal settlements with women dating back decades, only a smattering of entertainment industry figures stepped up to condemn a man who has long held the power to make or break careers.

Lisa Bloom, a lawyer who had been criticised for her decision to advise Weinstein, announced yesterday that she was resigning. But Rose McGowan, who reportedly settled a harassment case against Weinstein in 1997, said she had been expecting fellow actresses to speak out publicly.

"Ladies of Hollywood, where are you?" she wrote on Twitter. "Ladies of Hollywood, your silence is deafening."

McGowan, 44, best known for her role in the TV series Charmed, accused the industry, including agents, directors, producers, studio heads, and the actors' union of a "30-year cover-up" which seemingly continued.

By last night those yet to comment publicly on the scandal included a host of actresses who have starred in Weinstein movies. They included Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Gwyneth Paltrow, who won an Oscar for the Weinstein-produced Shakespeare in Love. Only Jessica Chastain, an A-list star, appeared to show support, voicing "respect" for McGowan and Ashley Judd, who told the New York Times that Weinstein, 65, had sexually harassed her in a hotel.

Anthony Bourdain, a celebrity chef, called the Hollywood A-list "nauseating, chicken-hearted enablers all".

He added: "Where's the loud, vocal support for these women? Mostly a shameful silence. I'm talking about all the people who knew and said nothing - and those who are still staying silent."

There was also no comment on the scandal from Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Weinstein has previously donated more than $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

He also donated to Mr Obama's campaign and Malia, the former president's daughter, worked as an intern at The Weinstein Company.

According to the New York Times, Weinstein targeted young actresses and his own staff, appearing naked in front of them, and asking them to massage him or watch him shower. Weinstein has admitted to having caused "a lot of pain" and apologised.

He asked for a "second chance," saying he is undergoing therapy. He also threatened to sue the New York Times for "reckless reporting".

In a separate development Lauren Sivan, a television reporter, alleged that Weinstein cornered her in the kitchen of a restaurant in New York.

Weinstein, a father-of-two married to Georgina Chapman, a British fashion designer, has been a powerhouse in Hollywood for decades. He formed the Miramax production house in the late Seventies with his brother Bob, later selling it to Disney and going on to form The Weinstein Company. He helped propel Oscar-winning movies such as Good Will Hunting, The Artist, and The King's Speech.

The Weinstein Company announced it was launching an investigation and bringing in an outside legal firm to conduct it. The company said he would be on "indefinite leave". Discussions were said to have been typically heated and a third of the nine-member board resigned.

A spokesman said: "As Harvey has said, it is important for him to get professional help for the problems he has acknowledged. Next steps will depend on Harvey's therapeutic progress, the outcome of the board's independent investigation and Harvey's own personal decisions."


Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News