The New York Times on Thursday published an explosive report detailing decades of sexual harassment claims made against independent movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The report says Weinstein, who has run Miramax and the Weinstein Company, reached settlements with at least eight of his accusers. Details of those settlements had not been previously disclosed. Weinstein denied wrongdoing and, in a statement through Lisa Bloom, one of his lawyers who has been counseling him on gender dynamics in the workplace and who ironically recently appeared onstage at the Women in the World Canada Summit discussing how her legal tactics brought down Bill O’Reilly at Fox News, declared that “many of the accusations” were “patently false.”
Still, he issued a statement on Thursday apologizing for his workplace behavior and vowing to take a leave of absence from the company. “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.” He added that he is working with therapists to “deal with this issue head on.”
The investigative report, put together by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, drew on accounts given by actresses, Weinstein’s current and former employees, and information gleaned from emails, legal records and company documents. Bloom said Weinstein is “an old dinosaur learning new ways.” She added that she has explained to him that “due to the power difference between a major studio head like him and most others in the industry, whatever his motives, some of his words and behaviors can be perceived as inappropriate, even intimidating.” Later on Thursday, another attorney for Weinstein announced that the embattled movie mogul will sue The New York Times over the report. Charles Harder, in a statement given to The Hollywood Reporter, said, the Times’ story “relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by nine different eyewitnesses.”
Kantor and Twohey turned up a previously undisclosed settlement Weinstein reached with actress Rose McGowan in 1997 among their findings going back nearly 30 years, and they began their story with with a troubling recollection Ashley Judd shared about an encounter she had in 1990.