Harvey Weinstein Sexual Abuse Cases
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Harvey Weinstein Sexual Harassment Allegations refers to a series of accusations regarding film executive Harvey Weinstein's treatment of women, including reports of sexual harassment, which led to Weinstein's firing from his company The Weinstein Company in October 2017. The accusations rippled throughout Hollywood, resulting in dozens of celebrities being accused of varying levels of sexual harassment in what has been called the Weinstein Effect.
On October 5th, 2017, the New York Times reported that movie executive and Oscar award-winning film producer Harvey Weinstein had paying off sexual harassment accusers. In the article, the Times reports that the accounts of numerous women, including actress Ashely Judd. Judd referred to his behavior as "coercive bargaining," as he would help or hurt careers in return for sexual favors. As per the New York Times report, Weinstein had reached at least eight settlements with women over these allegations.
That day, Harvey Weinstein's attorney announced that his client would be suing the New York Times over the article. Additionally, they would be donating the proceeds from the case to women's organizations. The statement read:
"The New York Times published today a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein…It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by nine different eyewitnesses. We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish. We are preparing the lawsuit now. All proceeds will be donated to women’s organizations."
Additionally, Weinstein released a statement in The New York Times, explaining his attempts to alter his behavior, blaming his actions on the time-period in which he was raised.
"I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.
I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office – or out of it. To anyone.
I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed.
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. That is my commitment. My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons. Over the last year I've asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me and she's put together a team of people. I've brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women and regret what happened. I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with Lisa to learn more. Jay Z wrote in 4:44 'I'm not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children.' The same is true for me. I want a second chance in the community but I know I've got work to do to earn it. I have goals that are now priorities. Trust me, this isn't an overnight process. I've been trying to do this for 10 years and this is a wake-up call. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them.
I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I've decided that I'm going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I'm going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I'm making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom and I won't disappoint her."
Following the the article's publications, numerous actors, producers and others in the entertainment industry have been speaking out against Weinstein, denouncing his alleged actions. Actress Brie Larson tweeted, "As always, I stand with the brave survivors of sexual assault and harassment. It's not your fault. I believe you." Within four days, the tweet (shown below, left) received more than 3,400 retweets and 15,000 likes. Amber Tamblyn garnered more than 7,900 retweets and 23,600 likes in four days after she tweeted (shown below, center), "Heed the mantra and never forget: Women. Have. Nothing. To. Gain. And. Everything. To Lose. By. Coming. forward."
Finally actress Rose McGowan called on other members of the board of directors to resign, accusing them of being complicit in the cover up of these allegations. On October 5th, she tweeted, "Anyone who does business with __ is complicit. And deep down you know you are even dirtier. Cleanse yourselves." Within four days, the tweet (show below, right) received more than 575 retweets and 2,800 likes.
On October 9th, the Huffington Post publsihed an exclusive statement from actress Meryl Streep, in which she refered to Weinstein's alleged actions as an "abuse of power." She released a statement:
"The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes.
One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew. Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally. I didn’t know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts. And If everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it.
The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game."
On October 9th, Jessica Chastain tweeted, "Yes. Im sick of the media demanding only women speak up. What about the men? Perhaps many are afraid to look at their own behavior….." The post (shown below) received more than 3,000 retweets and 11,000 likes in less than 24 hours.
On October 10th, 2017, actor Ben Affleck commented on the allegations against his long-time collaborator Harvey Weinstein on "Facebook"/memes/sites/facebook. The post (shown below) received more than 33,000 reactions, 1,700 shares and 1,600 comments in 24 hours. When posted to Twitter, the post received more than 12,000 retweets and 49,000 likes in 24 hours. In the post, he said:
"I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades. The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick. This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others. We need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers and daughters. We must support those who come forward, condemn this type of behavior when we see it and help ensure there are more women in positions of power."
Later that day, actress Rose McGowan responded to his comments, claiming that his ignorance to the situation was dishonest. When the two worked together on Phantoms, McGowan asserts that Affleck was aware of Weinstein's sexual harassing McGowan. In a tweet captioned "You want to play let's play #ROSEARMY," McGowan posted a screen shot of a previous tweet in which recounts Afflecks reaction. She says, "@benafflect 'GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT' you said that to my face. The pres conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie." The tweet (shown below) received more tahn 3,000 retweets and 8,300 likes in less than 24 hours.
Following McGowan's response, Twitter began discussing Affleck's response. When one Twitter user suggested that he should have "kept quiet," another responded that he also grabbed actress Hilarie Burton's breasts on TRL once. Everyone forgot though. Burton responded to the tweet, "I didn't forget." The tweet (shown below) received more than 1,100 retweets and 2,500 likes in less than 24 hours.
The following day, Affleck responded in a tweet. He said, "I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize." The post (shown below) received more than1,700 retweets and 5,000 likes in three hours.
Rose McGowan's Twitter Suspension
On Wednesday night, McGowan published a post on Instagram, revealing that Twitter had suspended her account and that "there are powerful forces at work" (shown below).
On Thursday morning, the talk show The View discussed her suspension during the show (shown below).
That same day, Twitter unlocked McGowan's account and told The Hollywood Reporter that McGowan had been temporarily suspended for tweeted out a private phone number, which violated the site's rules against sharing private information. That day, several Twitter users proposed boycotting the social network for having suspended McGowan's account, along with the hashtag #womenbowcotttwitter. That same day, the @TwitterSafety account published a series of tweets explaining why McGowan's account had been locked.
Following the release of the article, some people criticized democratic politicians who had not spoke about their relationship to Weinstein, particularly Hillary Clinton. On October 6th, ABC News reported that at least eight Democratic senators have donated or said they would donate contributions from Weinstein.
On October 7th, President Donald Trump told reporters as he was boarding Marine One, "I've known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I'm not all surprised to see it." when asked about the Harvey Weinstein allegation at a press conference. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders deflected further questions on the matter at a press conference on October 10th.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi strongly condemned the misconduct in a statement released on October 10th. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney released a statement on Oct 16th stating she was "appalled and disgusted by Harvey Weinstein’s abhorrent behavior".
On October 8th, The Wrap published an article by Sharon Waxman, a former employee of the New York Times. In the article, she says that she had investigated allegations against Weinstein. However, she says that the story was never published due to "intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch for Lombardo and unknown discussions well above my head at the Times."
That day, Twitter published a Moments page about the article and the response to it.
in an interview with Deadline, Damon denied trying to kill the story. He said, "For the record, I would never, ever, ever try to kill a story like that. I just wouldn’t do that. It’s not something I would do, for anybody."
He made a full statement on Weinstein in the interview. He said:
"We know this stuff goes on in the world. I did five or six movies with Harvey. I never saw this. I think a lot of actors have come out and said, everybody’s saying we all knew. That’s not true. This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view. If there was ever an event that I was at and Harvey was doing this kind of thing and I didn’t see it, then I am so deeply sorry, because I would have stopped it. And I will peel my eyes back now, father than I ever have, to look for this type of behavior. Because we know that it happens. I feel horrible for these women and it’s wonderful they have this incredible courage and are standing up now.
We can all feel this change that’s happening, which is necessary and overdue. Men are a huge part of that change, and we have to be vigilant and we have to help protect and call this stuff out because we have our sisters and our daughters and our mothers. This kind of stuff can’t happen. This morning, I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach."
Firing from The Weinstein Company
On October 8th, The Weinstein Company fired Harvey Weinstein from their board of directors. The Wrap published a statement from the company. It read:
"In light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days, the directors of The Weinstein Company – Robert Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar – have determined, and have informed Harvey Weinstein, that his employment with The Weinstein Company is terminated, effective immediately."
New Yorker Rape Allegations
On October 10th, The New Yorker magazine published another exposé on Weinstein's alleged actions towards women. In the article, "From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories," which took 10 months to investigate, multiple women accuse the former movie mogul of rape. Author Ronan Farrow writes, "Three women -- among them actress Asia Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans -- told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex."
In total, Farrow spoke to 13 women who accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and/or assault, including Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino and Pulp Fiction-star Rosanna Arquette.
The article also contains revelations that Weinstein's staff knew about his behavior. Farrow writes:
"Sixteen former and current executives and assistants at Weinstein's companies told me that they witnessed or had knowledge of unwanted sexual advances and touching at events associated with Weinstein's films and in the workplace. They and others describe a pattern of professional meetings that were little more than thin pretexts for sexual advances on young actresses and models.
Many said that they had seen Weinstein's associates confront and intimidate those who crossed him, and feared that they would be similarly targeted," Farrow wrote. "Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein's advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them."
Weinstein's representatives have denied the allegations. In statement to CNN, they said, "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances."
In addition to the new allegations, the magazine published an audio tape of a New York Police Department-led sting operation against Weinstein. Weinstein can be heard on tape, allegedly, coercing Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who was wearing a wire, into his hotel room to watch him shower and touching the woman without consent (audio below).
According to CNN, the NYPD confirmed that they had lodged an investigation into a "misdemeanor sexual abuse complaint" against Weinstein, but the tape proved to be insufficient evidence.
"If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have," said the NYPD office.
Following the release of the article, Farrow went on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC and discussed how and why NBC passed on publishing Farrow's expose. According to Farrow, "many news organizations have circled this story and faced a great deal of pressure in doing so." Farrow claims, however, that this was despite him and his producer having eight on-camera interviews.
NBC, however, commented that the story was "not publishable" when Farrow brought it to them. Additionally, according to a source for the Hollywood Reporter, "The story he published is radically different that what he brought to NBC News.”
Keith Urban's "Female"
On November 7th, 2017, Keith Urban posted his new song "Female" to his YouTube account. The song was written in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and is intended to be a pro-feminism anthem reminding people of women's humanity (shown below).
The song was met with mixed reviews from critics. Some praised Urban for writing a pro-woman song. For example, The Washington Post noted that regardless of how one feels about the track, it was an important song for country music. YouTube channel Taste of Country called it "the anthem we've all been waiting for" (shown below).
However, many critics found the song insulting because of its simplistic lyrics. The Verge criticized each lyric of the song, including the chorus, which is a list of different things women can be (shown below).
Healer, broken halo
Fire, suit of armor
Soul survivor, Holy Water
Secret keeper, fortune teller
Virgin Mary, scarlet letter
Technicolor river wild
Baby girl, women shine
Noisey called the track "extremely insulting" for the way it presented the argument that women are people too and therefore should not be sexually assaulted. Online, the lyrics were mocked for their simplicity. Twitter user @maxwelltani tweeted out selections of the lyrics, calling them "really something else," gaining over 700 retweets and 2,000 likes (shown below, left). Twitter user @Alice_Wilder quoted the tweet and compared the lyrics to something 30 Rock character Jenna Maroney would sing at a gender reveal party, gaining over 320 retweets and 1,600 likes (shown below, right).
Urban then performed it at the 2017 Country Music Awards on November 8th (excerpt below).
Rose McGowan's Brave
On January 30th, 2018, Rose McGowan released her book Brave, in which she details how she was raped by Harvey Weinstein when they first met in 1997.
In the book, McGowan refers to her attacker as "The Monster," but also references that The Monster ran Miramax, making it simple to infer she is referring to Weinstein. According to McGowan, Weinsten held her down by a jacuzzi and forcibly performed oral sex on her while masturbating. She then goes on to say she attended a screening where she told a friend, who was later identified as Ben Affleck, about the encounter, to which Affleck replied "I told him to stop doing that." McGowan also says people around her told her to view the rape as a thing which would help her career and that no police would believe her. The day of release, McGowan appeared on Good Morning America to talk about the book (shown below).
Book Tour Cancellation
On January 31st, 2018, McGowan appeared for a book signing at the Barnes & Noble near Union Square in New York City. During the appearance, trans rights activist Andi Dier stood up in the audience and began loudly criticizing McGowan for comments she made during an apperance on RuPaul's podcast What's the Tee?, saying “Trans women are dying and you said that we, as trans women, are not like regular women. We get raped more often. We go through domestic violence more often. There was a trans woman killed here a few blocks. I have been followed home” (shown below). The two began shouting over each other, leading McGowan to angrily respond after Dier criticized "white cis feminism" (shown below).
“Don’t label me, sister! Don’t put your labels on me. Don’t you fucking do that. Do not put your labels on me. I don’t come from your planet. Leave me alone. I do not subscribe to your rules. I do not subscribe to your language. You will not put labels on me or anybody. Step the fuck back. What I do for the fucking world and you should be fucking grateful. Shut the fuck up. Get off my back. What have you done? I know what I’ve done, goddammit.”
On February 2nd, McGowan tweeted that she was "canceling upcoming public appearances" due to the incident, accusing the trans woman of being a "paid actor" (shown below).
That same day, the WordPress blog GenderTrender reported that several women had accused Dier of "serial sexual assault," which included screenshots of the allegations on social media (shown below).
Harvey Weinstein Golden Casting Couch Statue
On March 1st, 2018, a golden statue of Harvey Weinstein in a bathrobe sitting on a couch with the placard "Casting Couch" was placed at the corner Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, California (shown below, left). The statue was designed and installed by the visual artists Plastic Jesus (shown below, right) and Joshua "Ginger" Monroe, who was behind the naked Donald Trump statues from 2016.
Ginger told The Hollywood Reporter, "The whole couch and the entire image it gives off was to me a visual representation of the practices and methods that are used in Hollywood with these big powerful people. They have money and power to give jobs and they use that for their own sexual gratification and there's no better way to visualize this than the way we did with the casting couch."
"Weinstein Is Innocent" Shirt Stunt
On September 1st, 2018, Italian director Luciano Silighini Garagnani wore a T-shirt with the words "Weinstein Is Innocent" printed on the front at the premiere of the horror film Suspiria at the Venice Film Festival. Photographs of Garagnani proudly displaying the shirt subsequently circulated online (shown below).
The following day, a thread about the T-shirt was submitted to the /tv/ board on 4chan. On September 3rd, a post about the incident reached the front page of the /r/WeinsteinEffect subreddit. On September 5th, the Pierodasaronno Onlyforfriends YouTube channel uploaded an interview with Garagnani, in which he is shown wearing a "Make America Great Again" T-shirt (shown below).
On February 24th, 2020, a jury found guilty of third-degree rape and one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree. He was acquitted of two counts of predatory sexual assault, both of which carried a life sentence.
 The New York Times – Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades
 The Hollywood Reporter – Harvey Weinstein to Sue N.Y. Times, Says His Attorney
 The New York Times – Statement From Harvey Weinstein
 Twitter – @brielarson's Tweet
 Twitter – @ambertamblyn's Tweet
 The Hollywood Reporter – Rose McGowan Calls for Weinstein Co. Board to Resign
 Twitter – @rosemcgowan's Tweet
 The Wrap – Harvey Weinstein Fired From The Weinstein Company
 The Huffington Post – Meryl Streep Speaks Out Against Harvey Weinstein
 The Wrap – ‘Harvey Weinstein’s Media Enablers’? The New York Times Is One of Them
 Twitter – Reporter says NY Times spiked her Harvey Weinstein expose in 2004
 ABC News – Democrats donating away past contributions from Harvey Weinstein
 Twitter – @jes_chastain's Tweet
 The New Yorker – From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories
 CNN – Harvey Weinstein accused of rape in New Yorker story
 The Hollywood Reporter – Why Ronan Farrow's Harvey Weinstein Bombshell Did Not Run on NBC
 Facebook – Ben Affleck's Post
 Twitter @rosemcgowan's Tweet
 Twitter – @BenAffleck's Tweet
 Twitter – @HilarieBurton's Tweet
 Twitter – @BenAffleck's Tweet
 Deadline – Matt Damon Denies Trying To Kill 2004 NYT Harvey Weinstein Story: 'If There Was Ever An Event And Harvey Was Doing This…I Would Have Stopped It'
 The Hollywood Reporter – Twitter Suspends Rose McGowans Account
 Instagram – @rosemcgowan
 Twitter – #womenboycotttwitter
 Twitter – @TwitterSafety
 Whitehouse.gov – Remarks by President Trump in Press Gaggle before Marine One Departure
 DemocraticLeader.gov – Pelosi Statement on Harvey Weinstein
 White House Press Office – Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders 10/10/2017
 Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney – Maloney Statement on Harvey Weinstein
 Washington Post – No matter how you feel about Keith Urban’s ‘Female,’ here’s why it’s important for country music
 The Verge – Keith Urban wrote a song called Female because of Harvey Weinstein
 Noisey – Keith Urban's Empowerment Song For Women Is Extremely Insulting Actually
 Twitter – @Maxwelltani
 Daily Dot – Rose McGowan describes Weinstein rape for the first time in her new memoir
 Wordpress – Transwoman who heckled Rose McGowan is a known sexual predator claim women
 The Hollywood Reporter – Gold Harvey Weinstein Casting Couch Appears Near Oscars Venue
 Reddit – /r/WeinsteinEffect
 NBC – Harvey Weinstein found guilty of rape but acquitted of top criminal charges
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