Harvey Weinstein apologises after sexual harassment allegations

Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Charles Harder said the producer plans to sue the newspaper, telling the Hollywood Reporter that the Times story is riddled with inaccuracies.
Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Charles Harder said the producer plans to sue the newspaper, telling the Hollywood Reporter that the Times story is riddled with inaccuracies.PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (WP) - An explosive New York Times story on Thursday aired allegations of sexual harassment against famed movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who told the publication he would take a leave of absence from his studio, the Weinstein Company.

The Times story is remarkable not just because it uncovered that he reached at least eight settlements with women over the years, but also because a very high-profile figure - Ashley Judd - went on record.

Her story dates back to the 1990s when, she said, he lured her to his hotel room for a "meeting", then tried to coerce her into giving him a massage or watching him shower.

Weinstein's lawyer Charles Harder said the producer plans to sue the newspaper, telling the Hollywood Reporter that the Times story is riddled with inaccuracies.

"It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by nine eyewitnesses," Mr Harder noted.

"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 organisations."

This response is somewhat at odds with Weinstein's own statement to the Times.

"I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise 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."

He also said his issues stemmed, in part, from the fact that he "came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then".

Before starting the Weinstein Company, he co-founded Miramax films in 1979 with his brother, Bob, producing beloved indie movies and award hopefuls.

He was infamous for his brash, volatile style but was also renowned for shepherding low-budget movies like Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies And Videotape and Clerks to massive success - or at least cult status.