WASHINGTON • More and more women are saying movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them.
The New Yorker on Tuesday published the result of a 10-month investigation that included several women going on the record to allege that Weinstein, a Hollywood power player who could make or break careers, made unwanted advances and, in some cases, raped them.
Within hours, The New York Times published stories of harassment from megastars Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.
The New Yorker also posted an exchange captured on audio, recovered from a 2015 New York Police sting operation, in which Weinstein admits to model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez that he groped her as he tries to get her to come into his hotel room. "Don't ruin your friendship with me for five minutes," he said. (She told The New Yorker she was unable to discuss the incident.)
The New Yorker story was written by Ronan Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, who directed the Weinstein-produced Mighty Aphrodite (1995).
The two stories were a devastating blow to Weinstein's legacy and reputation, which had already been badly damaged last week by a Times story reporting that he had reached monetary settlements with eight women who alleged he had pressured them for sex. The Weinstein Co fired him as co-chairman on Sunday.
The stories on Tuesday coincided with public condemnation of Weinstein from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former United States president Barack Obama.
"I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein," Mrs Clinton said in a statement.
"The behaviour described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others are critical in helping to stop this kind of behaviour."
Weinstein has been a long-time Democratic donor and was a supporter of former US president Bill Clinton during his campaigns and of Mrs Clinton last year; The Weinstein Co also employed Mr Obama's eldest daughter, Malia, as an intern this year.
Weinstein's wife, British fashion designer Georgina Chapman, 41, told People magazine that she was leaving the producer, with whom she has two children.
Numerous stars have condemned Weinstein, including Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain and George Clooney.
Weinstein, 65, is one of the most successful producers in movie history. Starting with Miramax, the studio he co-founded with his brother, Bob, and named for their parents Miriam and Max, he proved to have a golden touch for both popular and critical acclaim.
Miramax and, later, The Weinstein Co produced Oscar winners such as The English Patient (1996), Shakespeare In Love (1998) and The King's Speech (2010). Their television work includes the reality show Project Runway.
In a statement on Tuesday, Weinstein's spokesman Sallie Hofmeister 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."
Even in an industry in which sexual harassment has long persisted, Weinstein stands out, according to the actresses and current and former employees.
He had an elaborate system reliant on the cooperation of others: Assistants often booked the meetings, arranged the hotel rooms and, sometimes, even delivered the talent, then disappeared, the actresses and employees recounted.
They described how some of Weinstein's executives and assistants then found them agents and jobs or hushed actresses who were upset.
His alleged behaviour became something of a Hollywood open secret: When comedian Seth MacFarlane announced Oscar nominees in 2013, he joked: "Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein." The audience laughed.
According to a 2015 memo by a former Weinstein Co executive, the misconduct continued.
WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES