Harvey Weinstein Takes Leave of Absence, Files Lawsuit in Response to NYT Sexual Harassment Allegations

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Harvey Weinstein Takes Leave of Absence, Files Lawsuit in Response to <i>NYT</i> Sexual Harassment Allegations

The New York Times published an article today detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations from female employees against Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein is the co-founder of The Weinstein Company and a celebrated producer of many acclaimed movies.

The article details many different accounts from many different women over the years, all with similar stories: Weinstein would pressure young women into meeting him privately in hotel rooms under the guise of helping their careers. Multiple different women said that he would then ask them repeatedly to give him a massage or watch him shower, despite the fact that he was told “no” each time. Famed actress Ashley Judd recalls an encounter with Weinstein in a hotel room in 2015 that followed along those exact lines—it took nearly an hour of her refusing for him to get the message. Even worse, Weinstein would reportedly have his young female employees make these suspicious appointments.

According to The NYT’s report, repeated payouts to multiple different women in the range of $80,000 to $150,000 were made over the years in exchange for their silence. This included $100,000 dollars in a settlement with Rose McGowan in 1997 after, you guessed it, “an episode in a hotel room.” Weinstein also settled with Italian model Ambra Battlilana, whom he groped in a hotel room in 2015. On top of that, part of the employees’ contracts stated they could not speak out in a way that might damage the reputation of the company. Thus, Weinstein’s harassment became an open secret to people at the company, but unknown to the general public.

At first, Weinstein responded to these allegations with humility and an apology. In a statement to The NYT, Weinstein said, “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.”

Now, news has come out that while being apologetic to The NYT, Weinstein was also preparing to sue them for the article. THR reports that Weinstein has hired Charles Harder, whom you might remember for prosecuting Hulk Hogan’s case against Gawker, to sue The NYT for defamation. THR notes that it’s fairly unlikely that Weinstein will win the case, as he’d need to prove malicious intent on the part of The NYT.

“We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting,” a NYT spokesperson told THR. “Mr. Weinstein was aware and able to respond to specific allegations in our story before publication. In fact, we published his response in full.”

According to Variety, Weinstein will take a leave of absence in the wake of the revelations, presumably to focus on his lawsuit against a news publication for daring to report something about him that he didn’t like.

Find The NYT’s full report here.

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