Brow Beat

Ashley Judd and Others Accuse Harvey Weinstein of Sexual Harassment in a New York Times Exposé

Harvey Weinstein.

Yann Coatsaliou/AFP/Getty Images

Following reports that Harvey Weinstein was lawyering up in anticipation of two news stories in the works about him, the New York Times published an exposé on Thursday detailing accusations of decades of sexual harassment against the famous film producer. The report, by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, contains accounts from multiple women who say they experienced or witnessed incidents of harassment, as well as information about confidential settlements and internal documents related to Weinstein’s alleged pattern of predatory behavior.

Here are a few key takeaways from the report:

Ashley Judd goes on the record naming Weinstein as the producer who allegedly harassed her at a Beverly Hills hotel in the 1990s.

In 2015, Judd told Variety that during the filming of Kiss the Girls, “one of our industry’s most famous, admired-slash-reviled bosses” had invited her to his hotel room and then asked her to watch him shower. The Times report leads with her account of the incident and later goes into more detail:

Mr. Weinstein soon issued invitation after invitation, she said. Could he give her a massage? When she refused, he suggested a shoulder rub. She rejected that too, she recalled. He steered her toward a closet, asking her to help pick out his clothing for the day, and then toward the bathroom. Would she watch him take a shower? she remembered him saying.

Judd explained her reasoning for coming forward again and naming Weinstein instead of leaving him anonymous: “Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”

At least eight women shared stories like Judd’s with the Times.

The exposé includes interviews with other women who describe similar behavior from Weinstein, which allegedly included “appearing nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself.” These women, according to the report, were usually in their twenties and just starting out in the industry.

Weinstein has reached “at least eight settlements with women,” according to two unnamed company officials.

These include “a young assistant in New York in 1990, an actress in 1997, an assistant in London in 1998, an Italian model in 2015” and Lauren O’Connor, a former Weinstein Co. employee who authored a memo sent to company executives alleging misconduct by Weinstein over a two-year period:

In the memo, she explained how unnerved she was by what she witnessed or encountered while a literary scout and production executive at the company. “I am just starting out in my career, and have been and remain fearful about speaking up,” Ms. O’Connor wrote. “But remaining silent is causing me great distress.”

O’Connor withdrew her complaint after reaching a settlement with Weinstein, six days after sending her initial memo, according to the Times. She also “wrote a letter to Mr. Weinstein thanking him for the opportunity to learn about the entertainment industry.” Weinstein told the Times that “many claims in Ms. O’Connor’s memo were off base.’”

Higher-ups at the Weinstein Co. were reportedly “alarmed” about the accusations two years ago, but they chose not to investigate.

Boardmember Lance Maerov tells the Times that he did insist that they bring in an outside lawyer to evaluate the accusations at the time, however, and that he successfully lobbied for a new “code of behavior”  that “included detailed language about sexual harassment.”

Weinstein denies many of the allegations against him but says he will take a leave of absence.

Weinstein’s lawyer Lisa Bloom, who has a history of working on sexual harassment cases, called her client “an old dinosaur learning new ways” and said that “he denies many of the accusations as patently false.”

Weinstein told the Times, “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 also released a separate statement in which he writes that he is working with therapists and has asked Bloom to “tutor” him.

After the Times’ report was published online, Weinstein’s attorney told the Hollywood Reporter that Weinstein will sue the New York Times. Charles Harder, the same lawyer who helped Peter Thiel take down Gawker and represented Melania Trump in her lawsuit against the Daily Mail, told THR that the Times’ account is “saturated with false and defamatory statements.” He continued, “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.”

You can read the full report on the allegations against Weinstein in the New York Times.