explainer

A comprehensive explainer of what famous women are saying Harvey Weinstein did to them.

On Thursday 5th October, The New York Times published an explosive report alleging 65-year-old film executive, Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed many women in Hollywood over a period of 30 years.

The report alleged Weinstein had previously reached at least eight settlements – worth anywhere between US$80,000 to US$150,000. Eight women shared their experience with Harvey Weinstein in the report, including actress Ashley Judd.

Harvey has since been sacked from The Weinstein Company and his wife has announced she is leaving him.

Listen: The Mamamia Out Loud team talk Weinstein.

Since then, actresses Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have come forward alleging similar scenarios of sexual harassment. Thirteen other women shared their stories of alleged sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein with the New Yorker, including three who said they were raped.

All up, so far 23 women have come forward with their experiences.

But why now? And who is alleging what?

This is every key piece of information you need to know, so far.

What are the women saying?

Angelina Jolie

“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did,” Jolie said in an email to the Times. “This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”

Gwyneth Paltrow

At 22, Paltrow said Weinstein tried to lure her into giving him a massage in a hotel room.

“I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” Paltrow told the Times about about her experience on the set of 1996’s Emma. It was one of her first big roles.

Asia Argento

In 1997, actress Asia Argento claims she was invited to what she thought was a party thrown by Weinstein’s company, Miramax on the French Riviera at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc. She told the New Yorker she felt “professionally obliged” to go to the party.

However, when she got there it was “only a hotel room, empty but for Weinstein.”

As per the piece:

Argento said that, after she reluctantly agreed to give Weinstein a massage, he pulled her skirt up, forced her legs apart, and performed oral sex on her as she repeatedly told him to stop. Weinstein “terrified me, and he was so big,” she said. “It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.”

At some point, Argento said she stopped saying no and feigned enjoyment, because she thought it was the only way the assault would end. “I was not willing,” she told me. “I said, ‘No, no, no.’ . . . It’s twisted. A big fat man wanting to eat you.”

Image: Getty.
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Mira Sorvino

The actress told the New Yorker Weinstein first propositioned her in a hotel room during the Toronto International Film Festival in 1995.

“He started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around,” Sorvino said.

Rosanna Arquette

In the early 1990s, Arquette said she was meant to meet the producer at the Beverly Hills Hotel to pick up a film script when her own encounter with Weinstein occurred. Once there, Arquette was directed to Weinstein’s room, where he allegedly greeted her in a bathrobe and said he needed a neck massage.

“Then he grabbed my hand,” she told The New Yorker. Though she yanked it back when he placed it on his neck, Weinstein grabbed her hand again, pulling it toward his visible and erect penis.

Arquette refused, telling him: “I will never do that", to which he told her she was making a big mistake.

“He made things very difficult for me for years,” she said.

Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd told the New York Times last week she once met Weinstein for what she thought was a business meeting.

"Two decades ago, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what the young actress expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview," the Times' Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey report.

“Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly," Judd told the news outlet.

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Rose McGowan

The New York Times reports McGowan came to a $100,000 settlement with Weinstein in 1997.

"[It] was “not to be construed as an admission” by Mr. Weinstein, but intended to “avoid litigation and buy peace,” according to the legal document, which was reviewed by The Times."

McGowan has been quiet about her own specific experiences with Weinstein, but has pushed for more women to speak up against Weinstein. On Wednesday she tweeted, "Am I allowed to say rapist" after new reports from The New Yorker came to light and Weinstein was subsequently accused of rape by three different women.

Lauren O'Connor

“There is a toxic environment for women at this company,” Lauren O’Connor wrote in a 2015 letter addressed to several executives at the company run by Weinstein.

From the Times:

"Though Ms. O’Connor had been writing only about a two-year period, her memo echoed other women’s complaints. Mr. Weinstein required her to have casting discussions with aspiring actresses after they had private appointments in his hotel room, she said, her description matching those of other former employees. She suspected that she and other female Weinstein employees, she wrote, were being used to facilitate liaisons with 'vulnerable women who hope he will get them work.'"

Emily Nestor

In 2014, Emily Nestor - who was a temporary, part-time employee at TWC - was invited to the Peninsula Beverly Hills, according to the Times. At that meeting, Weinstein allegedly told her if she accepted his sexual advances, he would help her career, according to accounts she provided to colleagues who sent them to Weinstein Company executives.

She has, so far, declined to comment on the record about the alleged incident.

harvey-win

Laura Madden

Talking to the Times, Madden - a former employee -  said Mr Weinstein prodded her for massages at hotels in Dublin and London beginning in 1991.

“It was so manipulative,” she said in an interview. “You constantly question yourself — am I the one who is the problem?”

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Zelda Perkins

In 1998, Zelda Perkins was a 25-year-old London assistant who confronted Weinstein about his behaviour.

As reported by the Times:

According to former colleagues, she and several co-workers had been regularly subjected to inappropriate requests or comments in hotel rooms, and she was particularly concerned about the treatment of another woman in the office. She told Mr. Weinstein that he had to stop, according to the former colleagues, and that she would go public or initiate legal action unless he changed his behaviour.

She came to a settlement with Weinstein's lawyer at the time.

Lucia Stoller

Lucia Stoller, now Evans, told The New Yorker she was an aspiring actress who met with Weinstein about a potential role in a couple of his films. After discussing scripts with him, where Weinstein promised "his associates would discuss them with her", he assaulted her.

From The New Yorker: 

“At that point, after that, is when he assaulted me,” Evans said. “He forced me to perform oral sex on him.” As she objected, Weinstein took his penis out of his pants and pulled her head down onto it. “I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,’ ” she said. “I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him.” In the end, she said, “He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.” At a certain point, she said, “I just sort of gave up. That’s the most horrible part of it, and that’s why he’s been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it’s their fault.”

Ambra Battilana Gutierrez

In March 2015, Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez filed a complaint with the New York Police Department, accusing the film executive of groping her breasts and putting his hand up her skirt in a meeting.

In a police recording captured during a NYPD ‘sting’ operation, a man The New Yorker allege is Weinstein can be heard asking Gutierrez to come into his bathroom for “a minute”. She protests – repeatedly – and tells Weinstein she “doesn’t want to”, that she doesn’t feel “comfortable” and litters the conversation with variations of “no”.

When Gutierrez presses, and says the reason she doesn’t feel safe is because he “groped” her breast the previous day, Weinstein appears to admit to the assault.

“Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in,” the male voice says. “I’m used to that. Come on. Please.”

“You’re used to that?” asks Gutierrez.

“Yes. Come in… I won’t do it again, come on, sit here. Sit here for a minute, please?”

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Emma de Caunes

“I was very petrified,” actress de Caunes told The New Yorker, referencing a time Weinstein allegedly emerged from a shower naked and erect and instructed her to lie on the bed.

“But I didn’t want to show him that I was petrified, because I could feel that the more I was freaking out, the more he was excited.”

Jessica Barth

Actress Jessica Barth told The New Yorker Weinstein made advances on her in a hotel room.

“So, what would happen if, say, we’re having some champagne and I take my clothes off and you give me a massage?” she recalled him asking. “And I’m, like, ‘That’s not going to happen.’”

When she refused and went to leave, she claims he told her she needed to lose weight.

Lauren Sivan

TV journalist Sivan told The Huffington Post Weinstein cornered her in a restaurant more than 10 years ago and masturbated in front of her.

Romola Garai

British actress Romola Garai was 18 when she was auditioned by Weinstein as he wore only a dressing gown. She described the exchange to The Guardian as humiliating and “an abuse of power”.

"I was only 18. I felt violated by it, it has stayed very clearly in my memory.”

Louise Godbold

Godbold, the head of non-profit Echo Parenting & Education, wrote about her own experience being "preyed" upon by Weinstein in the 1990s.

"The details of what I have learned was not unique to me are out there now – the office tour that became an occasion to trap me in an empty meeting room, the begging for a massage, his hands on my shoulders as I attempted to beat a retreat… all while not wanting to alienate the most powerful man in Hollywood," she wrote.

Katherine Kendall

In 1993, Kendall was 23 and as an aspiring actress, met with Weinstein. After inviting her to a screening alone, he told her he needed to swing past his apartment afterwards. It was daylight, she told the Times, so she wasn't worried. There were pictures of his wife on the wall, too.

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He went to the bathroom, came back in a robe and asked her to give him a massage, she said. “Everybody does it,” he said, according to Ms. Kendall, and mentioned a famous model’s name. She refused; he left the room, and returned nude, she said.

“He literally chased me,” she said. “He wouldn’t let me pass him to get to the door.”

Tomi-Ann Roberts

When Roberts was 20 and trying to crack into the industry, she reportedly met Weinstein in his hotel room so they could discuss a potential film.

As told by The Times: 

When she arrived, he was nude in the bathtub, she recalled. He told her that she would give a much better audition if she were comfortable “getting naked in front of him,” too, because the character she might play would have a topless scene.

Weinstein with wife Georgina Chapman. Image: Getty.

Judith Godrèche

The French actress was 24 in 1996 when, at Cannes, she said she had a meeting with Weinstein. He invited her up to his suite to "discuss the film’s marketing and even an Oscar campaign".

“I was so naïve and unprepared,” she said. Upstairs, he asked to give her a massage, Ms. Godrèche said. She said no. He argued that casual massages were an American custom — he gave them to his secretary all the time, Ms. Godrèche recalled him saying.

“The next thing I know, he’s pressing against me and pulling off my sweater."

Dawn Dunning

In 2003, Dawn Dunning was 24 and, as an aspiring actress, befriended Weinstein while waitressing. After their first meeting, she said he invited her to dinner. When she headed to the restaurant, she told The Times, she received a call from one of his assistants to say Weinstein was running late and she should meet him in his suite.

There was no meeting. Mr. Weinstein was in a bathrobe, behind a coffee table covered with papers.

He told her they were contracts for his next three films, according to Ms. Dunning. But she could only sign them on a condition: She would have to have three-way sex with him.

Heather Graham

"In the early 2000s Harvey Weinstein called me into his office," Heather Graham wrote for Variety.

"There was a pile of scripts sitting on his desk. 'I want to put you in one of my movies,' he said and offered to let me choose which one I liked best. Later in the conversation, he mentioned that he had an agreement with his wife. He could sleep with whomever he wanted when he was out of town. I walked out of the meeting feeling uneasy. There was no explicit mention that to star in one of those films I had to sleep with him, but the subtext was there."

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What is Harvey Weinstein saying?

In a statement to the New York Times after the initial report broke, Weinstein said that in part, he is a product of his generation.

"I came of age in the 60s and 70s, when all the rules about behaviour 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 realised 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 apologise for it. Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment."

Image: Getty.

Who is standing by him?

Despite his assurances to the contrary, Weinstein's wife Georgina Chapman released a statement saying she was leaving him. On Saturday, his lawyer Lisa Bloom resigned. Lanny Davis - another part of Weinstein's crisis management team - quit at the weekend, too.

Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Glenn Close, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Emma Watson, Lena Dunham, Julianne Moore, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Judd Apatow, America Ferrera, Jennifer Lawrence, George Clooney and Nicole Kidman have all publicly denounced his actions, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

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Hillary Clinton, The Obamas and even Donald Trump have done the same.

The Weinstein Company sacked its own founder, releasing a statement on Wednesday. The board's statement included remarks from Weinstein's own brother.

“The Weinstein Company’s Board of Representatives – Bob Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar – are shocked and dismayed by the recently emerged allegations of extreme sexual misconduct and sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein."

The company have also pledged to change its name amid the controversy.

Fashion designer Donna Karen and actress Lindsay Lohan appear to be the only ones sympathising with the embattled film executive, with Karen suggesting women were "asking for it" because of their clothing choices and Lohan saying she feel "very bad" for him.

Why did it take so long for the allegations to come out?

According to Rebecca Traister, a journalist for New York Magazine, to understand the struggle to publish a story like this is to understand Weinstein himself. He has power, money and influence.

"Weinstein didn’t just exert physical power," Traiser wrote in a piece for The Cut on Friday. "He also employed legal and professional and economic power. He supposedly had every employee sign elaborate, binding nondisclosure agreements. He gave jobs to people who might otherwise work to bring him down, and gave gobs of money to other powerful people...

"For decades, the reporters who tried to tell the story of Harvey Weinstein butted up against the same wall of sheer force and immovable power that was leveraged against those ambitious actors, the vulnerable assistants, the executives whose careers, salaries, and reputations were in his hands."

What happens now?

According to CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman who spoke to CBS This Morning, there are a lot of "hurdles" both alleged victims and police would have to jump over before Weinstein faced criminal charges.

Firstly, she notes, no woman has come forward with any intent of pressing charges.

Secondly, she says, many of these alleged crimes have been committed outside the statute of limitations.

Another important factor here is that many of these women have signed a confidentiality agreement, which prevents them from talking about their accusations publicly or privately. They would have to go before a grand jury before being granted the ability to speak.

Klieman also points out TWC would "certainly have to face some civil liability if in fact they knew something" and potentially paid of some of Weinstein's alleged victims. That, she says, is something to be looking out for.

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