By Nkeremwen Commas
Weinstein and wife, Chapman
When The New Yorker magazine broke the story on his sexual exploits with women he helped produced in award winning films, producer Harvey Weinstein tried to cover his tracks by bluster. His lawyers threatened to sue the magazine, insisting that he was framed and the alleged sexual harassment was consensual between him and those speaking anonymously to the paper. But as more of the women involved took the bold steps to come forward and spill the beans, Weinstein ducked, saying he was going for therapy and book reading.
Then other film stars from delicious Merryl Streep to political heavy weight like Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton and now the Obamas denounced his actions in public as unacceptable behaviour.
Now, his 41 year-old wife, Georgina Chapman who had initially stood by him cannot bear it any longer as more of the molested actresses come forward with damaging evidence against her husband. She says she is leaving him following as Weinstein’s actions were “unforgivable”.
“My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions,” Georgina Chapman, told People Magazine. Ms Chapman and Weinstein, 65, have two children together.
Angela Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
On Sunday, Weinstein was fired on from his own film studio, now managed by his brother and others. The Weinstein Company board said on Tuesday that they would help any criminal investigation.
His former high heeled friends like ex-President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle said they were “disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein” adding “celebrate the courage of women who have come forward”.
According to reports, “Weinstein was a big donor to the Democratic party under Mr Obama’s leadership. The Obamas’ eldest daughter Malia worked as an intern at The Weinstein Company in New York earlier this year. He also donated to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Mrs Clinton has said she was “shocked and appalled” by the revelations.
Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow are the latest women to come forward. Both said the incidents happened early in their careers.
Paltrow and Jolie both sent statements about Weinstein’s behaviour to the New York Times, which first reported allegations against him last week.
Jolie said in an email: “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. “This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
Asia Argento photo EPA and Mira Sorvina
In a statement, Paltrow alleged that, after Weinstein cast her in the leading role in Emma, he summoned her to his hotel suite, where he placed his hands on her and suggested massages in his bedroom. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she told the newspaper.
She said she told her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt about the incident, and said he confronted Weinstein. “I thought he was going to fire me,” she said.
The separate New Yorker quotes Italian actress and director Asia Argento and Lucia Stoller, now Lucia Evans – who says she was an aspiring actress when Weinstein allegedly approached her in 2004. Both say they were forced into sexual acts by the producer.
A third woman, who did not want to be named, said Weinstein had “forced himself on me sexually”.
Argento said she has not spoken until now because she feared it would ruin her career to do so.
“That’s why this story – in my case, it’s 20 years old, some of them are old – has never come out,” she told the New Yorker.
Other allegations in the piece came from Mira Sorvino, who won an Oscar in 1996 for her role in Mighty Aphrodite for Miramax, a studio headed by Weinstein at the time. She told the magazine that Weinstein had tried to pressure her into a relationship.
Roseanna Arquette also said that she rejected Weinstein’s advances and that she believes her acting career suffered as a result.
Weinstein’s spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister has issued response
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein,” she said. “Mr Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.
“Mr Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr Weinstein has begun counselling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path.”