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Harvey Weinstein Threatens to Sue New York Times
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Harvey Weinstein. Photo courtesy of AV Club.

Summary: After a damning article in the New York Times exposed his long history of paying off sexual harassment claims, movie producer Harvey Weinstein is threatening to sue.

In Hollywood, people whispered for years that industry heavyweight Harvey Weinstein was a creep towards women, but only recently were his actions exposed in print. On Thursday, The New York Times published a scathing account of Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual harassment to actresses and the women who flew into his orbit; and now one of the most powerful men in the industry is threatening to sue.

  
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In a rebuttal interview with The New York Post published on Thursday night, Weinstein said he planned to sue The Times for $50 million with the help of his attorney Charles Harder, who famously represented Hulk Hogan in the lawsuit that took down Gawker. 

The admission of Weinstein’s lawsuit seemingly countered with the apology he had issued immediately after The Times’ story broke. In his statement, he did not address the allegations directly, but he said that he wanted to do better.

“I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then,” Weinstein wrote. “I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office – or out of it. To anyone.”

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The New York Times’ report said that Weinstein had sexually harassed and paid off at least eight women during his decades-long career. The newspaper interviewed actress Ashley Judd, who went on the record to describe how Weinstein had propositioned her in a hotel room during what she thought would be a breakfast meeting.

“Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly,” Judd said in the article.



In Weinstein’s New York Post interview, he said he was suing because The Times had allegedly made a deal with him prior to publication where they would “tell [his team] about the people they had on the record in the story, so we could respond appropriately, but they didn’t live up to the bargain.” Weinstein called The New York Times’ reporting “reckless” and said that they had it out for him, noting how they once ignored coverage of his upcoming Jay-Z documentary.

Harder also issued a statement on why Weinstein was suing.

“The New York Times published today a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein,” Harder said. “It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by 9 different eyewitnesses. We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish.”

The New York Times doesn’t sound too afraid of the Weinstein Company co-founder, and they released their own statement following his lawsuit threat.

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

Weinstein has produced numerous films including Shakespeare in Love, Saving Private Ryan, and Django Unchained. He is a huge donor to the Democratic party, which Deadline reports is beginning to distance themselves after the sexual harassment scandal came to light. Some Democratic politicians like Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal have already stated that they will give their Weinstein contributions to charity.

“During three-decades worth of sexual harassment allegations, Harvey Weinstein lined the pockets of Democrats to the tune of three-quarters of a million dollars,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said in a statement. “If Democrats and the [Democratic National Committee] truly stand up for women like they say they do, then returning this dirty money should be a no brainer.”

Weinstein is married to fashion designer Georgina Chapman, who reportedly is standing by her man. Chapman has appeared on Project Runway, which is produced by Weinstein’s company.

In addition to Harder, the Hollywood producer is also being advised by Lisa Bloom. Bloom’s association with Weinstein has caused some confusion because the well-known celebrity attorney usually represents the victims in cases of sexual harassment. For instance, she has represented some of the accusers of alleged rapist Bill Cosby, the victims of sexual harassment from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, and former Apprentice star Summer Zervos in her case against President Donald Trump.

The New York Times allegations if true would constitute sexual harassment. However, Mr. Weinstein denies many of them and was not given a fair opportunity to present evidence and witnesses on his side,” Bloom said to The New York Times on Friday.

Lisa Bloom’s mother, the famed feminist attorney Gloria Allred, said she disagreed with her daughter’s decision to advise Weinstein.

“Had I been asked by Mr. Weinstein to represent him, I would have declined, because I do not represent individuals accused of sex harassment,” Allred said. “I only represent those who allege that they are victims of sexual harassment.”

What do you think of Harvey Weinstein? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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