The latest on the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations: More victims, another lawyer departs, and #MeToo goes viral

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Carly Milne
·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle
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Harvey Weinstein at the 2016 Zurich Film Festival. (Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
Harvey Weinstein at the 2016 Zurich Film Festival. (Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Most scandals seem to follow a pattern: There’s an explosion of information, and then it quickly peters out and fades away to make room for the next thing to grab attention in the 24-hour news cycle. That’s not happening with the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal, as the disgraced producer has been the subject of further examination, ridicule, and allegations over the past few days. Weinstein continues to deny allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Here’s a rundown of the latest:

More victims step forward

Over the weekend, more women bravely stepped forward to share their alleged harassment and assault experiences with Weinstein, bringing the number of victims past 30. British actress Lysette Anthony wrote an essay for the Sunday Times alleging that Weinstein not only raped her 15 years ago but terrorized her for years afterward, sexually harassing her and attempting to force her into sexual situations.

Anthony met Weinstein in 1982 while she was doing press for the movie Krull and saw him over the years at social events. The two even lunched together on occasion, all without incident. But one evening, Anthony was invited to Weinstein’s rented home. She said he quickly undressed and grabbed her. After she ran out, he’d show up at her home at all hours of the day and night. One morning, Anthony relented and let him in. “He pushed me inside and rammed me up against the coat rack in my tiny hall and started fumbling at my gown. He was trying to kiss me and shove inside me. It was disgusting,” she wrote, adding that in the aftermath, she felt she should “forget the whole disgusting incident,” adding, “I blamed myself. I’d been an idiot to think he and I were just friends.”

From there, she said, Weinstein attempted his bathrobe/massage/hotel room routine during a business meeting, and repeatedly harassed her until 2002, when he finally gave up. In the wake of all the Weinstein abuse allegations coming out, Anthony reported her rape to police. Her story ends with a heartbreaking statement: “The truth is that Harvey Weinstein raped me — not in a hotel suite with champagne and ­caviar on tap, but up against a coat rack on a grey morning in my own home.”

Then, Paula Wachowiak, now 62, told the Buffalo News that Weinstein exposed himself to her in the ’80s when she worked on his first film. She had applied to be an office intern, but Weinstein upped her to a production assistant intern. When she was asked to deliver checks to Weinstein’s hotel room for signing, she said, he answered the door in nothing but a towel, which he let drop when she handed him the checks. He asked for a massage, to which she replied, “That’s not in my job description.” Weinstein reminded her about “what a fantastic opportunity” the internship was, and she reiterated that she wouldn’t touch him. Eventually he let her go, but later on set, she said, Weinstein asked her, “So, was seeing me naked the highlight of your internship?” Her response? “Actually, Harvey, you disgust me.”

And on Sunday, a former Miramax employee — going under the pseudonym Sarah Smith in order to protect herself — alleged in a Daily Mail story that Weinstein raped her in the basement of the Miramax offices in London back in 1992. Smith shared that she was so traumatized by the attack that she didn’t tell her husband about it until news of Weinstein’s misdeeds blanketed the press. “I just felt mortified and ashamed — and that no one would believe me,” she told the Daily Mail, adding, “He was incredibly well-connected, powerful and important — and I was just a nobody.” Smith said she was alone in the office when Weinstein entered, went to the basement, and called her downstairs, where she found him naked. “He grabbed me and he was so big and powerful,” she said. “He just ripped my clothes away and pushed me, threw me down. Then … I kept shouting, ‘No! Stop!’ and tried to push him off. But he forced himself on me.” When he finished, he told her, “Get out!”

As for why Smith waited to tell her story, she said, “We live in more enlightened times now, but back then I just thought no one would believe me.” And she still suffers from panic attacks, telling the Mail, “Even after all these years, I can still wake up screaming.”

Sarah Polley’s op-ed is titled, “The Men You Meet Making Movies.” (Photo: Sonia Recchia/Getty Images for Netflix)
Sarah Polley’s op-ed is titled, “The Men You Meet Making Movies.” (Photo: Sonia Recchia/Getty Images for Netflix)

In a powerful New York Times op-ed, actress Sarah Polley accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault when the actress was just 19. She told the story of how she was called to Weinstein’s office for a meeting, saying, “He told me, in front of the publicist and a co-worker beside him, that a famous star, a few years my senior, had once sat across from him in the chair I was in now. Because of his ‘very close relationship’ with this actress, she had gone on to play leading roles and win awards. If he and I had that kind of ‘close relationship,’ I could have a similar career. ‘That’s how it works,’ I remember him telling me. The implication wasn’t subtle.”

Polley turned him down, and in her op-ed she called for change to sweep through the industry and wipe out the rest of the men like Weinstein — and the culture that enables them.

Actress Melissa Sagemiller also spoke up, sharing her experience of starring in the 2000 film Get Over It. Sagemiller recounted how Weinstein tried to coax her into his hotel room after a lunch meeting, tried his massage routine after he demanded that she meet him in his room to go over the script, and ordered that she be delivered to his private plane after shooting wrapped in a show of superiority. As Sagemiller told the Huffington Post, when she rebuffed Weinstein’s advances, he reportedly told her, “Well, Renée did it and Charlize did it and this other actress did it. Don’t you want your career to be more than just this little teen film?” (Zellweger and Theron have yet to comment.)

Australian actress Natalie Mendoza shared her story of standing up to Weinstein’s advances. As reported by Australia’s Herald Sun and quoted in Daily Variety, the actress encountered Weinstein in 2002 while under a three-picture deal with Miramax. “I might have told Mr W mid-script ‘meeting’ after he sent his assistant out that I’d punch him if he didn’t take his hands off me,” she wrote in a Facebook post, adding, “Shook all the way home but high-fived myself for knowing my self worth in my early 20s. I knew my first film would be my last after that and I was more than OK about it.” In another post, she recounted how she realized the whole thing was a setup.

Actress Eva Green also says she has a Harvey Weinstein story. (Photo: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)
Actress Eva Green also says she has a Harvey Weinstein story. (Photo: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

Actress Eva Green told Variety that she was “shocked” and “disgusted” by a meeting with Weinstein. “I met him for a business meeting in Paris at which he behaved inappropriately and I had to push him off,” the Bond girl shared. “I got away without it going further, but the experience left me shocked and disgusted.” Green’s mother, French actress Marlene Jobert, had initially shared the story in a radio interview, adding that Weinstein threatened to “destroy” Green for rebuffing his advances.

Actress Alice Evans published an essay where she detailed how rebuffing Weinstein’s advances hurt not only her career but also that of her boyfriend, actor Ioan Gruffudd.

In the wake of investigation announcements from Scotland Yard and the NYPD, the Los Angeles Police Department is now asking women who have been victimized by Weinstein to make a report. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell also told the Los Angeles Times that they would investigate any claims made against Weinstein.

Weinstein loses another high-powered lawyer

Meanwhile, lawyer Charles Harder — whom Weinstein hired to file suit against the New York Times — is no longer representing the mogul. There are conflicting reports of whether he was fired or quit, but his departure from Weinstein’s legal team came just days after Lisa Bloom left. Speaking of Weinstein’s former attorney, Bloom gave an interview over the weekend to BuzzFeed News in which she said that representing him had been “a colossal mistake.”

The Hollywood Reporter says that Weinstein has now hired attorney Blair Berk, whose client list includes Mel Gibson.

Weinstein booted from the Academy and the Producers Guild

On Saturday, the Board of Directors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority” had voted to strip Weinstein of his membership. In a statement, the Academy said, “We [have voted to expel Weinstein] not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.”

(Of course, as John Oliver pointed out on Last Week Tonight, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby, and Mel Gibson are still members, and accused sexual predator Casey Affleck will be handing out the Best Actress award at next year’s ceremony.)

The academy’s decision was followed by the Producers Guild of America’s on Monday, when members voted unanimously to revoke Weinstein’s membership. Weinstein has an opportunity to respond before the guild makes its final decision on Nov. 6. Also of note: The guild launched an Anti-Sexual Harassment Task Force to help prevent future incidences of sexual assault in Hollywood.

More celebs weigh in … and some put their foot in their mouth

More and more celebs are speaking out about Weinstein’s misconduct — and for the most part, they’re denouncing it. Even fashion industry heavyweights stepped in, offering comments from Tom Ford and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who said, “We all have a role to play in creating environments where everyone can work without fear.” Ford added that Weinstein’s behavior was “shocking, indefensible and disturbing on many levels.”

Kate Winslet accepts her Oscar for <i>The Reader</i> in 2009. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kate Winslet accepts her Oscar for The Reader in 2009. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Actress Kate Winslet talked about the hell of working with Weinstein on The Reader, telling the L.A. Times about her choice to leave him out of her thank-yous when she won an Oscar. “I remember being told. ‘Make sure you thank Harvey if you win,'” she told The Times. “And I remember turning around and saying, ‘No I won’t. No, I won’t.’ And it was nothing to do with not being grateful. If people aren’t well-behaved, why would I thank him?” She added that not having to work with Weinstein again is the best thing ever.

Blake Lively also spoke out for change while in an appearance on Good Morning America, saying, “I think it’s important we acknowledge this isn’t just Hollywood. This is so much global. And this isn’t, ‘Oh, guess what, this is what’s happening to women suddenly.’ This has been happening to women since the beginning of time, and I think that’s what’s important.”

In fact, Twitter dug up a 2005 interview Love did on the red carpet, where she warned actresses not to go to a hotel meeting with Weinstein if invited. She later shared on Twitter that power agency CAA had blackballed her as a result.

Saturday Night Live finally weighed in on the Weinstein case with a skit and a strong condemnation during “Weekend Update,” wherein Colin Jost suggested maybe what the producer needs is to go to jail.

Anna Paquin posted an ad for a fake film starring Casey Affleck as Harvey Weinstein in a Brett Ratner movie, with a call out to actor Michael Fassbender, who himself had been the subject of terrifying domestic violence claims back in 2010. Fassbender’s then girlfriend pressed charges for two incidents of violent domestic abuse, during which Fassbender allegedly “threw her in a drunken fury” and “dragged her alongside their car,” resulting in a swollen ankle, a burst ovarian cyst, a broken nose, and a blown-out kneecap. She later dropped the charges and reconciled with Fassbender.

There were missteps too. James Corden told some tasteless and ill-timed Weinstein jokes during a charity event. Corden was denounced by actresses and vocal Weinstein accusers Rose McGowan and Asia Argento, among many others on Twitter, prompting the comedian to issue an apology. (Writer Rosalyn Warren pointed out Corden and Weinstein have been pretty chummy in the past.)

Then Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik wrote a troubling New York Times op-ed that veered into victim blaming, and included sentiments like, “I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.” Bialik was quickly dressed down on Twitter, including scathing responses from actresses Emmy Rossum and Patricia Arquette (who shared, “I have to say I was dressed non provocatively at 12 walking home from school when men masturbated at me. It’s not the clothes.”) Bialik has since claimed her comments are being taken out of context, and engaged in a Facebook Live interview with the Times to clear things up, wherein she said she “regrets the piece for what it became.”

Director Woody Allen, who himself has been the subject of molestation charges for decades, came to Weinstein’s defense this weekend in a BBC interview. “The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” he said. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up. There’s no winners in that. It’s just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that.” He also hoped that it wouldn’t lead to a “witch hunt atmosphere,” where “every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.” Allen has since reframed his comments, saying he thought it was clear that he was saying Weinstein is a “sad, sick man.”

Lastly, designer Donna Karan was lambasted last week for her comments suggesting women needed to look at the way they dressed and acted when she was asked about Weinstein on the red carpet for an event. When pressed on her comment by Women’s Wear Daily, Karan said, “It didn’t come out [the right] way.”

#MeToo goes viral

It was Alyssa Milano who got the hashtag #MeToo trending on Twitter on Sunday night, encouraging women to use it to show how widespread sexual assault and harassment is. “If all the women who have ever been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, then we give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” she wrote, and the response was overwhelming. By Monday morning, just shy of 24 hours after Milano started the movement, a Twitter rep reported that the #MeToo hashtag had generated nearly half a million tweets. Milano’s tweet launching the awareness campaign had been liked more than 32,000 times and retweeted 16,000 times.

Actress Rita Moreno talked about her harassment experience at the hands of late Fox production head Buddy Adler, and singer Bjork detailed the harassment she received at the hands of a Dutch filmmaker on Facebook (with many speculating the director in question was Lars Von Trier.)

Meanwhile, Weinstein’s brother Bob did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter saying he too was a victim of Harvey’s abuse, adding that Harvey has a “sickness” and shows “no remorse” for his behavior. Then, Amazon axed a Weinstein Company production with David O. Russell, which was supported by Russell and stars Julianne Moore and Robert De Niro.

While rumors were rampant over the weekend that the company would be shut down entirely, Yahoo Finance reports that the struggling production arm has received an influx of cash from investment firm Colony Capital. The company is run by Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a “close outside adviser” to Donald Trump, who also acquired Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in 2008.

One has to wonder what kinds of revelations this week will bring.

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