Here's Why Brad Pitt Is Getting Called Out For Executive Producing The Harvey Weinstein Exposé "She Said"

Warning: This article includes discussion of sexual assault and domestic violence.

She Said is a movie about what it took to break the Harvey Weinstein story — which is why it might be surprising for some that Brad Pitt is an executive producer.

For context, She Said stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as the New York Times reporters who first broke the story “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades” — Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor. Posters for She Said show a woman in shadow with the caption “Will you go on the record?” The trailer’s opening lines ask, “Why is sexual harassment so pervasive and so hard to address? Let’s interrogate the whole system.”

Subsequently, Pitt’s role as executive producer can seem hypocritical to those who allege that Pitt worked with Weinstein after knowledge of his harassment of two women — and given Pitt’s own allegations of abuse.

  Axelle / FilmMagic / Getty Images
Axelle / FilmMagic / Getty Images

The first woman we know to have approached Pitt with allegations against Weinstein was his then-girlfriend, Gwyneth Paltrow. In a 2017 New York Times story by Jodi Kantor and Rachel Abrams, Paltrow alleged that Weinstein invited her to his hotel suite for a work meeting — and that he placed his hands on her and suggested "they head to the bedroom for massages."

Gwyneth and Brad at an event together

Gwyneth told Pitt about the incident, who confirmed to the Times that he confronted Weinstein at a movie premiere and told him not to touch her again. Paltrow said that Weinstein subsequently “screamed at me for a long time" for talking about the incident, and that she feared she would be fired from Emma.

“At that moment, I was just a boy from the Ozarks on the playground and that’s how we confronted things,” Pitt said in 2019 of his confrontation with Weinstein. “I just wanted to make sure nothing was going to happen further, because Paltrow was going to do two [more] films [with Weinstein]."

A source close to Pitt told BuzzFeed that the confrontation subsequently led to Pitt being blacklisted from being cast in Miramax roles. Juda Engelmayer, a representative for Weinstein said in response, “the charge is just untrue.”

Kevin Mazur / WireImage / Getty Images

However, it did not stop him from appearing in movies distributed by the Weinstein Company — including the 2009 hit Inglourious Basterds. A source close to Pitt maintained that Pitt had minimal contact with Weinstein throughout production and that the movie was a continuation of Pitt’s work with director Quentin Tarantino — who at the time had all of his movies distributed via Weinstein.

Weinsten and Pitt at a red carpet event

Engelmayer confirmed that there was “limited contact” between Pitt and Weinstein.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

This brings us to Angelina Jolie's account of her experience with Weinstein. In the same 2017 New York Times piece that broke Paltrow’s story, she said, “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.”

“If you get yourself out of the room, you think he attempted but didn’t, right? The truth is that the attempt and the experience of the attempt is an assault,

“If you get yourself out of the room, you think he attempted but didn’t, right? The truth is that the attempt and the experience of the attempt is an assault," Jolie further told the Guardian last year.

“It was beyond a pass, it was something I had to escape. I stayed away and warned people about him. I remember telling Jonny, my first husband, who was great about it, to spread the word to other guys — don’t let girls go alone with him. I was asked to do The Aviator, but I said no because he was involved. I never associated or worked with him again. It was hard for me when Brad did," she continued.

Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

Jolie further alleges that Pitt approached Weinstein to act as a producer on the 2012 movie Killing Them Softly, which the Weinstein Company distributed. “We fought about it. Of course it hurt,” she told the Guardian about Pitt allegedly reaching out to Weinstein, despite knowing Jolie said he assaulted her.

Engelmayer said of Pitt’s relationship with Weinstein during Killing Them Softly, “The [sic] worked together and discussed the score with one another, flew to Hong Kong together and more.  Not sure who approached who, but they did interact often.”A source close to Pitt said this claim was “false.” Instead, a source familiar with the deal said that the distribution for Killing Them Softly via the Weinstein Company — as allegedly Weinstein was one of the only people to agree to distribute such a film — was managed through CAA, meaning that Pitt and Weinstein had no direct interaction.

Engelmayer said of Pitt’s relationship with Weinstein during Killing Them Softly, “The [sic] worked together and discussed the score with one another, flew to Hong Kong together and more. Not sure who approached who, but they did interact often.”

A source close to Pitt said this claim was “false.” Instead, a source familiar with the deal said that the distribution for Killing Them Softly via the Weinstein Company — as allegedly Weinstein was one of the only people to agree to distribute such a film — was managed through CAA, meaning that Pitt and Weinstein had no direct interaction.

Dimitrios Kambouris / WireImage / Getty Images

Beyond the parameters of Weinstein and Pitt’s relationship, there are the allegations of Pitt having “physically and verbally assaulted” Jolie and their children.

The allegations stem from a September 2016 incident on a private jet, reportedly shortly before Jolie filed for divorce. Pitt was subsequently investigated for child abuse (and later cleared) and the FBI concluded that it would not “pursue further investigation.” In March 2017, Pitt covered GQ and admitted to being on a “self-inflicted” journey that involved giving up alcohol, as it became a “problem.” Then, in April of this year, Entertainment Tonight reported that Jolie was likely suing the FBI “for information regarding their investigation into an incident of alleged domestic violence.”Jolie’s involvement in the FBI lawsuit was confirmed in August, where details of the incident were revealed. According to an October countersuit involving the pair’s joint French winery, Pitt allegedly

The allegations stem from a September 2016 incident on a private jet, reportedly shortly before Jolie filed for divorce. Pitt was subsequently investigated for child abuse (and later cleared) and the FBI concluded that it would not “pursue further investigation.” In March 2017, Pitt covered GQ and admitted to being on a “self-inflicted” journey that involved giving up alcohol, as it became a “problem.” Then, in April of this year, Entertainment Tonight reported that Jolie was likely suing the FBI “for information regarding their investigation into an incident of alleged domestic violence.”

Jolie’s involvement in the FBI lawsuit was confirmed in August, where details of the incident were revealed. According to an October countersuit involving the pair’s joint French winery, Pitt allegedly "grabbed" Jolie "by the head and shook her, and then grabbed her shoulders and shook her again before pushing her into the bathroom wall." He then "punched the ceiling of the plane numerous times” and poured alcohol over Jolie and their children. Pitt further “choked one of the children and struck another in the face.”

Pitt’s lawyer, Anne Kiley, subsequently issued a statement saying, “Brad has owned everything he’s responsible for from day one — unlike the other side — but he’s not going to own anything he didn't do. He has been on the receiving end of every type of personal attack and misrepresentation.”

Anthony Harvey / Getty Images

And yet Pitt is an executive producer on She Said. According to a source close to Pitt, it was one of his Plan B production partners that was the key person in securing the movie’s rights and managing production. The source close to Pitt further said, "As one of the only people in Hollywood to stand up to Weinstein, in relation to the Gwyneth situation, he certainly has great respect for the journalists who were also the first ones to stand up to Weinstein."

Pitt himself has said little publicly on the movie. When he was asked in August by Deadline about producing She Said, Blonde, and Women Talking — all three of which deal with sexual assault — he said, “They’re all three really powerful.” When prompted for further comment, he added, “I think they’re gonna speak for themselves.”

Pitt himself has said little publicly on the movie. When he was asked in August by Deadline about producing She Said, Blonde, and Women Talking — all three of which deal with sexual assault — he said, “They’re all three really powerful.” When prompted for further comment, he added, “I think they’re gonna speak for themselves.”

JoJo Whilden / Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Some criticism against Pitt began to take shape on Twitter from the announcement of Pitt’s executive producer credit:

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Of course, questioning Pitt’s own ties with Weinstein and allegations of abuse runs the risk of overshadowing the women whose stories are being told in She Said. With a cynical eye, it can be easy to critique She Said as an impossible project, bound by the very confines of its medium — how much could a Hollywood movie about abuse in its own industry ever escape it? Still, perhaps it is worth considering how the movie’s own words ring out amid this background: "This is bigger than Weinstein, this is about the system protecting abusers."

Representatives for Angelina Jolie, Carey Mulligan, and Maria Schrader did not respond to BuzzFeed’s request for comment. BuzzFeed reached out to Universal but did not hear back at the time of publication. A spokesperson for Brad Pitt declined to comment.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here