Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and other actresses have come forward with their own stories of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein.
In a follow-up to its earlier expose, The New York Times on Tuesday reported that many other actresses have in recent days added to the chorus of accusations surrounding Weinstein.
Paltrow described his attempt to lure her, as a then young aspiring actress, into giving him a massage in a hotel room. The incident prompted her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt to confront Weinstein at a film premiere.
Angelina Jolie also told the paper that she has “a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth.”
“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 behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
Representatives for the actresses involved in both reports did not return messages seeking comment.
It was the second new development of allegations against Weinstein on Tuesday. Earlier, The New Yorker published a piece detailing, among other things, in which three women accuse Weinstein of raping them.
Representatives for Weinstein have not responded to messages Tuesday. The New Yorker quoted Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister responding that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
Both reports significantly ratcheted up the unfolding scandal surrounding Weinstein, who was fired Sunday from the Weinstein Co. By the end of Tuesday, former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, an array of movie stars and Weinstein’s own wife, Georgina Chapman, had issued statements condemning Weinstein’s alleged conduct. Chapman told People magazine she was leaving her husband after 10 years of marriage, citing Weinstein’s “unforgivable actions.”
The published stories thoroughly document the systematic harassment, abuse and intimidation of women — almost always young actresses trying to succeed in movies.
Actress Louisette Geiss (Two and a Half Men) also came forward Tuesday, announcing in a press conference at Gloria Allred’s Los Angeles office that in a 2008 meeting at the Sundance Film Festival, Weinstein appeared nude in an open bathrobe and asked several times that she watch him masturbate.
Weinstein company denies culpability
The Weinstein Co. board of directors, which includes Weinstein’s brother Bob, issued a statement late Tuesday, denying any culpability.
“These alleged actions are antithetical to human decency. These allegations come as an utter surprise to the board. Any suggestion that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false,” the four-member board said in a statement. “We are committed to assisting with our full energies in all criminal or other investigations of these alleged acts, while pursuing justice for the victims and a full and independent investigation of our own.”
Disney, which purchased Miramax in 1993, also responded Tuesday. The Weinsteins departed in 2005 to found The Weinstein Co.
“Fired (the) Weinsteins because they were irresponsible, and Harvey was an incorrigible bully,” said former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner on Twitter on Tuesday. “Had no idea he was capable of these horrible actions.”
“Harvey Weinstein’s reported behaviour is abhorrent and unacceptable, and it has no place in our society,” said Disney chief Bob Iger.
More Hollywood outrage
Since his firing, much of Hollywood has reacted with disgust and outraged, including Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, Jennifer Lawrence and George Clooney. Congressional Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, have given charities thousands of dollars in donations they had received from Weinstein.
In a statement on Twitter on Tuesday, Clinton said she was “shocked and appalled” by the revelations about Weinstein. She praised the women coming forward: “Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behaviour.”
Statement from Secretary Clinton on Harvey Weinstein: pic.twitter.com/L1l2wl9l0I
— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) October 10, 2017
Obama and his wife, Michelle, released a joint statement Tuesday evening expressing disgust with Weinstein. Their oldest daughter Malia interned with the company earlier this year, reports TMZ.
“Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status. We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories,” the statement said.
“I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades,” Ben Affleck wrote in a statement Tuesday. “The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick. This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others.”
Actress Rose McGowan – one of Weinstein’s alleged victims and most vocal opponents called out Affleck on Twitter.
@benaffleck “GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT” you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie.
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 10, 2017
Matt Damon, who collaborated frequently with Weinstein, and won a co-writing Oscar for Good Will Hunting with Affleck, said he didn’t know about Weinstein’s behaviour.
“This morning, I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach,” Damon told the trade website Deadline Tuesday. “This kind of stuff can’t happen.”
Weinstein has not publicly commented since Thursday.