Harvey Weinstein is probably best known for his work as a producer on films such as Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love. Until he was removed from the board earlier this week he was also the Chairman of a film studio called the Weinstein Company; releasing films such as Django Unchained and The King’s Speech. He is a Hollywood powerhouse. Recently though Weinstein’s illustrious career in film has been massively damaged by allegations that he sexually abused teenage actresses as far back as the 1970’s. The latest development sees Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow join an ever-growing list of women who accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment.
The original allegations state that Weinstein forced the actresses, namely Asia Argento and Lucia Evans, to perform sex acts on him along with a third unnamed woman. Theses original testimonies which appeared in the New Yorker have since given other potential victims the confidence to come forward. Weinstein vehemently denied any wrongdoing and insists that the allegations are false. A spokesman said on his behalf:
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. He never retaliated against women who refused his sexual 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.”
Gwyneth Paltrow alleges that Weinstein would place his hands on intimate parts of her body and suggest that they head to the bedroom for ‘massages’. Angelina Jolie had this to say of her own personal encounter with Weinstein:
“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 behavior towards women in any field, in any country is unacceptable”
Audio evidence has also come to light of Harvey Weinstein admitting to having intentionally groped a woman following an undercover sting by the New York Police Department in 2015.
The revelations have shocked the film industry and prominent figures in politics, film and many other disciplines have shown a united front in condemning Weinstein’s behaviour. Former President Barack Obama said: –
“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. 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”
“I said over and over ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t.’ I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him”
It is important to stress that the allegations against Weinstein are still unproven and it remains to be seen whether or not any criminal action will follow. However, with reports circulating that concerns regarding Weinstein were suppressed as far back as 2004, it begs the question whether Hollywood must do more to protect young actresses from harm.