Top Hollywood actresses Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have joined a group of other actresses in accusing the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse.
In a story published online by The New Yorker, three women, including the Italian actress Asia Argento, have accused Weinstein of raping them though, however, a representative of Weinstein later denied all the allegations.
In a follow-up of its earlier online expose, The New York Times reported on Tuesday that numerous other actresses have come out and added to the chorus of accusations against Weinstein. According to their report, Paltrow, then 22, described Weinstein’s attempt to lure her into giving him a massage in a hotel room. This incident later prompted her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt to confront him angrily at a film premier.
Talking about Weinstein, Angelina Jolie said that it was in the late 90s at the time of release of ‘Playing by Heart’ that Weinstein “made unwanted advances on her in a hotel room, which she rejected.” In an email to The New York Times, Jolie 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. This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.
Serious allegations from famous actresses have increased the troubles that Weinstein is facing over the scandal, with him even being ousted from the Weinstein Co. on Sunday. In fact, according to People Magazine, Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman was also leaving him. The heartbroken woman was quoted saying:
My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions. I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time.
Chapman is co-founder of the luxury brand Marchesa. She met Weinstein in 2004, following which she married him in the year 2007.
The stories gathered from various actresses seemingly document how Weinstein excelled in taking advantage of struggling actresses, especially young ladies trying to make their mark in films. According to Lucia Evans, then a senior at Middlebury College, Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 at the Miramax offices in Tribeca, when she had been brought in for a casting meeting with Weinstein. Argento, an actress and director, said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999. The third woman, however, chose to speak anonymously.
Later The New Yorker quoted Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister as “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Weinstein.”
According to Hofmeister:
Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation by any women for refusing his advances. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.
Despite trying severely to protect the rights and dignity of Weinstein in society, the latter faced severe criticism from all, including former US President Barrack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama. The Obamas came out with a joint statement expressing disgust with 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.
Matt Damon, who collaborated frequently with Weinstein, and won a co-writing Oscar for “Good Will Hunting” with Affleck, said he was absolutely in the dark regarding this side of Weinstein. His statement to the trade website Deadline reads:
This morning, I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach. This kind of stuff can’t happen.