According to a bombshell new report, multiple women accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of not just sexual harassment, but rape as well.
Three women, including current and former actresses, told The New Yorker that Weinstein previously forced oral or vaginal sex on them. New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow reported hearing from more than a dozen women who alleged Weinstein harassed them over the span of about two decades, claims that appeared to corroborate a New York Times report that Weinstein allegedly sexually harassed women and paid off his accusers for years.
Farrow's story alleges that employees at The Weinstein Co., a production and distribution company Weinstein co-founded, were either aware of or abetted Weinstein's behavior. That apparent complicity combined with widespread fear of retaliation on the accusers' part appeared to allow these allegations to remain under wraps for so long.
Weinstein's spokesperson Sallie Hofmeister said her client firmly denied any allegations of non-consensual sex:
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his 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. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
Farrow's sources, however, gave detailed accounts of Weinstein's alleged assaults. Lucia Evans, for example, described how Weinstein allegedly assaulted her when she was an aspiring actress in 2004:
“He forced me to perform oral sex on him.” As she objected, Weinstein took his penis out of his pants and pulled her head down onto it. “I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,’” she said. “I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him.” In the end, she said, “He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.” At a certain point, she said, “I just sort of gave up. That’s the most horrible part of it, and that’s why he’s been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it’s their fault.”
Farrow reported that four of the women he interviewed claimed that Weinstein masturbated in front of them.
Following the Times's reporting last week, the board of Weinstein's company fired its co-founder and saw several resignations.