Woody Allen warns against ‘witch hunt’ after Harvey Weinstein revelations

Posted October 16, 2017 12:18:13

Comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen says he feels “sad” for the those caught up in the Harvey Weinstein controversy but has warned against creating a “witch hunt atmosphere” targeting men in the workplace.

In an interview with the BBC, Allen said he hopes the revelations lead to “some amelioration” for those involved but said there are ultimately “no winners” in the scandal.

“You … don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either,” he said.

Weinstein has been accused by several actresses and models of harassment and “abuse of power” after a New York Times investigation revealed allegations of sexual misconduct spanning over three decades.

But Allen, who worked with Weinstein on several films throughout the 1990s, said he had never heard any serious allegations of rape or assault against Weinstein.

“No-one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness,” Allen said.

“And they wouldn’t, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie.

“But you do hear a million fanciful rumours all the time. And some turn out to be true and some — many — are just stories about this actress, or that actor.”

Since the Weinstein story broke more investigations have been published, including one by Allen’s estranged son Ronan Farrow, who spoke to multiple women who said they faced inappropriate encounters with the Hollywood executive.

“In the course of a 10-month investigation, I was told by 13 women that, between the 1990s and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them,” Farrow wrote in the New Yorker last week.

Allen feels sad for Weinstein’s ‘messed up’ life

Allen himself has faced accusations of sexual assault and paedophilia.

In 2014 his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow publicly accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was seven years old.

“For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like,” she wrote in the New York Times.

Weinstein has been credited with helping Allen’s career recover after the allegations first emerged in the early 1990s, making deals to distribute some of his movies at a time the director was reportedly “shunned” by the industry.

“Shunned by Hollywood means nothing to Miramax. We’re talking about a comic genius,” Weinstein told the LA Times in 1994.

“Chaplin was shunned by Hollywood; so were a great many other international filmmakers, including Fellini — and those are the people who belong with Miramax.”

Since the New York Times story was published Weinstein has been fired as co-chairman of the Weinstein Company which he co-founded, expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, and left by his wife Georgina Chapman.

“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Allen said.

“[It is] tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that [his] life is so messed up.

“There’s no winners in that, it’s just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that.”

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, sexual-offences, arts-and-entertainment, film-movies, united-states

London police receive new assault claims against Harvey Weinstein

Posted October 16, 2017 06:01:00

British police are investigating three new allegations of sexual assault against film producer Harvey Weinstein, all made by the same woman.

London’s Metropolitan Police force said on Sunday that the woman reported being assaulted in London in 2010, 2011 and 2015.

The force said officers from its Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command are investigating.

The woman’s name has not been made public. The force also did not name Weinstein, in keeping with its policy of not identifying suspects who have not been charged.

But it said the allegations involve a man against whom another accusation was made on Wednesday.

That alleged assault, reported to have taken place in west London during the late 1980s, is also being investigated.

British actress Lysette Anthony says she reported to police on Wednesday that Weinstein raped her in her west London home in the late 1980s.

Anthony, 54, who appears on the British soap opera Hollyoaks, told the Sunday Times newspaper that Weinstein raped her in the late 1980s after showing up at her London home.

She said she was left feeling “disgusted and embarrassed” after the attack.

“It was pathetic, revolting,” she was quoted as saying in a Thursday interview.

“I remember lying in the bath later and crying.”

Dozens of women have made allegations of sexual harassment and assault against the movie mogul in recent days, some dating back decades.

Weinstein denies non-consensual sexual activity.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took the almost unprecedented step over the weekend of revoking Weinstein’s membership.

It said it did so “to send a message that the era of wilful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behaviour and workplace harassment in our industry is over”.

Weinstein, who backed many British movies including Shakespeare in Love and The King’s Speech, has also been suspended by the British film academy.

AP

Topics: film-movies, arts-and-entertainment, sexual-offences, law-crime-and-justice, police, united-kingdom, united-states

‘I did not hunt for him’: Alleged ‘fixer’ denies setting up meetings for Harvey Weinstein

Posted October 14, 2017 17:49:03

The chorus of Hollywood stars and accusers denouncing film producer Harvey Weinstein has grown larger, as his brother insisted the embattled production company that bears both their names was “continuing as usual.”

Key points

  • Harvey Weinstein’s brother Bob says The Weinstein Co production company won’t shut down
  • More high-profile models, actresses accuse the producer of sexual assault
  • Robert De Nero and others scrap an Amazon series that was being produced by The Weinstein Co

The entertainment world has been reeling since last week’s New York Times report of decades of sexual abuse perpetrated by the executive.

Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Co, issued a statement saying the company wasn’t shutting down or exploring a sale. Harvey Weinstein was fired from the company on Sunday.

The statement mentioned a slate of three upcoming films, Polaroid, Paddington 2 and War with Grandpa, and said; “Business is continuing as usual as the company moves ahead.”

Push back against Harvey Weinstein and his company also came after Showtime said it will not move forward with an Oliver Stone drama in development, Guantanamo, unless The Weinstein Co was removed as a producer.

The drama about detainees at Guantanamo Bay had not yet been approved for a series and scripts are currently being written.

Showtime was a partner with The Weinstein Co in the project but the network said “we do not intend to move forward with the current configuration of the project and are exploring our options.”

Robert De Niro, Julianne Moore and director David O Russell said they had agreed to scrap an untitled Amazon Studios series that was being produced by The Weinstein Co.

The move came one day after Amazon Studios suspended its chief, Roy Price, after a producer on another series publicly accused him of making crude comments directed at her.

Some 30 women — including actresses Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow — have spoken out recently to say Mr Weinstein had sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them.

Director Quentin Tarantino said he was “stunned and heartbroken” about the allegations, but needed time to wrap his head around it.

In a brief statement via Twitter relayed by Amber Tamblyn, Mr Tarantino, whose films Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and The Hateful Eight were produced by Mr Weinstein, said he would address the issue soon.

“For the last week I’ve been stunned and heartbroken about the revelations that have come to light about my friend for 25 years Harvey Weinstein,” the statement said.

“I need a few more days to process my pain, emotions, anger and memory and then I will speak publicly about it.”

Mr Weinstein has denied any non-consensual sexual conduct with any women.

More women come forward

The public pressure increased on the one-time movie mogul as more actresses and models came forward to describe harrowing hotel encounters with Mr Weinstein.

Actress Minka Kelly said on Instagram after meeting Weinstein at an industry party, he invited her to his hotel room.

Uncomfortable with that, they instead met at a hotel restaurant, joined by an assistant who left shortly afterward.

Ms Kelly said Mr Weinstein suggested he’d give her “a lavish life filled with trips around the world on private planes” if she agreed to be his girlfriend.

She declined, saying she wanted to keep things professional, and excused herself.

He allegedly responded: “I trust you won’t tell anyone about this.”

Ms Kelly, who had a role in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which was produced by Mr Weinstein’s company, said she spoke out to add her voice to those demanding such abuses end.

Claire Forlani, who starred in Meet Joe Black, said she also felt regret for not speaking up sooner about multiple meetings in her 20s with Weinstein, a man she recalled requested massages and whom she called in a tweeted statement a “master manipulator.”

“I had two Peninsula Hotel meetings in the evening with Harvey and all I remember was I ducked, dived and ultimately got out of there without getting slobbered over, well just a bit,” she wrote.

He bragged about the actresses he had slept with “and what he had done for them.”

Social media remained a flashpoint.

Rose McGowan, one accuser who has heavily relied on Twitter, was locked out of her account over what the company said were violations of its terms of service, prompting a protest movement using the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter.

In response, Twitter issued a statement, saying it was “proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power. We stand with the brave women and men who use Twitter to share their stories, and will work hard every day to improve our processes to protect those voices.”

Alleged ‘fixer’ denies involvement

The net of allegations widened further, with a man accused of setting up meetings between Mr Weinstein and young women saying he “did not hunt” for Mr Weinstein.

Italian model Asia Argento named fomer Miramax executive Fabrizio Lombardo as someone who brought her to Mr Weinstein’s room when she was 21.

“He told me it was a Miramax party,” she Tweeted. “Only Harvey was there.’

New Zealand actress Zoë Brock wrote a detailed account of an alleged “Harveyed” moment in 1997, when she was 23.

She named Mr Lombardo as part of the “pack of Hyenas” who would “hunt” for Mr Weinstein.

She described being “terrified” as a naked Mr Weinstein chased her around a hotel room in Italy.

Mr Lombardo has denied the allegations.

“I did not hunt for him,” Mr Lombardo told The Guardian. “It is not my relationship with Weinstein.”

ABC/wires

Topics: sexual-offences, law-crime-and-justice, film, film-movies, united-states

Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan’s Twitter account suspended

Updated October 12, 2017 19:45:21

American actor Rose McGowan, one of disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s most vocal critics, has had her Twitter account suspended for violating the site’s rules.

McGowan has alleged Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 1997, and as more women have come forward with similar allegations in recent days, she has used Twitter to share the stories and lead a charge against Weinstein.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, McGowan revealed Twitter had temporarily restricted access to her account.

“THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK,” McGowan posted.

It is unclear exactly which of Twitter’s rules McGowan broke and which were the offending tweets.

In recent posts, McGowan told Ben Affleck — who also has been forced to apologise after video of him groping a woman re-emerged — to “f*** off” and called Weinstein’s brother Bob a “POS”.

McGowan started an online petition to try to dissolve The Weinstein Company — which currently has over 11,000 signatures — and encouraged her #RoseArmy to help her “slay dragons”.

“[The Weinstein Company] You don’t get to change your company name and be done with it,” McGowan tweeted.

“Every man there has the blood of sorrow on their hands. You are dirty.”

She also called Affleck a liar on Tuesday, after the Good Will Hunting actor expressed his disgust when learning of Weinstein’s indiscretions.

The list of people to have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct now includes model and actor Cara Delevigne, and actors Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Weinstein has reportedly reached eight settlements with women in the past 30 years after being confronted with allegations of sexual harassment, according to The New York Times.

Topics: sexual-offences, law-crime-and-justice, film, industry, arts-and-entertainment, film-movies, united-states

First posted October 12, 2017 19:10:04

You don’t need to be a father to stand up to abusers. You need to believe women

Posted October 12, 2017 15:32:21

In the years I spent living a beer-bottle’s toss from Sydney’s red-light district, Kings Cross, one sight that always struck me was empty baby seats in the back of cars that slowed to a halt beside sex workers.

It was the incongruity, the innocence, the secrets.

Now, every time a mogul is exposed for being a grub, a harasser or a rapist, I wonder about the ensuing conversations with their children, if they have them. Especially daughters.

Ivanka staring down her father about his penchant for “pussy grabbing” — because “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” She cried when he wouldn’t fully apologise.

Rolf Harris’s daughter Bindi had to stomach allegations he sexually assaulted teenagers, including one of her best friends. When she found out, she destroyed two of her father’s paintings in rage and struggled with suicidal thoughts.

Ultimately though, she stood by him, telling the court: “I realised we are all human, I had him on a pedestal and now I can see him as a father and man.” (So that is what fathers and men do?)

Is this how Bill Cosby’s daughters, Ensa, Erin and Evin came together to defend his reputation against 50 odd allegations of sexual assault? And what of the fourth daughter, painter Erika?

TV host Bill O’Reilly’s daughter testified against her father in court during a custody trial, saying she saw him choking her mother — his ex-wife, Maureen McPhilmy — and dragging her down some stairs, an allegation he denied.

Surely many men come unstuck explaining themselves to their daughters.

Confronting your family

After a long litany of personal accounts from women accusing him of sexual assault this week, Harvey Weinstein reportedly stormed out of his daughter Remi Lily’s home, yelling “you’re making things worse”.

She then called the police and said her father was depressed and suicidal. Imagine the scene: a powerful man grappling with sudden, complete impotence, exposure and condemnation, beseeching a disgusted daughter to understand.

Having to explain a pattern of serial contempt for women, let alone abuse and assault, would be gruelling for any bloke who wants his offspring to respect him. Though you’d have to say, fair cop: should have thought that one through, perhaps.

But you don’t need to be a father to understand what rape and abuse is. Frankly it shouldn’t be that hard to grasp.

The idea that men can simply say “Yeah I get it, I have a daughter” in response to shocking accounts of abuse has this week been rightly exposed as trite and pat, and another form of saying “Yeah I know heaps of gay people/have lots of black friends/sat next to a lesbian at a dinner party recently/wore a frock in a school play once.”

The new ‘thoughts and prayers’

Online, anger was triggered by actor Matt Damon, a protege of Weinstein’s, after he told a reporter: “Look, even before I was famous, I didn’t abide this kind of behaviour. But now, as the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night. This is the great fear for all of us. You have a daughter, you know…”

Twitter collectively eye-rolled.

E. Alex Jung tweeted; “‘I have a daughter’ is getting up there with ‘thoughts and prayers.”

Abigail Shirley wrote: “Dear Men, please remove the phrase ‘as a husband and/or a father of daughters’ from your vocabulary. Women exist outside your bubble.”

Jess Dweck retorted: ‘”As the father of 25 daughters, I’m starting to think women might actually be people.”

And as Louis Virtel explained: “It’s hard to topple the patriarchy when your ‘I have daughters’ argument is so, y’know, patriarchal.”

This is especially true when men aren’t also saying “I have sons — I need to work out how to teach them to respect women, and I recognise that will be bloody hard in this world. I don’t want to ever find out that my son has trapped women in corridors or pushed unwilling heads towards groins or pawed associates or made one single woman feel small, uncomfortable and violated. I want to teach my son to believe in women, and believe them.”

Because this is at the core of this week’s stunning revelations about decades of sexual abuse by one of America’s most powerful, prominent figures: women will speak if women are believed. Then more will speak.

A history of ignoring women

Those who have spoken before have been doubted, vilified, slut-shamed or cast as crazy, even when they have precisely zero to gain when speaking out.

Think of how the iconic Alfred Hitchcock indulged his obsession with Tippi Hedren in the 1960s; controlling what she ate and who she saw, making a mask of her face for his own use, asking her to “touch” him, informing her when he got an erection, trying to kiss her in his limousine, tricking her into thinking mechanical birds would be swooping on her in the final scenes of The Birds, not real ones, which pecked and terrified her.

In short, he introduced her to an enduring, searing kind of misery and, she says, destroyed her career.

Finally, she wrote in her memoir, one day he showed up in her dressing room and “put his hands” on her. “It was sexual, it was perverse, and it was ugly, and I couldn’t have been more shocked or repulsed.”

She pushed him away, said she wanted to get out of her contract and never spoke to him again — or agreed to his demand that she make herself sexually available.

When she told her story, Hitchcock biographers and colleagues cast doubt on her claims.

She responded by saying: “They weren’t there. How about that? I was the one living that life. They weren’t. How can they possibly have anything to say about it?”

Over the past few months, this kind of automatic criticism has been muted in the face of mounting evidence.

After decades of incidents, of hurt, settlements and secrets, women have spoken, and women have been believed.

As a result, the ranks of those publicly seeking to expose and counter a culture of rape and abuse have thickened. And this makes the world a vastly different, and safer place.

Julia Baird hosts the Drum on ABCTV. Twitter: bairdjulia

Topics: sexual-offences, film-movies, arts-and-entertainment, film, united-states

There was a reference to Harvey Weinstein in 30 Rock that we all missed

Posted October 11, 2017 17:52:43

Five years ago there was a line in an episode of 30 Rock that alluded to Harvey Weinstein having a reputation for asking actresses for sexual favours.

It was a quick jab, buried in a wider plot line about show business, but is now being used as an example of how Weinstein’s alleged behaviour has been an “open secret” in Hollywood for years.

“I’m not afraid of anyone in show business,” says actress Jenna Maroney, played by Jane Krakowski.

“I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions … out of five.”

And it’s not the only reference to Weinstein’s alleged behaviour that’s been laughed off in the past.

Take this joke made by comedian Seth McFarlane after announcing the 2012 Oscar nominees for best supporting actress:

“Congratulations. You five ladies no longer have to pretend you’re attracted to Harvey Weinstein,” he said.

And then there was the intimidating and aggressive “Harvey Weingard” played by Maury Chaykin in HBO’s Entourage, a character widely believed to have been inspired by Weinstein.

“Do you know who I am? You’re gonna beg to get back into the pizza business,” Weingard yells in one scene.

‘Maybe we have all been naive’

Today actresses Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow joined a growing list of women making accusations against the film mogul, and dozens of other celebrities that he has worked with have now spoken publicly about the case, condemning his alleged actions.

But even Judi Dench, who has had a running joke with Weinstein for years that she has a tattoo of his name on her bottom, says she was “completely unaware” of the alleged offences.

“Whilst there is no doubt that Harvey Weinstein has helped and championed my film career for the past 20 years, I was completely unaware of these offences which are, of course, horrifying and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out,” she said in a statement provided to Entertainment Weekly.

But Kate Winslet, who won an Oscar for The Weinstein Company’s The Reader, appeared to confirm in her statement that there had been rumours about Weinstein for some time.

“I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made-up rumours, maybe we have all been naïve,” she wrote.

Weinstein has apologised for causing “a lot of pain” with his behaviour in the past, but his spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister says he denies “any allegations of non-consensual sex”.

Topics: arts-and-entertainment, television, film-movies, sexual-offences, law-crime-and-justice, crime, united-states

Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Terry Crews reveals Hollywood sexual assault

Posted October 11, 2017 11:25:13

Actor and former NFL player Terry Crews has revealed his own story of being sexually assaulted by a Hollywood heavyweight in the wake of allegations against powerful executive producer Harvey Weinstein.

In a series of tweets, Crews, who plays the iron-pumping, yoghurt-loving Detective Sergeant Terry Jeffords on sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine and appeared in The Expendables and Bridesmaids, recounts being groped by a “high-level Hollywood executive” but not retaliating or speaking out for fear of losing work or being ostracised in the entertainment industry.

People were quick to reply to Crews’ story, congratulating him for speaking out.

“Thank you. If someone like you can feel intimidated by a person in power it really shows how a young woman just starting out would feel,” Kathy Radigan said.

Another user, Falcon Resists, tweeted: “If Terry Crews can be assaulted in front of his wife by a predator with power, it’s no wonder women feel powerless in similar situations.”

A spotlight is being shone on sexual harassment in Hollywood after it was revealed in the past week that film mogul Weinstein is the subject of decades of allegations by numerous actresses, including Angelina Jolie and Gwenyth Paltrow.

Topics: television, film-movies, sexual-offences, united-states