Neill-Fraser’s murder case subject of new Tasmanian play

Updated October 17, 2017 15:53:45

A play focused on one of Tasmania’s most divisive criminal cases is set to open just one week before a long-awaited “last chance” appeal begins in court.

The Tasmanian Theatre Company’s production An Inconvenient Woman makes its debut on October 24, with a sold-out opening show.

The production centres on the case of Sue Neill-Fraser, who is serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted of the murder of her de facto partner Bob Chappell, 65, who went missing from the couple’s yacht Four Winds on Australia Day in 2009.

Mr Chappell’s body was never found.

The case sharply divided Hobart public opinion over Neill-Fraser’s guilt or otherwise.

“An Inconvenient Woman does not make any judgment about Susan Neill-Fraser’s guilt or innocence, but asks probing questions about a judicial system under the spotlight,” the play’s promotional material reads.

“With no body, no forensic evidence connecting the accused and no clear motive presented, the case has divided the public and raised much conjecture in and outside the courtrooms of Tasmania and beyond.”

The play, written by Brian Peddie, has been bankrolled by Canberra lawyer Mark Blumer.

“The legal process is a fragile thing, we think of it as a pillar of society but it’s not made of stone — it’s made of people,” Mr Blumer said.

“It has so much power to affect people’s lives.”

Anne Cordiner said playing Neill-Fraser is a big responsibility and she has had a mixed reaction from friends and family about the production.

“I suppose like any cross-section of the community, some friends say ‘how could you do it?’, others say ‘wow’,” she said.

While Ms Cordiner now calls Hobart home she is not from Tasmania originally, and said she was surprised by the amount of community engagement with Neill-Fraser’s case.

“People really have very strong views,” she said.

Play director Aiden Fennessy said it was broadly about the psychological ramifications of the judicial system.

“It is just a timely reminder that there are people at the centre of these narratives, that don’t affect everyone’s lives but kind of form the day-to-day scuttlebutt of gossip news and tabloid stories,” he said.

“They’re very easy stories to sell.”

Neill-Fraser’s appeal begins on October 30.

More on the Sue Neill-Fraser case

Topics: murder-and-manslaughter, crime, law-crime-and-justice, arts-and-entertainment, sandy-bay-7005

First posted October 17, 2017 15:38:23

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

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

Who has and hasn’t addressed Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults?

Updated October 10, 2017 13:21:11

A number of powerful Hollywood figures have slammed Hollywood powerbroker Harvey Weinstein, criticising his behaviour and “abuse of power” after a New York Times exposé revealed allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

The fallout from the article saw Weinstein fired as co-chairman of the Weinstein Company, in a move that has been seen as a signal that Hollywood is moving to “drain the swamp” of men with bad behaviour.

But who has moved to criticise him? Here’s who has spoken and who is yet to speak on the issue and why some believe Weinstein’s behaviour was an “open secret” in Hollywood.

Who has made the allegations?

It all started when The New York Times published an exposé last week chronicling multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein from past and present employees at both The Weinstein Co and Miramax.

Actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan were among the women named.

Following the Times article, TV news anchor Lauren Sivan also lodged a claim of misconduct against Weinstein, saying he cornered her in the hallway of a restaurant in Manhattan in 2007, and masturbated in front of her.

The Times discovered Weinstein had reached eight settlements with women in the past 30 years after being confronted with allegations of sexual harassment.

Who has spoken out?

In the aftermath of the scandal, many, including Julianne Moore, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Judd Apatow, America Ferrera and Lena Dunham, have voiced their support for his alleged victims.

Stars like Meryl Streep and Judi Dench, whose movies had been championed by Weinstein, have also slammed the Hollywood producer after facing criticism for not speaking out about the allegations sooner.

Both said they were unaware of his decades of alleged sexual harassment of women.

“The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported,” Streep told The Huffington Post.

“The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes.”

President Donald Trump weighed in on the fallout, telling reporters he was “not at all surprised to see” the allegations made against Weinstein.

Why has the focus only been on women?

Among those of Weinstein’s associations who have spoken out, the majority of responders have been women.

Many figures, particularly Hollywood women, were under pressure to speak out sooner about the allegations.

Now that they have come out, many have implored a stronger reaction from male stars and industry leaders.

Of the men to speak out, director Kevin Smith — whose movies Clerks and Chasing Amy were produced by Weinstein — made a particularly striking statement, as he noted on Twitter that the producer financed the first 14 years of his career.

“Now I know while I was profiting, others were in terrible pain,” Smith wrote.

“It makes me feel ashamed.”

Who hasn’t spoken out?

While some of Weinstein’s associates have spoken out about his behaviour, other respected Hollywood actors and actresses have been criticised for remaining silent.

Among those who have yet to release a statement are Nicole Kidman (Lion), Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting), Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting), Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man), Renee Zellweger (Chicago), Gwyneth Paltrow (The Pallbearer and Emma), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Cate Blanchett (Carol), and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook).

That’s despite all having starred in Weinstein films and many thanking him during their acceptance speeches.

Was this Hollywood’s worst-kept secret?

Following on from Mr Trump’s comments, it has been pointed out that Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct had been an “open secret” in Hollywood.

The director of upcoming drama film Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig, told AP the news “makes me really sad and it makes me really depressed but not surprised”.

“What can you say? I really admire Ashley Judd. It’s scary to do,” she said.

Kate Winslet, who won an Oscar for The Weinstein Co’s The Reader, also implied that there had been rumours about this issue for some time.

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

Some television shows even went as far as referencing his behaviour in various skits throughout the years.

The character of Harvey Weingard on HBO TV series Entourage is widely thought to have been inspired by Weinstein himself.

In the show Weinstein is portrayed as an intimidating and aggressive man who everyone is afraid of.

Hit comedy series 30 Rock also took a shot at Weinstein in an episode that aired in 2012, when Jane Krakowski’s character Jenna named the producer in a joke about not taking advantage of actresses.

“‘Oh please, I’m not afraid of anyone in show business,'” she said on the show.

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

Does Hollywood have a problem with sexual assault?

It’s not the first time Hollywood has been rocked with sexual assault allegations.

One of the most high-profile of these cases was comedian Bill Cosby, when 33 women made allegations against him in incidents spanning a number of decades.

Similar cases have also been made against two film writers, Devin Faraci and Harry Knowles, who have links to American cinema chain The Alamo Drafthouse.

Cinefamily, a popular independent cinema venue in Los Angeles, temporarily shut down after reports of sexual assault and rape from high-profile members of the organisation.

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

First posted October 10, 2017 12:57:27