The movie business has been turned upside down since a New York Times article came out last Wednesday accusing powerful Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of decades of sexual harassment. In the ensuing week, more and more disturbing information has come out about Weinstein's abusive behavior—and about those who allowed it to continue. Here's what we know so far.
This has been going on for a long time
The Times story that kicked everything off mentions that accusations against Weinstein go back almost 30 years. The earliest case they found was "a young assistant in New York" in 1990. A follow-up story discovered an incident in 1984.
Weinstein's staff helped him out
Ronan Farrow's must-read New Yorker piece elaborates how it all worked. Farrow talked to 16 current and former employees who knew the deal. Female employees were often brought in during the beginning of a meeting with an aspiring model or actress to make the soon-to-be victim feel comfortable. Then, sure enough, the woman would leave and Weinstein would isolate the woman and begin pressuring her for sex.
Famous actresses were among his victims
Among the actresses who have revealed that Weinstein has pressured them for sex, harassed them, assaulted them, or even raped them: Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette, Heather Graham, Ashley Judd, and Asia Argento. A 1997 settlement between Weinstein and Rose McGowan was also newly revealed by the Times.
There have been a lot of settlements
The Times uncovered "at least eight" settlements. The New Yorker got wind of two settlements just in London.
Weinstein begged for mercy to his industry pals
A pleading email from Weinstein to a bunch of Hollywood power players leaked on Monday. In the note, written on Sunday, he said that his company's board wanted to fire him (update: they did). "All I’m asking is let me take a leave of absence and get into heavy therapy and counseling," he wrote. "Allow me to resurrect myself with a second chance... If you can, I need you to send a letter to my private Gmail. The letter would only go to the board and no one else... Do not let me get fired. If the industry supports me, that is all I need."
You can read the entire pathetic note here.
There are several rape accusations
Weinstein's wife left him
Weinstein's wife, Marchesa co-founder Georgina Chapman, bounced on Tuesday. "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," she told People.
Weinstein doesn't realize how bad this is
Weinstein's initial instinct was to fight back, threatening to sue the Times, calling Ashley Judd crazy, and hatching a plan to circulate photos of him with his accusers after the alleged assaults—an all-too-common scumbag move used to discredit victims.
As late as Tuesday, he was still thinking that he'd be back at work within a year. Page Six reported that he doesn't really use computers much, so the full scope of the shitstorm he's kicked up may not be fully apparent to him. Among the people formerly close to him to speak out in recent days: Matt Damon; Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, and Glenn Close; and the Obamas. Barack and Michelle were previously friendly enough with Weinstein that their daughter interned at his company. Lucky for Harvey, though, Lindsay Lohan is still on his side.
In 2004, Weinstein got Matt Damon to help kill a story about him (sort of)
Sharon Waxman, former Times writer and current head honcho at The Wrap, said that she was working on a story about Weinstein back in 2004. The basis of it was that the head of Miramax Italy, Fabrizio Lombardo, wasn't really a film guy—he was only there in order to procure girls for Weinstein. She says she also had evidence that Weinstein had paid off a London woman who he had assaulted.
Waxman says she got calls from Matt Damon and Russell Crowe in support of Lombardo, along with an in-office visit from Weinstein himself, and the paper soon dropped the story.
Damon copped to making the phone call, but said that he did not know that the story had anything to do with Weinstein. He says he spoke to Waxman for a minute, speaking only on behalf of Lombardo.
The NYPD almost went after him in 2015
Just a few years ago, Weinstein was accused of groping Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. No charges were ever pressed, but it wasn't for lack of evidence. Gutierrez went to the cops, and even wore a wire during a second encounter with Weinstein, where he admits to it. Not long afterwards, stories disparaging Gutierrez began to appear in the papers, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. decided not to press charges. You can hear Gutierrez' recording below.