Apparently this has been going on for decades but it only became big national news just now.
Harvey Weinstein’s Success Amid Harassment Allegations Is Hollywood Business as Usual
And because he is a big Democratic political donor, there is a political angle of course:On Thursday afternoon, the New York Times published a damning piece about A-list film and television producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior for nearly three decades. The Times found at least eight settlements Weinstein reached with women who have brought suits against him, including actress Rose McGowan and young employees of his company.
For years, both women and men told the Times, Weinstein has promised women help with their careers in exchange for sexual favors, naked massages, or their agreement to watch him bathe. They allege that he groped them, scheduled work meetings with them only to bring them to his hotel room and repeatedly proposition them for sex, and forced young female employees to wake him up in his bedroom or do “turndown duty” at night. Even female executives allegedly felt so uncomfortable around him that they wouldn’t be in a room with him alone.
Ashley Judd is the most famous named accuser. Many of the others chose to remain anonymous; most of those who settled their suits signed confidentiality agreements, and Weinstein Company employees sign contracts forbidding them from besmirching the organization’s reputation. But Weinstein’s alleged pattern of behavior “wasn’t a secret to the inner circle,” a former assistant to Harvey’s brother Bob told the Times, and Judd said that women “have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time.”
Yet Weinstein has had one of the most successful production careers in contemporary Hollywood, winning six Best Picture Oscars and lending his name to dozens of other critically acclaimed films and television shows. If Judd’s account is true, the people around Weinstein who weren’t directly victimized by him still knew what he was doing when he had them pick out aspiring actresses to send up for meetings in his hotel rooms. The board of the Weinstein Company knew about the pattern of allegations since at least 2015, the Times reports, but the members didn’t do so much as launch an internal investigation. As allegations of Weinstein’s harassment spread throughout the film industry and adjacent fields, Weinstein hit no roadblocks, suffered no stunting blow to his trajectory, felt no financial blowback. For decades, almost everyone hushed up and went along, because wealthy, famous men in the entertainment industry are the kings and the kingmakers, fully aware of the perverse privileges their status brings.
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Harvey Weinstein is suddenly a political liability.
On Thursday, after The New York Times published sexual harassment allegations against the Hollywood producer going back almost 30 years, the fallout was quick.
While Weinstein apologized and announced a leave of absence from his company, Hollywood insiders began sharing their own tales of the mogul on Twitter and Washington began ridding itself of Weinstein's campaign donations.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, was the first to announce he'd be giving away the money Weinstein has donated to his re-election campaign committee over the years. The total was $5,600 with $2,799 of that being put toward his 2016 bid.
"Sen. Leahy is donating Mr. Weinstein's contributions to the Women's Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation, specifically the Change the Story Initiative," his representative Carolyn Dwyer confirmed to USA TODAY.
According to opensecrets.org, in 2016 and 2017 Weinstein also made donations to Hillary Clinton, Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut.
In the Times piece, Weinstein said he was trying to "do better."