UPDATES with comment from New York Times: One of Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys says the media mogul is going to sue The New York Times over its report today of alleged sexual harassment claims against The Weinstein Company co-chairman.
In a statement, attorney Charles Harder said that the Times story “is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein.”
“It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by 9 different eyewitnesses,” the Harder Mirell & Abrams lawyer added. “We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish. We are preparing the lawsuit now. All proceeds will be donated to women’s organizations.”
Nothing has been filed. But a New York Times spokesperson responded to Deadline’s request for comment. “We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Mr. Weinstein was aware and able to respond to specific allegations in our story before publication. In fact, we published his response in full.”
Beverly Hills-based Harder is joined in representing Weinstein by lawyer Lisa Bloom and the mogul’s longtime legal go-to litigator David Boies, according to a source familiar with the situation. No stranger to taking on media organizations, Harder was Hulk Hogan’s attorney in the wrestler’s Peter Thiel-backed multi-million dollar takedown of Gawker over a sex tape the site published in part.
While it is not known if Weinstein will pursue a defamation claim against the newspaper, it should be noted that former GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin was unsuccessful in proving actual malice by the NY Times in a June article incorrectly linking her to the shooting of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
There is word that Weinstein will take a leave of absence from his company in the wake of the NY Times report published online today.
This comes in a period of just over a year that has seen the now-deceased Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and others exit Fox News Channel over claims of sexual harassment and settlements. The cable newser is also being sued over other sexual harassment claims and racial discrimination allegations, including an alleged rape by Fox Business Network host Charles Payne.