UPDATE, 11:41 AM: In a PR face plant by a team that clearly can’t spin straight, Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer and the columnist who claimed the disgraced producer said he offered movie roles for sex now are trying desperately to put out the blaze from the damning quote.
“I was present for the conversation; it was not an interview but a social meeting between old friends,” Benjamin Brafman said in a statement this morning after Deadline reported on the Spectator piece. “Harvey and Taki [Theodoracopulos] did not discuss the case, nor would I allow him to. We talked about old Hollywood and the contrast to European culture, and I think Taki sees Harvey in that older light. Mr. Weinstein never said anything about trading movie roles for sexual favors. You have my word that Harvey did not say that.”
In case the word of Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney doesn’t convince you that the producer didn’t just admit to breaking the law with his contingent offers, Theodoracopulos also is pleading a communication breakdown, maybe.
“After 41 years as a Spectator columnist without a single retraction, I believe that I may have misrepresented Harvey Weinstein’s conversation with me in New York last month,” Theodoracopulos said in a qualified walk-back of what was painted as an “exclusive” to him. “I[t] was my mistake. We were discussing Hollywood, and I may have misunderstood certain things about the methods of that place. I had nothing to do with the headline of my article and I hope I have not damaged his case. [I]t was, after all, a social visit.”
Well, something surely is damaged here.
Both women have accused Weinstein of raping them, as have dozens and dozens of other women. Accusations are under investigation by authorities in NYC, LA and the UK as a multiple sex crimes grand jury case against Weinstein moves forward in Manhattan. He has pleaded not guilty.
PREVIOUSLY, 10:42 AM: Just days after being led into court cuffed by NYPD officers for a hearing on a new sex crime charge that could see the producer potentially behind bars for life, the not guilty pleading Harvey Weinstein has decided to take his case to the press – and the questionable strategy ain’t pretty and has already been torn into by a “liar” declaring Rose McGowan.
Accused by nearly 100 women of sexual assault and other misconduct and being investigation by law enforcement in on the East Coast, West Coast and in the UK, the disgraced producer told The Spectator magazine that he definitely abused his power but Weinstein insists he’s no rapist.
“You were born rich and privileged and you were handsome,” Weinstein said to admittedly sympathetic columnist and James Toback film alum Taki Theodoracopulos. “I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get somewhere,” he self-pityingly added in the piece that went up online today. “You got lotsa girls, no girl looked at me until I made it big in Hollywood,” the producer who is facing damning grand jury indictments involving three separate women claimed.
“Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone,” Weinstein admitted. “But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman.”
Of course, dozens and dozens of alleged victims plus the grand jury, the Manhattan D.A., the NYPD and other cop shops clearly disagree strongly with Weinstein’s perspective on his action. Additionally, it is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to make providing sex contingent on securing employment.
Hence, after months of investigations, the initial charges from the grand jury in May of two counts of rape, with one involving force, as well as a criminal sexual act in the first degree, for alleged assaults against two women that occurred in 2013 and 2004. Additionally, there’s the July 2 announced Class A-11 felony predatory charge and an additional count of Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree involving a third woman in 2006.
Currently out on $1 million bail and having had to relinquish his passport for fear of flight risk, Weinstein is due back in court in New York in September.
As well as proclaiming he’s not a rapist, Weinstein, with his primary lawyer Benjamin Brafman sitting close by, grotesquely tried to convince Taki that the tale of the open relationship between the now deceased Anthony Bourdain and Asia Argento, who claims that the producer raped her years ago, was “not true.” Implying that the nature of the Parts Unknown host and Argento’s relationship was partially responsibly for Bourdain’s suicide last month, the “exclusive” promising Weinstein then also drags Argento pal McGowan, who has claimed that the producer raped her in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival, into his “twisted story,” as Taki puts it.
If the whole inculcation effort by Weinstein here to stain two of his most vocal accusers doesn’t make you sick then consider this: even the commiserating Taki, who had discussions with Weinstein years ago about making his prison memoir into a movie and has known the ex-Miramax boss socially for ages it seems, finds the whole attempt to smear Argento and McGowan distasteful, to put it mildly. “He was, to use a terrible cliché, clutching for straws,” the Nothing to Declare author says.
Cliche is the polite way of saying it.
Online today, McGowan was as blunt as can be.
“Rapists are liars,” the actor wrote in response to the Spectator piece. “Being that I was in the middle of my second film for his company, having NEVER met him before the morning of my rape, and never worked for him again, this is a clear lie,” McGowan added in a separate tweet. “Nice try, rapist.”
Contacted by Deadline, reps for Weinstein had no comment on the interview.
As well as being investigated by federal prosecutors, the Manhattan D.A. and the NYPD, allegations against Weinstein have been reviewed by the LAPD, which sent a trio of cases to the L.A. County D.A. on February 8. As UK police continue their investigation, the Beverly Hills Police passed two cases of sexual assault that they say occurred in their jurisdiction to Jackie Lacey’s office on January 2.