Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment claims: 'One of the most open secrets in Hollywood'

US film producer Harvey Weinstein poses during a photocall as he arrives to attend the De Grisogono Party on the sidelines of the 70th Cannes Film Festival on May 23, 2017.
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Hollywood reacted with disgust — but not surprise — after allegations of nearly 30 years of sexual harassment by Oscar-winning movie producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced Thursday in The New York Times.

The Times reporters, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, write that they learned of legal settlements with at least eight women.

Many of his accusers have been young female employees of his production companies, the Weinstein Company and Miramax, the Times reports. However, they also include actress Ashley Judd, who says Weinstein, 65, invited her to his Beverly Hills hotel room for a breakfast meeting some 20 years ago and then suggested he give her a massage or she watch him shower. 

After being named in the Times piece, actress Rose McGowan tweeted: "Anyone who does business with __ is complicit. And deep down you know you are even dirtier. Cleanse yourselves."

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The Times wrote that in 1997, Weinstein reached a previously undisclosed settlement with Rose McGowan, then 23, after an episode in a hotel room during Sundance Film Festival.

The $100,000 settlement was “not to be construed as an admission” by Weinstein, but intended to “avoid litigation and buy peace,” according to the legal document, which was reviewed by the newspaper. McGowan had just appeared in the slasher film Scream.

She did not comment to the Times.

After the piece broke, CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted that Weinstein's conduct was an open secret in Hollywood. "Hollywood producer I know: 'Shocked it’s taken so long for a Harvey Weinstein behavior expose. One of the most open secrets in Hollywood.' "

 

 

Former Hollywood Reporter editor in chief Janice Min (who previously served as editor in chief of Us Weekly) applauded on Twitter. "The media's white whale," she wrote. "Finally, finally, finally."

Amber Tamblyn, who recently wrote an op-ed about an unsettling experience she had as an underage teen with actor James Woods, tweeted this: "Heed the mantra and never forget: Women. Have. Nothing. To. Gain. And. Everything. To Lose. By. Coming. forward."

She added that her message was "for those who want to blame victims" and urged her followers to "Stand with @AshleyJudd or give your legs to someone else. What she and others have just done is painful and difficult and triumphant."

 

 

America Ferrera tweeted that such "abuse of power must be called out, however powerful the abuser, and we must publicly stand with those brave enough to come forward."

And shortly after the Times piece posted, Oscar winner Brie Larson spoke of micro-aggressions she experiences daily. "I merely smiled at a TSA agent and he asked for my phone number. To live life as a woman is to live life on the defense," she tweeted.

Hollywood insiders also began to speak out about the Oscar-winning producer.

"I took meetings at Weinstein," wrote screenwriter Stephanie Mickus. "With other female execs. But every single time I’d hear 'as long as you aren’t meeting with Harvey, you’ll be fine.' That’s our reality."

 

 

"Just flipped through some contracts to make sure I'm legally allowed to say Harvey Weinstein is the worst person in the film business," tweeted film producer Keith Calder.

Weinstein, who announced Thursday that he'd be taking a leave of absence from his company, has threatened to sue the Times over "a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements."