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Weinstein resigns, celebrity accounts of assault snowball

Harvey Weinstein’s civil lawyer, Patty Glaser, is surrounded by media after leaving The Weinstein Company Board of Directors meeting in New York. — AFP

Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood mogul accused of decades of sexual abuse and harassment, resigned from the board of his production company as Reese Witherspoon became the latest star to open up about her sexual assault experience. Weinstein was sacked as co-chairman of The Weinstein Company on October 8, but still held a seat on the board until his resignation on Tuesday.

A source close to the film producer confirmed his departure after a meeting in Manhattan between Weinstein’s legal team and his eponymous company. The Weinstein Company announced Monday that Colony Capital had agreed to provide an “immediate cash infusion” to the scandal-plagued studio, and that the two parties were in talks on a potential sale.

Around 40 actresses, including stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Mira Sorvino have come forward saying they were sexually harassed by the producer. On Tuesday, Game Of Thrones actress Lena Headey wrote about alleged encounters with the mogul at the Venice Film Festival and in Los Angeles. The English actress tweeted that Weinstein was “furious” after she told him she was only interested in discussing work. The avalanche of accusations against the twice-married, 65-year-old father of five include rape, assault and sexual harassment. Weinstein insists any sexual encounters were consensual.

‘Silence condition of employment’
Until his downfall Weinstein was one of the most powerful Hollywood moguls. His films have received more than 300 Oscar nominations and 81 statuettes-but last week he was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Revelations about Weinstein, first reported by The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine, have seen women around the world share experiences of sexual harassment.

On Monday Oscar-winning actress Witherspoon, 41, said she was just 16 when it happened to her for the first, but not the only time, by an unnamed director. “I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly, and I found it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate,” she said at Elle magazine’s Women in Hollywood event late Monday.
“A lot of the feelings I’ve been having about anxiety, about being honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier or taking action,” she continued. “True disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger that I felt at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment.” Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was Disney CEO when his company bought the Weinstein brothers’ Miramax production company in 1993, said he had not heard any sordid stories about Weinstein’s behavior.

“During my two years with him at the company, my issues were with his brother, Bob, who was generally abusive with people at my company,” said Katzenberg, speaking at the WSJD Live conference in southern California late Monday. “I told him not to speak to my employees or he was finished. I did not hear stories about Harvey abusing women,” said Katzenberg, who slammed the fallen Hollywood mogul as a “monster.”

Amazon resignation
As the Weinstein harassment allegations reverberate around the world, thousands of women have taken to social media in response to an appeal by actress Alyssa Milano to respond “me too” if they have been sexually assaulted or harassed. US actress America Ferrera joined the campaign on Tuesday to say she was sexually assaulted when she was nine years old, although there was no suggestion that the alleged assault was linked to her career.

At the Women in Hollywood event on Monday, Jennifer Lawrence-who in 2016 was the highest paid actress in the world-spoke of being humiliated by a female producer and urged to lose weight at the start of her career. “A female producer had me do a nude lineup with about five women who were much, much thinner than me. And we all stood side-by-side with only paste-ons covering our privates,” she said. “After that degrading and humiliating lineup, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.” “I let myself be treated a certain way because I felt like I had to for my career,” she said. Separately, Amazon confirmed Tuesday that Roy Price was resigning as president of Amazon Studios-just days after he was suspended on October 12 from the tech giant’s entertainment division following renewed sexual harassment allegations. – AFP




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