[Warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.]
Last week, we reported that Miramax and Weinstein Co. head Harvey Weinstein had hired a legal team in anticipation of two “bombshell” articles that were being written about him. One, in the New York Times, ran on Thursday, starting a chain reaction that led to Weinstein being dismissed by the Weinstein Co. board of directors over the weekend. The second, a New Yorker investigation written by Ronan Farrow, was just published, and it contains some very serious charges that further deepen an already horrifying situation.
In the article, three women, including writer/director/actress Asia Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans, accuse Weinstein of sexual assault, including forced oral and vaginal sex. Argento says that, back in 1997, a producer invited her to a “party” that was just her and Weinstein alone in a hotel room. There, Weinstein asked her to massage him before forcing her to accept oral sex. Ever since, she says, he’s been an unwelcome presence, using his influence to insinuate himself into her life. “Just his body, his presence, his face, bring me back to the little girl that I was when I was 21,” she says. “After the rape, he won.”
The article also details Weinstein’s intimidation and harassment of women, from Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino to young aspiring producers looking to get their start in the film business. Compared to the New York Times piece, Farrow’s investigation paints a more damning picture of operations at the Weinstein Co., describing producers, casting agents, and executives—both male and female—who would initially attend meetings as a “honeypot” in order to make young women comfortable, then leave them alone with Harvey Weinstein.
Most damning of all, the article publicly reveals for the first time audio from a 2015 NYPD sting operation, recorded after model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez reported Weinstein groped her during what was supposed to be a business meeting. In it, she asks Weinstein point-blank why he touched her breast, to which he replies: “I’m used to that,” before adding, “It’s five minutes. Don’t ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.”