Update (Oct. 8, 2017): Harvey Weinstein has since been fired from The Weinstein Co. in a decision made by the board of the company.
Movie studio mogul Harvey Weinstein has issued an apology in a statement to the New York Times and will be taking a leave of absence after being the subject of allegations of sexual harassment from actress Ashley Judd.
After The New York Times published a bombshell article that included the allegations, Weinstein responded with a lengthy statement containing an apology, saying, "I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go."
According to Judd, two decades ago, Weinstein asked her to meet him for breakfast at his hotel at the Peninsula Beverly Hills. When she arrived in the hotel lobby she was told the meeting would take place in his room.
The Times reports that when Judd entered his room, Weinstein asked her if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower. Judd recalled in the interview, "I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask... It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining."
Judd told this same story in a 2015 interview with Variety, but did not name the man. According to Judd, it's about time this conversation happens in the open. "Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly,” Judd told the paper.
Many know the acclaimed producer for being the co-founder of Miramax and The Weinstein Company, and a mainstay in the movie-making business. His career reached super-stardom after producing film classics such as Clerks, Good Will Hunting, Pulp Fiction and many more. It's uncertain what effect, if any, this will have on the future career of Harvey Weinstein, but according to Weinstein himself, it's an issue he will be dealing with "head on."
His lawyer, Charles Harder, says he is going to be issuing a lawsuit against The New York Times for publishing a story on October 5th "saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein," which named other alleged victims. Harder added that any proceeds from the upcoming case will be donated to women's organizations.
You can read Harvey Weinstein's full statement released to The New York Times on Thursday below. ~Alexa Caruso
I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.
I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office — or out of it. To anyone.
I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person, and my interactions with the people I work with have changed. I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment. My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons. Over the last year, I’ve asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me, and she’s put together a team of people. I’ve brought on therapists, and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women, and regret what happened.
I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with Lisa to learn more. Jay Z wrote in 4:44 ‘I’m not the man I thought I was, and I better be that man for my children.’ The same is true for me. I want a second chance in the community, but I know I’ve got work to do to earn it. I have goals that are now priorities. Trust me, this isn’t an overnight process. I’ve been trying to do this for 10 years, and this is a wake-up call. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt, and I plan to do right by all of them.
I am going to need a place to channel that anger, so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom, and I won’t disappoint her.