The man behind the controversy speaks.
As we reported, on Thursday, The New York Times published a shocking report accusing Harvey Weinstein of “decades of sexual harassment,” which has led him to reaching “at least eight settlements with women.”
Although the movie producer released a statement to the newspaper saying he is “remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them,” his lawyer Charles Harder announced plans for a lawsuit against the Times for publishing “a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements.”
So why is The Weinstein Company co-founder apologizing for his bad behavior, yet suing the newspaper for calling him out on it?
On the same day, Harvey gave an interview to Page Six where he tries clarify the confusion. He said:
“What I am saying is that I bear responsibility for my actions, but the reason I am suing is because of the Times‘ inability to be honest with me, and their reckless reporting. They told me lies. They made assumptions… The Times had a deal with us that they would tell us about the people they had on the record in the story, so we could respond appropriately, but they didn’t live up to the bargain… The Times editors were so fearful they were going to be scooped by New York Magazine and they would lose the story, that they went ahead and posted the story filled with reckless reporting, and without checking all they had with me and my team.”
In fact, he believes the publication is out to make him look bad.
“They never wrote about the documentary I did with JAY-Z about Rikers Island, they never write that I raised $50 million for amfAR, nor my work with Robin Hood ├óΓé¼ΓÇ£ instead they focus on trying to bring me down. This is a vendetta, and the next time I see Dean Baquet [the executive editor of the Times] it will be across a courtroom.”
Weinstein believes the chunk of their story is predicated on a 2014 memo written by employee and sexual harassment accuser Lauren O’Connor.
“The Times used that entire memo as the basis of their story, but in reality it was withdrawn two days after it was written, O’Connor withdrew her complaint, and withdrew her claims made in the memo. The document doesn’t stand up.”
As for Ashley Judd, who went on record accusing him of an inappropriate interaction at the Peninsula Beverly Hills:
“They spent six months researching this article then they gave us just 24 hours to answer it. They did tell us that Ashley Judd was on record, but we thought it would be along the lines of what she told Variety.”
In 2015, the actress told Variety she was sexually harassed by an anonymous movie executive. Harvey continues:
“But she changed her story when giving it to the Times. I know Ashley Judd is going through a tough time right now, I read her book [her memoir All That Is Bitter and Sweet], in which she talks about being the victim of sexual abuse and depression as a child. Her life story was brutal, and I have to respect her. In a year from now I am going to reach out to her… I never laid a glove on her.”
In regards to his alleged eight case settlements:
“No company ever talks about settlements, and neither does the recipient, so I don’t know how the Times came to this conclusion, but it is pure conjecture, the reporters have made assumptions.”
However, the studio executive sees the error of his ways, and knows he has “to work on my temper.”
“I have got to change, I’ve got to grow, I’ve got to deal with my personality, I’ve got to work on my temper, I have got to dig deep. I know a lot of people would like me to go into a facility, and I may well just do that ├óΓé¼ΓÇ£ I will go anywhere I can learn more about myself. I want to be able to look at the people I have hurt and say, ‘I am sorry, I have changed and I’ve progressed.’ I am terribly embarrassed for my company, my staff and the only person who could fix this is me. I am going to fix myself, I am going to fix how I deal with women and how I deal with my temper and power.”‘
Despite the drama, wife Georgina Chapman is standing by her man.
“She stands 100 percent behind me. Georgina and I have talked about this at length. We went out with Lisa Bloom last night when we knew the article was coming out. Georgina will be with Lisa and others kicking my ass to be a better human being and to apologize to people for my bad behavior, to say I’m sorry, and to absolutely mean it.”
On the flip side, the New York Times refuses to back down to Harvey’s legal threats and is “confident in the accuracy” of its reporting. A spokesperson said:
“Mr. Weinstein was aware and able to respond to specific allegations in our story before publication. In fact, we published his response in full.”
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[Image via WENN.]