In the weeks after Harvey Weinstein was publicly accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, the disgraced movie mogul—who claimed he was contemplating suicide—made desperate pleas for help to billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Jeff Bezos, according to newly unsealed documents.
“Dear Michael, My board is thinking of firing me,” Weinstein wrote in an October 2017 email to the former New York City mayor, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. “All I’m asking for is, let me take a leave of absence and get into heavy therapy and counseling whether it be in a facility or somewhere else, and allow me to resurrect myself with a second chance.”
“A lot of the allegations are false, and given therapy and counseling, as other people have done, I think I’d be able to get there. I could really use your support or just your honesty if you can’t support me,” he added.
The email is part of a trove of more than 1,000 pages of previously sealed court documents in Manhattan Supreme Court that detail the days and weeks after the Oscar-winner was accused of sexual assault and harassment by numerous women—including actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd—in bombshell reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker.
Dozens of members of the Hollywood elite, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, also came forward after the Times exposé, sharing similar stories of being harassed or assaulted by Weinstein, jumpstarting the global #MeToo movement.
Weinstein, 67, faces up to 29 years in prison at his sentencing on Wednesday after being convicted last month of first-degree criminal sex act for the assault of former Project Runway production assistant Miriam Haleyi and third-degree rape for the assault of former actress Jessica Mann.
According to the court documents, Weinstein’s PR team scrambled to save his image after the October 2017 allegations surfaced, immediately issuing a statement in which the movie mogul vowed to enter a counseling program for sex addiction. Within days of the news reports, Weinstein Company board members were seeking to fire the Pulp Fiction producer.
By November, his brother officially severed ties with him, telling Weinstein in an email that he was a sexual predator who belonged in “hell” and deserved a lifetime achievement award in “sheer savagery.”
“Just read u been abusing women, when u were in your twenties,” Bob Weinstein wrote in a Nov. 2, 2017 letter, according to The New York Daily News. "Numbers are up to 82. U are world-class, in that area. U deserve a lifetime achievement award for the sheer savagery and immorality and inhumanness, for the acts u have perpetrated.
“Now show some strength and don’t write back. If u do, it’s just your denial and disease having the power of the last word. If u actually say u are trying to get better, It’s just another lie amongst the millions. Fuck u Harvey Weinstein. I pray there is a real hell,” he added. “That’s where u belong. I suppose being you, is its own hell if u could feel it, but no chance. OJ didn’t kill Nicole Simpson and u had consensual sex with all those poor victimized women.”
Desperate to save his career, Weinstein sent a letter insisting his innocence to several of his most wealthy friends, begging them for help. In addition to Bloomberg and Bezos, Weinstein also reached out to Ronald Meyer, the vice chairman of NBC Universal; Tim Cook, the executive of Apple Inc.; and Theodore Sarandos, the chief operating officer of Netflix.
“There are many false allegations and over time, we’ll prove it but right now I’m the poster boy for bad behavior,” he wrote to the Amazon founder on Oct. 8, 2017. “I don’t need you to make any public statements—just a private one to my Gmail...saying that you support me getting therapy and the help I need before the board fires me.”
In addition to the self-pitying emails, Weinstein also hit back against at least one allegation. In an email exchange about a National Enquirer expose alleging Weinstein groped actress Jennifer Aniston, Weinstein said that the actress should be killed.
“Jen Aniston should be killed," Weinstein wrote to the reporter on Oct. 31, 2017, who was seeking comment. A representative for Aniston told The New York Times that the Friends actress has denied rumors Weinstein ever assaulted her and states she has “never been alone with him.”
By December 2017, the documents show the once-powerful producer was alienated from friends, family, and former colleagues and had broken down after the months of bad press. In one unreleased statement, he mentioned he’d had suicidal thoughts.
“I have only despair,” Weinstein wrote in a draft of an unreleased statement Dec. 21, 2017, first published by The New York Daily News. “I have lost my family. I have daughters that will not talk to me. I have lost my wife. I have lost the respect of my ex-wife and generally almost all of my friends. I have no company. I’m alone. And I will be honest with you: I’m suicidal.”
He added, “In addition, we have to forgive ourselves. Yet, I find it impossible. I have devastated my friends and my family. I don’t want to forgive myself, but if I roll up my sleeves, I can show the world the suffering I’m seeing on this journey,”
Weinstein’s spokesman and legal team did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.