Months after the first allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape published in The New York Times and the New Yorker, disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has spoken.
“Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone,” he told The Spectator in an interview published Friday.
“But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman.”
Weinstein was accused by more than 20 women of misconduct ranging from uncomfortable advances to using his immense power to leverage sex out of young actresses. The movie titan seemed to have a modus operandi—invite budding actresses to his hotel room for a reading or audition, emerge from the shower in his bathrobe, and ask for a massage or pressure them to perform sex acts. Some of the more severe allegations say he forced himself onto women and raped them.
A New York grand jury indicted Weinstein in late May on rape and sex crime charges after he turned himself into police. Weinstein was taken in for “alleged sex attacks in Manhattan in 2004 and 2013,” Page Six reported. According to Deadline, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
In the interview conducted by notorious far-right author Taki Theodoracopulos, Weinstein described himself as a “poor, ugly, Jewish” kid when he was young, and said he had “to fight all my life to get somewhere.” He seemingly justified his predatory behavior by noting how “No girl looked at me until I made it big in Hollywood.”
Later on Friday, Weinstein's lawyer Benjamin Brafman told Entertainment Weekly that he “never said anything about trading movie roles for sexual favors. You have my word that Harvey did not say that.” Theodoracopulos also released a statement through Brafman, saying that he “may have misrepresented Harvey Weinstein’s conversation with me in New York last month. It was my mistake.” Both Brafman and Theodoracopulos retroactively insisted that the conversation was a “social visit” rather than a formal interview.
Some of Hollywood’s biggest names have been subject to Weinstein’s alleged misconduct. Gwyneth Paltrow recalled being asked for a massage and being threatened her after she reported Weinstein to Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Uma Thurman said the mogul attempted to “shove himself” on her. Angelina Jolie was more vague in her accusations, but claimed her experiences with him were enough to never want to work with him again. Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino both claim that they saw their careers take hits after they refused his advances.
Some of Weinstein’s most vocal accusers, Rose McGowan and Asia Argento, were featured in Time’s “Silence Breakers”—a group of people who were named the magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year for having spoken out against sexual harassment.
“Rapists are liars,” wrote McGowan in a tweet responding to the article. Argento wrote in a tweet that Weinstein was a “fucking monster rapist” who was “still trying to damage and hurt” her and McGowan.
The cultural reckoning against Weinstein, and his severe fall from Hollywood’s high towers, helped sparked the #MeToo movement and an examination of tinseltown’s practice of female exploitation and underrepresentation.