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Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Others Say Weinstein Harassed Them

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“We’re at a point in time when women need to send a clear message that this is over. This way of treating women ends now.” – Gwyneth Paltrow

Last week, the New York Times investigation chronicled a hidden history of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein and all the settlements he paid over three decades up to 2015. Sunday evening, his own entertainment company fired him.

Tuesday, The New Yorker published a report which included multiple sexual assault allegations of forced oral and vaginal sex. The article also included accounts of sexual harassment dating back to the 1990s, with women describing Weinstein as being extremely intimidating.

As more and more women come forward against the Hollywood producing mogul Weinstein, some big named women are diving into their past, and sharing their stories of what they went through, when they first entered the bright lights of Hollywood.

As reported by the New York Times, the women’s encounters with Weinstein all seemed to follow a similar narrative:

“First, they said, Mr. Weinstein lured them to a private place to discuss films, scripts or even Oscar campaigns. Then, the women contend, he variously tried to initiate massages, touched them inappropriately, took off his clothes or offered them explicit work-for-sex deals.”

Tuesday, Weinstein’s spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister wrote in a statement:

“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. He will not be available for further comments, as he is taking the time to focus on his family, on getting counseling and rebuilding his life.”

The New York Times also finds Weinstein had an elaborate system reliant on the cooperation of others, reporting:

“Assistants often booked the meetings, arranged the hotel rooms and sometimes even delivered the talent, then disappeared, the actresses and employees recounted. They described how some of Mr. Weinstein’s executives and assistants then found them agents and jobs or hushed actresses who were upset.”

As time went on, established actresses were fearful of speaking out because they had work, all while the less established ones were scared because they did not. But since the New York Times report, the women below went on the record and recounted the atrocities Weinstein made on them. 

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Gwyneth Paltrow

At just 22-years-old, Gwyneth Paltrow got the role that took her from just an actress… to a Hollywood star – Emma. The film’s producer Harvey Weinstein was the man who hired her for the role, but before the shooting started, he asked her to his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a “work meeting” that ended with Weinstein placing his hands on her, suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages. Paltrow said in an interview, disclosing she was sexually harassed by the man who ignited her career and later helped her win an Academy Award:

“I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified!”

Paltrow is now 45 and an entrepreneur, who doesn’t need to secure her next acting role. But Paltrow emphasized how much more vulnerable she was at 22, when Mr. Weinstein had just signed her up for a star-making part.

It all started on a trip to Los Angeles where she was given a schedule from her agents for the hotel meeting with Mr. Weinstein saying:

“There was no reason to suspect anything untoward, because ‘it’s on the fax, it’s from [Creative Artists Agency.]”

Paltrow says Weinstein tried to massage her and invited her into the bedroom, where she says she immediately left and remembers feeling stunned as she drove away, because she had always seen him as a mentor.

Paltrow told her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt about what happened, who later approached Weinstein at a theater premiere and told him never to touch her again. Pitt confirmed the account to the New York Times through a representative.

Paltrow says she told a few friends, family members and her agent. Shortly after, Weinstein called Paltrow and yelled at her for telling Pitt saying:

“He screamed at me for a long time. It was brutal.”

Paltrow says she stood her ground, and insisted Weinstein put the relationship back on professional footing.

Paltrow later became the “first lady of Miramax” and won an Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love” in 1999, but very few people knew about Mr. Weinstein’s advances. Paltrow saying:

“I was expected to keep the secret.”

Paltrow felt she had to suppress the whole experience, so she continued to praise Weinstein publicly, posed for pictures with him and played the glowing star to his powerful producer. However, Paltrow says their work relationship grew apart over the years saying:

“He was alternately generous and supportive and championing, and punitive and bullying.”

Paltrow and others said they wanted to support and help women who have come forward and help those in similar situations feel less alone.

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Rosanna Arquette

In the early 1990s, Weinstein asked the “Pulp Fiction” star Rosanna Arquette to stop by the Beverly Hills Hotel to pick up a script for a role. Arquette had already starred in “Desperately Seeking Susan,” and “New York Stories,” and would go on to perform in films including “Crash” and television shows ranging from “Ray Donovan” to “Girls.”

At the reception desk, she was told to head upstairs, which she says she found odd. According to Arquette and Maria Smith, a friend she told soon afterward, says Weinstein greeted her in a white bathrobe, complaining of neck pain and asking for a massage. Arquette says she tried to recommend a professional masseuse, but that’s when Weinstein grabbed her hand and pulled it toward his crotch. Arquette says immediately drew away.

She says Weinstein then started to boast about famous actresses he had supposedly slept with — a common element of his come-on, according to several other women who had encounters with Weinstein, and told Arquette:

“Rosanna, you’re making a big mistake.”

“I’m not that girl. I will never be that girl.”

Arquette says the part went to someone else, but Weinstein’s representative points out that he did not produce that particular movie. Later, Arquette was in the Miramax film “Pulp Fiction” but says she avoided Weinstein.

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Angelina Jolie

During the release of “Playing by Heart” in the late 1990s, Angelina Jolie says Weinstein made unwanted advances on her in a hotel room, which she rejected saying:

“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did. This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”

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Katherine Kendall

Katherine Kendall says at 23-years-old, Weinstein told her:

“Welcome to the Miramax family.”

Kendall says after a meeting set up by her agent, Weinstein gave her scripts, including for the film “Beautiful Girls,” and invited her to a screening, which turned out to be a solo trip with Weinstein to a cinema near Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Kendall says after, he asked if they could swing by his apartment to pick up something.

Kendall says she was nervous, but it was during the day, and she also saw pictures of his wife on the wall. She recalls:

“He’s keeping it professional, he makes me a drink, we talk about movies and art and books for about an hour. I thought: He’s taking me seriously.”

Kendall says Weinstein then went to the bathroom, came back in a robe, and asked her to give him a massage saying, “Everybody does it.” Kendall says she refused, so Weinstein left the room, and came back naked.

“He literally chased me. He wouldn’t let me pass him to get to the door.”

Kendall said Weinstein then tried to bargain with her, asking if she would at least show her breasts, if nothing else. Kendall said no to all of it saying:

“I just thought to myself: I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. I’m so offended — we just had a meeting.”

Kendall appeared in the film “Swingers,” distributed by Miramax, and has worked on and off as an actor since then, but says the episode dampened her enthusiasm for the business saying:

“If this is what it takes, I can’t do it.”

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Tomi-Ann Roberts

In 1984, Tomi-Ann Roberts was a 20-year-old college junior, waiting tables in New York, hoping to start an acting career. One of her customers, Harvey Weinstein, urged her to audition for a movie that he and his brother were planning to direct. He sent Roberts scripts, and asked to meet him where he was staying so they could talk about the film.

Roberts says when she arrived, Weinstein was nude in the bathtub, and told her she would give a much better audition if she were comfortable “getting naked in front of him,” because the character she might play would have a topless scene, because if she couldn’t show her breasts in private, she would not be able to do it on film.

Roberts says she left, apologizing on the way out, telling Weinstein she was too prudish to go along. Roberts feels Weinstein manipulated her by pretending to have a professional interest in her, and doubted she had ever been under serious consideration saying:

“I was nobody! How had I ever thought otherwise?”

Today, Roberts is a psychology professor at Colorado College, researching sexual objectification, an interest she traces back to that long-ago encounter.

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Judith Godrèche

In 1996, Weinstein invited Judith Godrèche to breakfast at the Cannes Film Festival. At the time, and at just 24-years-old, she had no idea who he was. Godrèche was already a star in France, and a new film she was in, “Ridicule,” was opening the festival.

Godrèche says she had breakfast with Weinstein at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, and was joined by a female Miramax executive. After the executive left, Weinstein invited Godrèche up to his suite to see the view, and to talk about her film’s marketing, even an Oscar campaign. Godrèche recalls:

“I was so naïve and unprepared.”

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Once they got upstairs, Godrèche says Weinstein he asked to give her a massage. Godrèche says she said no, but Weinstein argued casual massages were an American custom, and that he gave them to his secretary all the time. Godrèche recalls:

“The next thing I know, he’s pressing against me and pulling off my sweater.”

Godrèche later called the female Miramax executive, who told her not to say anything, because it could hurt the film’s release.

“We put your face on the poster. This is Miramax. You can’t say anything,” she said.

Since the encounter, Godrèche has starred in films in both France and the United States, and felt she had to maintain a rapport with Mr. Weinstein saying:

“I tried to negotiate the situation over the years, and negotiate with myself and pretend it kind of never happened. I wish I’d had someone to talk to, to say, ‘How do you deal with this?’”

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Dawn Dunning

In 2003, then 24-year-old Dawn Dunning was just doing some small acting gigs, going to design school, and waitressing at a nightclub, where she met Weinstein.

Dunning says Weinstein was friendly, professional and supportive, offering her a screen test at Miramax, inviting her to lunch and dinner to talk about films, even giving her and her boyfriend tickets to see The Producers on Broadway.

Then, Weinstein’s assistant invited her to a meal with the Hollywood mogul at a Manhattan hotel. Dunning went to the restaurant, but says she was told Weinstein’s earlier meeting was running late, so she should head up to his suite.

There was no meeting.

Dunning says Weinstein was in a bathrobe, behind a coffee table covered with papers, and told her the papers were contracts for his next three films, but she could only sign them on a condition:

“She would have to have three-way sex with him.”

Dunning says she laughed because she assumed Weinstein was joking, but he got angry telling her:

“You’ll never make it in this business. This is how the business works.”

Dunning says she fled and when the assistant called her the next day, she hung up. Dunning says she left acting soon after, thinking that really was how the business was, and went on to become a costume designer.

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