Harvey Weinstein Speaks Up After 'Decades of Sexual Harassment' Claim, Plans to Sue N.Y. Times

In his first interview since New York Times reported his alleged sexual misconducts, Weinstein says he 'bears responsibility' for his past bad behavior and promises to be a better person.

AceShowbiz - Harvey Weinstein is hit with sexual harassment allegations. The New York Times published on Thursday, October 5 an article which headline reads "Decades of Sexual Harassment Accusations Against Harvey Weinstein" after conducting months of investigation. The paper said the allegations were collected through interviews, emails, legal records and internal documents that stretch over three decades among current and former employees of Weinstein and film industry workers.

One of the alleged victims was Ashley Judd, who opened up two years ago about being sexually harassed by a studio mogul. According to the Times, the actress was invited to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what she expected to be a business breakfast meeting some 20 years ago. Instead of having breakfast, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower.

"How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?" Judd said, recalling the incident.

Another woman, Emily Nestor, who worked as a temporary employee for The Weinstein Company told the Times a similar story. She claimed she was invited to the same hotel in 2014 and was told that if she accepted his sexual advances, he would boost her career. A colleague, Lauren O'Connor, also wrote in a memo that the following year a female assistant said Weinstein badgered her into giving him a massage while he was naked, leaving her "crying and very distraught."

"There is a toxic environment for women at this company," O'Connor wrote in the letter asserting sexual harassment and other misconduct by their boss. The letter was addressed to everal executives at the company run by Weinstein.

The Times also reported that over the span of nearly 30 years, Weinstein reached at least eight settlements with various women. One of them was allegedly Rose McGowan. The "Charmed" alum reportedly reached a $100,000 settlement with the filmmaker after after an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival. The actress, however, declined to comment on the report.

Weinstein has hired powerful attorneys Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder, the latter of whom had helped Hulk Hogan win a $140 million settlement against Gawker, to battle the allegations. In a statement to E! News, Harder said the allegations were "false and defamatory" and revealed that he's preparing a lawsuit against the Times.

Weinstein, however, seemed to admit his mistakes in the past. "I came of age in the 60's and 70's, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then," he said. "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."

He continued, "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." He added that he plans to take a leave of absence as he works a treatment program to help him move forward.

"My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons," he said. "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."

He added, "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."

Bloom also released a statement, saying, "As a women's rights advocate, I have been blunt with Harvey and he has listened to me. I have told him that times have changed, it is 2017, and he needs to evolve to a higher standard. He has acknowledged mistakes he has made. He is reading books and going to therapy. He is an old dinosaur learning new ways. He wants to reach out to any of the women who may have issues with him to talk to them in a respectful, peaceful way, with me present if that is acceptable to them."

To The Post, Weinstein explained his decision to sue the Times, "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," he continued. "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."

Weinstein claimed the Times made the story based on a 2014 memo written by employee Lauren O'Connor, "but in reality it was withdrawn two days after it was written." He added, "O'Connor withdrew her complaint, and withdrew her claims made in the memo. The document doesn’t stand up."

He also responded to Ashley Judd's claim, "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."

Of report that he has reached at least eight settlements with women, including actress Rose McGowan, a young assistant in New York in 1990, an assistant in London in 1998, an Italian model in 2015 and O’Connor, he said, "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."

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