Harvey Weinstein got away with sexual assault for decades with assistance from a vast web of enablers, according to a report in the New York Times.
The 8,000-word story, published Tuesday evening, attempts to pin down who knew what and when about Weinstein’s alleged misconduct. According to the Times, at least eight agents at Creative Artists Agency were aware that Weinstein had sexually harassed or threatened female clients, yet the agency continued to do business with him and send actresses to meet with him.
The story also details Weinstein’s close relationship with tabloid journalists, detailing how Weinstein would provide tips to reporters about others in exchange for killing stories about his infidelities. The story also documents Weinstein’s close relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton, and discloses that Weinstein was involved in a documentary project about Hillary Clinton until revelations of his sexual misconduct came to light.
Bryan Lourd, the managing partner of CAA, declined to tell the Times whether he was aware of the allegations against Weinstein, citing client confidentiality. In a statement in response to the story, CAA apologized to clients who were “let down,” and vowed to use its influence and resources “to help create permanent change.”
“We apologize to any person the agency let down for not meeting the high expectations we place on ourselves, as individuals and as a company,” the agency said. “We unequivocally support those who have spoken out publicly.”
According to the story, Weinstein had a long-standing alliance with American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer. He relied on the Enquirer to help him gather information about his accusers and to help kill stories about his misconduct, the story states.
The story also quotes Lena Dunham saying that she repeatedly warned the Clinton campaign in 2016 not to associate with Weinstein, due to the “open secret” of his sexual misconduct.
“I just want you to let you know that Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point,” Dunham recalled telling Kristina Schake, Clinton’s deputy communications director.
When it appeared that nothing had been done to distance Weinstein from the campaign, Dunham said she warned another official, spokeswoman Adrienne Elrod.
Schake and Elrod remembered the warnings differently, telling the Times through a spokesperson that Dunham never used the word “rape.” Nick Merrill, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said that “We were shocked when we learned what he’d done… As to claims about a warning, that’s something staff wouldn’t forget.”
The story also details awareness of Weinstein’s misconduct within the Weinstein Company, stating that his brother Bob was involved in at least three settlements going back to 1990. Bob Weinstein told the Times that he did not recall one of the settlements, and said he was unaware that his money was used to pay the other two.
The story also quotes two former Weinstein Co. employees who said they were tasked with providing Weinstein with penile injection medication for erectile dysfunction. Sandeep Rehal, a 28-year-old assistant, told the paper that she sometimes had to dispense the drug to Weinstein before his hotel meetings with women.
Weinstein’s lawyers, Blair Berk and Ben Brafman, said in a statement that Weinstein denies any non-consensual sex.
“Mr. Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct,” the lawyers said. “There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred. Nonetheless, to those offended by Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, he remains deeply apologetic.”
Justin Kroll contributed to this article.