Ronan Farrow reports that Bob Weinstein, who has repeatedly said he was unaware of his brother’s alleged sexual misconduct, personally paid £250,000 — equivalent to about $600,000 today — to settle two claims against his brother in the 1990s during their time running Miramax. The money was supposed to be split between Harvey’s former assistant Zelda Perkins and another female employee in the U.K. alleging sexual harassment and assault.
Bob Weinstein confirmed the personal payout during the New Yorker interview, but insisted that his brother misled him about what the money was being used for. Because it came from his account, the money could be hidden from Disney, Miramax, and Harvey’s wife.
“Regarding that payment, I only know what Harvey told me, and basically what he said was he was fooling around with two women and they were asking for money,” he told the New Yorker. “And he didn’t want his wife to find out, so he asked me if I could write a check, and so I did, but there was nothing to indicate any kind of sexual harassment.”
Bob Weinstein’s attorney Bert Fields told Variety, “So far as Bob knew, it had nothing to do with misconduct or abuse of any kind.” Fields said his client “put up money to protect his brother” from his wife discovering his affair. “He was by no means encouraging or being complicit with anything else to do about sexual harassment.”
Harvey Weinstein’s criminal-defense attorneys, Blair Berk and Ben Brafman, maintained their client’s innocence in a statement to the New Yorker.
“Because of the pending civil litigation and related investigations, it is inappropriate to respond specifically to each of the unsupported and untruthful insinuations contained in this article,” the statement reads. “Suffice it to say, Mr. Weinstein strongly objects to any suggestion that his conduct at any time has ever been contrary to law. Be assured that we will respond in any appropriate legal forum, where necessary, and fully expect that Mr. Weinstein will prevail against any claim of legal wrongdoing. Mr. Weinstein categorically denies ever engaging in any non-consensual sexual conduct with anyone and any suggestion that he acted improperly to defend himself against such claims is simply wrong.”
The New Yorker story also includes an on-the-record interview with Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, the Italian model who accused Weinstein of sexual battery in 2015. According to the article, Gutierrez received a $1 million settlement, which included an elaborate non-disclosure provision. Under the agreement, Gutierrez was to turn over audio recordings and email passwords, and she signed an affidavit swearing that her allegations were false, which would be used in the event of a breach.
The article also cites efforts of Weinstein’s team of attorneys to undermine Gutierrez’s credibility and dissuade Cy Vance, the Manhattan D.A., from pursuing charges. According to the report, Weinstein’s team assembled a dossier of damaging information about Gutierrez, some of which made it into the New York Post. David Boies is quoted in the story alleging that Gutierrez engaged in prostitution.
Gutierrez denied that charge, and told Farrow that she felt coerced into signing the agreement.
“I was forced by the fact that newspapers completely bashed me, by the fact that I was alone, by the fact that I was 22 years old,” she said. “I knew if he could move the press in this way, I couldn’t fight him.”