The story, written by Ronan Farrow, claims Weinstein forcibly performed or received oral sex and also forced vaginal sex on women. It also contains on-the-record accounts from Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette of encounters or business meetings with Weinstein that devolved into being propositioned sexually. The deeply reported story will likely exacerbate Weinstein’s problems at a time when reports of previous instances of harassment have left him ostracized in Hollywood and fighting for his professional life.
“I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento said in the story. “That’s why this story — in my case, it’s twenty years old, some of them are older — has never come out.”
Sorvino, who won an Oscar appearing in “Mighty Aphrodite” for Miramax, Weinstein’s company, told Farrow that Weinstein “harassed her” and pressured her to have a sexual relationship while she appeared in films for Miramax. At the Toronto Film Festival in 1995, she claims he propositioned her, and later showed up weeks later at her apartment after midnight.
In Toronto, Sorvino said Weinstein “… started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around.” Arquette describes encountering a bathrobe-wearing Weinstein in his hotel room, where he tried to intimidate her into sexual contact. Both Sorvino and Arquette claim that after they rejected Weinstein’s advances, their careers suffered.
Through a spokeswoman, Weinstein denied that he had assaulted women.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” the statement reads. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
In addition, the New Yorker piece also reports that four women experienced unwanted physical contact with Weinstein, that “could be classified as an assault.” Weinstein also allegedly exposed himself to women or masturbated in their presence.
The story also includes audio of Weinstein admitting to groping Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, an Italian model who went public with her claims that the mogul had touched her breasts and put his hand up her skirt without her consent. Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr. ultimately decided not to press charges, which a police source tells was a mistake.
“We had the evidence,” the source told Farrow, with the author noting that if convicted of assault, Weinstein could have faced jail time.
The New Yorker story comes on the heels of a piece last week in the New York Times that detailed numerous instances of alleged harassment and financial settlements spanning multiple decades. Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company on Sunday. The indie studio behind “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist” will change its name as it tries to move forward from the scandal. That will be complicated by Farrow’s story, which describes a culture of intimidation at the company, in which employees were afraid to speak out about Weinstein’s mistreatment of women.
Farrow, an NBC correspondent, spent 10 months interviewing 13 women who reported they were harassed or assaulted by Weinstein between the 1990’s and now.
A spokesperson for the Weinstein Company declined to comment on the New Yorker piece.