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Harvey Weinstein to Take Leave of Absence Following Bombshell N.Y. Times Sex Harassment Report

Harvey Weinstein is taking a leave of absence from the Weinstein Co. following a bombshell report in the New York Times about sexual harassment accusations dating back decades.

The Times cited “dozens” of current and former employees who reported inappropriate sexual behavior on Weinstein’s part. The paper also reported that Weinstein reached confidential settlements with at least eight women, including actress Rose McGowan.

Weinstein told the New York Times, “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.”

He released a lengthy apology statement to the Times, saying, “I want a second chance in the community, but I know I’ve got work to do to earn it.” He also said he has been working to improve himself for ten years, and that he will use his leave of absence to fight the NRA.

Though some of the allegations date back to the heyday of Miramax in the 1990s, others are as recent as 2015.

The story cites a memo drafted by Lauren O’Connor, a former Weinstein Co. employee, which raised alarms about allegations over a two-year period. “There is a toxic environment for women at this company,” she wrote in the memo to Weinstein Co. executives.

Another incident involved a temporary employee named Emily Nestor, who was invited to Weinstein’s hotel room in 2014 and told he could help her career in exchange for sexual advances.

Many of the incidents took place in hotels such as the Peninsula in Los Angeles or Savoy in London, according to the report.

While Weinstein disputes some of the specific allegations, he is working with a therapist to address his behavior, the Times reported.

The story quotes actress Ashley Judd, who spoke to Variety in 2015 about being sexually harassed by an unnamed mogul. Variety reported Wednesday that Weinstein was readying a team of lawyers to deal with the accusations, and Weinstein said Wednesday he was not aware of the allegations. The lawyers include Lisa Bloom, the daughter of Gloria Allred who helped bring down Bill O’Reilly. Weinstein’s lawyers are now preparing a lawsuit in response to the New York Times story.

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