Disgraced former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to three recent additional sex crime charges in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York last week, and potentially faces life in prison if convicted of all his crimes.
Currently out on bail, Weinstein remains defiant and has begun giving interviews to sympathetic media outlets. In a just released interview with Spectator Magazine, Weinstein has defended himself from the criminal accusations, saying:
“Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone. But I never ever forced myself on a single woman. I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get somewhere… You got lotsa girls, no girl looked at me until I made it big in Hollywood.”
Highly likely to disagree are the nearly 100 women who’ve come forward with sexual assault and other misconduct claims against him. Separate to the New York charges, the LAPD and Scotland Yard continue to investigate similar claims of sexual assaults in their jurisdictions.
The interview also sees Weinstein’s primary lawyer Benjamin Brafman reportedly implying the nature of the relationship between Asia Argento (who claimed Weinstein raped her years ago) and Anthony Bourdain was partially responsible for Bourdain’s suicide last month. It’s a claim even the article’s highly sympathetic writer considers distasteful.
Update: Mere hours after publishing the article, which reportedly comes a month after the interview was conducted, the original interview’s writer Taki Theodoracopulos is recanting his own article. The quotes begin with Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman telling Variety he was present for the conversation and that Weinstein did not make the quoted remark about exchanging lead roles for sex:
“I was present for the conversation; it was not an interview, but a social meeting between old friends. Harvey and Taki did not discuss the case, nor would I allow him to. We talked about old Hollywood and the contrast to European culture, and I think Taki sees Harvey in that older light. Mr. Weinstein never said anything about trading movie roles for sexual favors. You have my word that Harvey did not say that.”
Theodoracopulos himself has now issued his own retraction, saying:
“After 41 years as a Spectator columnist without a single retraction, I believe that I may have misrepresented Harvey Weinstein’s conversation with me in New York last month. I[t] was my mistake. We were discussing Hollywood, and I may have misunderstood certain things about the methods of that place. I had nothing to do with the headline of my article, and I hope I have not damaged his case. [I]t was, after all, a social visit.”
Understandably questions are now being raised as to what pressures have been applied to recant the piece and how, if it was so inaccurate, why it was cleared to publish in the first place.