Harvey Weinstein saga: The fall of a Hollywood mafioso

This article is more than 12 months old

Weinstein's abusive behaviour was detailed in a 2004 book - long before the expose earlier this month

Once called the Caligula of Cannes by a well-known actress, disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's sexual abuse, tantrums and mafia-like behaviour were as well known as his Oscar-winning movies.

Those outside the industry did not hear of it because people hushed it up or were scared to come forward, for he was an extremely powerful executive.

His behaviour was finally exposed in a New York Times report on Oct 5. The report, which came after a six-month investigation, disclosed a 30-year pattern of sexual harassment and workplace intimidation against young female stars.

More actresses have come forward. They include Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, Judith Godreche and Cara Delevingne (see report below).

What many do not realise is that the abuse had been documented long before the New York Times expose, reported website Vice.

Peter Biskind's 2004 book Down And Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, And The Rise Of Independent Film details several incidents.

One account is by reporter Rebecca Traister. She described a 2000 US election-eve party, when Weinstein allegedly blew his top at her colleague and put him in a headlock, shouting: "I am gonna take him outside and I am gonna f****** kill him!"

The pair were asking him for a quote regarding the delay of O, a modern adaptation of Othello after the Columbine High School mass shooting.

Weinstein, 65, is also alleged to have thrown actor Nathan Lane against the wall at a birthday party after Lane made a joke he did not like.

When he turns on you, it is with venom. And it is personal. Mr Mark Lipsky, former head of distribution at Miramax, on Harvey Weinstein

Lane said the incident happened at the party the producer had hosted for politician Hillary Clinton, in which Lane was the master of ceremonies.

Over at Miramax, founded by Weinstein and his brother, Bob, the atmosphere was mafia-like.

Miss Amy Hart, who served as marketing coordinator at the company for three years, claimed that anything within reach became a weapon. These included phones ripped from the wall, ashtrays, books, VHS tapes and framed family photos.

Mr Stuart Burkin, who started in post-production in 1991, said: "Miramax ran on fear. They are intimidating, they shout a lot, they foam at the mouth."

Former head of distribution Mark Lipsky added: "There is not a woman in that office that was not made to cry. When he turns on you, it is with venom. And it is personal."

But sources said he kept a particular viciousness for directors whom he often argued with about costs. In fact, Harvey Scissorhands was a nickname.

One case concerned director M. Night Shyamalan, about his first movie Wide Awake.

Former Miramax production head Paul Webster said: "(Harvey) made Night cry. Destroyed him, in front of everybody."


And when talk show host Rosie O'Donnell called to defend Shyamalan, Weinstein exploded.

Film producer Cathy Konrad said he roared at O'Donnell: "You are some f****** artist! You are just a f****** talk show host! Like you would f****** know. You b****!"

She added that O'Donnell burst into tears.

His filthy reputation was such an insider secret that it was referenced in television comedies Entourage and 30 Rock, reported the Washington Post.

In Entourage was a character named Harvey Weingard - an over-the-top terrifying producer and a loosely veiled version of Weinstein.

The Hollywood Reporter later wrote that Weinstein told star Kevin Connolly that the producers were "dead" if they mentioned him again.

30 Rock was more direct - actress Jenna Maroney, played by Jane Krakowski, says: "Oh, please, I am not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions. Out of five."

Some accusers


The French actress said she was groped during a meeting in Paris and her career threatened when she rejected Harvey Weinstein's advances between 2010 and 2011.

Some accusers


The model-actress said he tried to force her into a threesome and called her to ask about her sexual history when she started working as an actress.

Some accusers


The actress said she was asked to meet him in his hotel room more than 20 years ago where she was asked for a massage and to watch him shower.

Some accusers


The French actress said he "jumped" on her and tried to kiss her on a sofa.

Some accusers


The actress said she was raped in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. She was paid US$100,000 (S$135,000) in a legal settlement.

Some accusers


The actress said she was 17 when she was invited to his London hotel room where he appeared in a bathrobe and offered her alcohol.

Some accusers

Other accusers include other actresses, women in the entertainment industry and staff of the company he co-founded.

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