As anyone could’ve predicted, last week’s New York Times exposé was just the tip of the horror iceberg that is Harvey Weinstein’s past.
The New Yorker on Tuesday published its own exposé of the disgraced movie mogul – and these accusations are somehow even more detailed, more disturbing, and more damning.
Journalist Ronan Farrow spent ten months speaking to 13 different women who alleged that Weinstein had sexually harassed or assaulted them – including three who say they were raped. Some remained anonymous; others identified themselves on the record, including actresses Asia Argento, Mira Sorvino, and Rosanna Arquette. (Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have since gone on the record to the New York Times detailing their experiences with his harassment.)
Collectively, they paint a portrait of a man who was not only monstrous enough to commit these acts in the first place, but powerful and intimidating enough to get away with them again and again and again. Combine that with a wider culture of victim-blaming and an inclination not to believe women, and, well, you’ve got a toxic recipe for decades of sexual abuse getting swept under the rug.
Here’s what you need to know about the latest report.
Weinstein didn’t just harass women. According to new allegations, he raped them.
Asia Argento, Lucia Evans, and one other unnamed woman allege that Weinstein didn’t just harass them – he forced them into oral sex and vaginal sex.
“I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,’” recalled Evans. Eventually, she said, “He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.” In a depressingly similar account, Argento says she told Weinstein “no, no, no,” to no avail. “[He] terrified me, and he was so big,” she said. “It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.”
Chillingly, Weinstein himself apparently found the encounters to be no big deal. “It was like it was just another day for him,” said Evans. “It was no emotion.”
Another woman, actress Emma de Caunes, managed to leave before he could physically attack her. But, she said, “I didn’t want to show him that I was petrified, because I could feel that the more I was freaking out, the more he was excited … The fear turns him on.”
The Manhattan District Attorney declined to charge Weinstein for sexual abuse in 2015
In 2015, Weinstein groped Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who promptly reported him to the authorities. The New York Police Department arranged to have her wear a wire to her next meeting with Weinstein, in hopes of recording an incriminating statement.
She did. You can hear her confrontation with Weinstein here:
However, as the investigation continued, unflattering stories about Gutierrez’s past hit the tabloids, which cited a “source” at the company. Eventually, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. decided not to file charges, even though, according to a police source, they “had collected more than enough evidence to prosecute Weinstein.”
Weinstein used ‘honeypots’ to lure his targets into meetings
Weinstein’s reputation was well known around Hollywood, and had been for decades. That may partially explain why he reportedly used women who worked for him to trap his victims.
According to a female executive who spoke with the New Yorker, Weinstein would set up late-night meetings with his targets, often in hotels. She continued:
And, in order to make these women feel more comfortable, he would ask a female executive or assistant to start those meetings with him … It almost felt like the executive or assistant was made to be a honeypot to lure these women in, to make them feel safe.
Weinstein retaliated against women who rejected him
Actress Rosanna Arquette detailed an early-’90s incident in which she rebuffed Weinstein’s advances. He told her she was making a mistake and, lo and behold, she saw her career suffer afterward. “He made things very difficult for me for years,” she said.
Similarly, Sorvino told the publication that her rejection of Weinstein seemed to impact her professionally. “There may have been other factors, but I definitely felt iced out and that my rejection of Harvey had something to do with it.”
On the flip side, still other women, including Asia Argento, say they continued to have professional relationships with Weinstein after he attacked them, lest he ruin their lives. “I was in a vulnerable position and I needed my job,” said one anonymous woman. “It just increases the shame and the guilt.”
Weinstein was very proud of not being a Bill Cosby
According to Emily Nestor, formerly a temporary front-desk assistant at the Weinstein Company, Weinstein propositioned her on her second day at the job.
In the same conversation, Nestor says, he bragged that “Oh, the girls always say ‘no.’ You know, ‘No, no.’ And then they have a beer or two and then they’re throwing themselves at me.” He was “weirdly proud” to report “that he’d never had to do anything like Bill Cosby” – meaning, presumably, that he’d never had to drug anyone.
But Weinstein’s downfall isn’t entirely unrelated to Cosby’s: Later in the article, Farrow mentions that Weinstein Company employees felt more emboldened to speak out about Weinstein now, after decades of his misbehavior, because scandals like Cosby’s and Ailes’s demonstrated “a growing culture of accountability.”