Six days ago, the Hollywood Reporter reported that film producer Harvey Weinstein had lawyered up in anticipation of damaging reports by the New York Times and New Yorker magazine. The Times published first, last Thursday, and I could not have been alone in wondering what could possibly be left for the New Yorker, after Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey chronicled a disturbing pattern of alleged sexual harassment spanning three decades.
It turns out there was plenty more to uncover.
In addition to the harassment claims detailed by the Times, the New Yorker on Tuesday published three allegations of sexual assault by Weinstein, who was fired over the weekend by the board of his own studio. Two of the accusers put their names on the record.
The New Yorker also obtained and posted an audio recording of a chilling exchange between Weinstein and a young model, in which he can be heard aggressively pressuring her to come to his hotel room and admitting to groping her in a previous encounter.
It is hard to fully appreciate the way Weinstein allegedly operated until you hear his voice on tape.
The recording was made in 2015 by New York police, who asked the model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to meet Weinstein while wearing a wire, after she reported that he had grabbed her breasts the first time he saw her.
Gutierrez confronted Weinstein directly: “Why yesterday you touch my breast?”
“Oh, please, I'm sorry. Just come on in,” Weinstein replied. “I'm used to that. Come on. Please.”
“You're used to that?” Gutierrez said.
“Yes,” Weinstein answered, adding, “I won’t do it again.”
Despite the admission, Weinstein got away with it. Journalist Ronan Farrow explained in the New Yorker:
Two sources close to the police investigation said that they had no reason to doubt Gutierrez’s account of the incident. One of them, a police source, said that the department had collected more than enough evidence to prosecute Weinstein. But the other source said that Gutierrez’s statements about her past complicated the case for the office of the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr. After two weeks of investigation, the district attorney’s office decided not to file charges.
Vance, by the way, was in the news last week for deciding not to bring criminal charges against two other high-profile individuals: Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
Lucia Evans, who was an aspiring actress when she met Weinstein in 2004, told the New Yorker that Weinstein sexually assaulted her that year.
“He forced me to perform oral sex on him,” Evans said. “I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t. I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him. . . . He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.”
Farrow related a similar allegation by actress Asia Argento, from 1997:
Argento said that, after she reluctantly agreed to give Weinstein a massage, he pulled her skirt up, forced her legs apart, and performed oral sex on her as she repeatedly told him to stop. Weinstein “terrified me, and he was so big,” she said. “It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.”
A third woman, who would not allow her name to be published, told Farrow that Weinstein forced her into vaginal sex:
Like other women in this article, she said that Weinstein brought her to a hotel room under a professional pretext, changed into a bathrobe, and “forced himself on me sexually.” She said no, repeatedly and clearly. Afterward, she experienced “horror, disbelief, and shame,” and considered going to the police. “I thought it would be a ‘He said, she said,’ and I thought about how impressive his legal team is, and I thought about how much I would lose, and I decided to just move forward,” she said. The woman continued to have professional contact with Weinstein after the alleged rape, and acknowledged that subsequent communications between them might suggest a normal working relationship. “I was in a vulnerable position, and I needed my job,” she told me. “It just increases the shame and the guilt.”
Though it was hard to imagine after the Times published its report last week, the Weinstein story just got so much worse.