The New York Times broke the story that Harvey Weinstein, the 65-year old powerful movie mogul had been paying off sexual abuse claims for years, bringing back the ugly shadow of the casting couch.
In an investigation going back years, the N.Y. Times found at least eight settlements he made with women, and after talking to former employees learned of many more cases.
In an interview actress Ashley Judd said Weinstein had invited her to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what she assumed was a breakfast meeting but he greeted her at the door in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower.
“Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly,” Judd told the Times.
After searching legal records, The Times found times when Weinstein had paid off his accusers — hush money. Among them was a young assistant in New York in 1990, an actress in 1997, an assistant in London in 1998, an Italian model in 2015 and Ms. O’Connor, a colleague at the film company.
In a statement to The Times on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Weinstein said: “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 added that he was working with therapists and planning to take a leave of absence to “deal with this issue head-on.”
Meanwhile, the Weinstein Co. board members are set to meet Friday to discuss Harvey Weinstein’s future.