This afternoon, the New York Times published a story detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against the powerful film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax and the Weinstein Company. The story included an on-the-record allegation from Ashley Judd and reporting about a court settlement with Rose McGowan, as well as an internal document detailing alleged harassment of multiple Weinstein employees. It also included a statement from Weinstein himself, who wrote that he “cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt.”
Weinstein’s statement also referenced an ostensible quote from “4:44,” Jay-Z‘s song of contrition for apparently cheating on his wife Beyoncé. (Weinstein and Jay-Z are also in business together on multiple film and TV projects, including one involving Lisa Bloom, an attorney who is helping defend Weinstein from these allegations.) The quote is ridiculous on his face–having an affair is not the same thing sexually violating multiple women–and is made even more so by the fact that it’s not really a Jay-Z quote at all. Here’s what Weinstein wrote:
Jay Z wrote in 4:44 “I’m not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children.” The same is true for me.
Here’s the only passage remotely resembling that line from the actual lyrics to “4:44”:
And if my children knew
I don’t even know what I would do
If they ain’t look at me the same
I would prob’ly die with all the shame
We checked the lyrics to every other song on the record—just to make sure Weinstein didn’t mean 4:44 the album, not “4:44” the song–and couldn’t find the line. We also looked at the liner notes on a CD copy of the 4:44, and there’s nothing there, either. You’d think if Weinstein was really as remorseful as he says he is, he’d have taken the time to double check the quote on which his contrition hinges.