Less than a week after the New York Times published a story detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against Miramax cofounder and film industry power player Harvey Weinstein, the New Yorker has dropped its own Weinstein bombshell. Like the Times story, the New Yorker‘s contains allegations from multiple women that Weinstein acted sexually inappropriately with them. It also contains multiple allegations of sexual assault, including one from a woman who accuses Weinstein of forcibly performing oral sex on her, and another who claims he forced her to do so to him. A third woman, who is anonymous in the story, alleges that Weinstein vaginally raped her.
The oral sex accusations come from the Italian actress and director Asia Argento and an aspiring actress named Lucia Evans, respectively. Argento told the New Yorker that Weinstein assaulted her in 1997. By her account, she was invited by an producer in Weinstein’s employment to what she understood as a party thrown by Miramax in France, but when she met with the producer, he led her to a hotel room occupied solely by Weinstein. He left the room, returned wearing only a bathrobe, and asked her to give him a massage. When she reluctantly agreed, she says, he forced her legs open and began performing oral sex on her. Evans said that Weinstein expressed interest in her career after meeting her at a nightclub, and at a subsequent meeting, took out his penis and forced her head down onto it.
Minutes after the New Yorker story was published online, Argento tweeted Weinstein’s name alongside a video clip of a scene from Scarlet Diva, a 2000 film she wrote and directed. In it, a movie producer in a hotel room tells a young woman (played by Argento) that he will read her work if she gives him a “little massage.” She is clearly uncomfortable, but ultimately acquiesces. While she is massaging him, he orders her to “suck my balls.”
The article also includes the story of Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, an Italian model who accused Weinstein of nonconsensually groping her breasts in 2015. Gutierrez reported the alleged assault to the NYPD, and it was reported in the press at the time. But after tabloid stories began appearing about an earlier sexual assault accusation that Gutierrez had made and subsequently abandoned about another man, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office announced that it would not pursue charges, citing a lack of supporting evidence. (An interesting tidbit that goes unmentioned in the story: Weinstein’s lawyer reportedly donated $10,000 to Vance after the charges were dropped.)
The New Yorker, however, uncovered striking new details about the Gutierrez case. The most prominent is an audio recording from a wire that the NYPD had given her to wear at her next meeting with Weinstein, after she reported the alleged groping. Weinstein can be heard on the audio stridently pressing Gutierrez to come into his hotel room as she repeatedly tells him she is not comfortable with it. When she asks him why he grabbed her breasts at the previous meeting, he seems to admit to having done it. “Please, I’m sorry, just come on, I’m used to that” he can be heard saying after she questions him about groping her. “I won’t do it again.”
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) October 10, 2017
There are several more women quoted both anonymously and under their names in the story, and many of them say they had not previously come forward about Weinstein’s alleged behavior because they feared retaliation from a man who had the capacity to make or destroy their careers in the entertainment business. Two anonymous NYPD sources who were close to the Gutierrez investigation said that the department had no reason to disbelieve her testimony about what happened with Weinstein. “We had the evidence,” one said. “It’s a case that made me angrier than I thought possible, and I have been on the force a long time.”