Brad Pitt has said he once confronted Harvey Weinstein after the embattled film producer sexually harassed his then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow.
Weinstein has been fired from his namesake company after a series of sexual harassment allegations were levied against him in a New York Times article. The film mogul’s alleged wrongdoing stretches decades and the combined allegations paint a sordid portrait of a powerful, untouchable man allegedly harassing women.
Paltrow decided to add herself to the list of those accusing the media mogul, who produced Oscar-winning films Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient, and The Artist, of sexual assault and misconduct.
Speaking to the Times on Tuesday, she claimed she had fallen victim to Weinstein’s sexual misconduct when she was just 22 years old and he had hired her to play the lead in his company’s adaption of the Jane Austen novel Emma.
Paltrow said she met the producer at his suite in the Pennsylvania Beverly Hills hotel for a work meeting before shooting kicked off. The actor said it ended with Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting they go to the bedroom for massages.
“I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she said.
Paltrow, who is now the owner of lifestyle company Goop, said she rebuffed his sexual advances and was left feeling stunned as she drove away. She said she had seen him to be a mentor figure, recalling: “I thought you were my uncle Harvey”.
Paltrow said she confided in her then-boyfriend, Brad Pitt, about the incident at the time. Pitt is then said to have approached Weinstein at a theatre premier and told him to never touch Paltrow again.
Pitt confirmed Paltrow’s account of events to the publication through a representative.
According to Paltrow, Weinstein called her shortly after the alleged episode and scolded her for talking about what had happened.
She said she felt concerned she would wind up losing her role in Emma, adding: “He screamed at me for a long time. It was brutal”.
But Paltrow stuck to her convictions and urged him to put their working relationship back on a professional foothold. She continued to work with him, winning an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love in 1999, but was always expected to keep the alleged incident a secret.
“He was alternately generous and supportive and championing, and punitive and bullying,” she recalled.
Angelina Jolie also alleged to the paper that she had a bad experience with Mr Weinstein when she was young during the release of Playing by Heart in the late 1990s. Jolie accused Weinstein of making unwanted advances on her in a hotel room which she rejected.
As a result, Jolie said she chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did, saying: “This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Weinstein’s spokeswoman, Sallie Hofmeister, told the Times: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein. Mr Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. He will not be available for further comments, as he is taking the time to focus on his family, on getting counselling and rebuilding his life.”
Weinstein has issued an apology and said he is going to get therapy. In a statement last week, Weinstein said: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”
A spokesperson for Weinstein did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment.
Independent News Service