As the protective cult around Harvey Weinstein continues to fall away, it’s not just actresses, directors, and studio heads who are feeling emboldened to speak out against the onetime Hollywood golden boy. It’s also his former employees. As new allegations of sexual misconduct continue coming to light, it’s become clear that Weinstein allegedly relied on a complicit network of assistants, executives, and other insiders, a deeply unsettling notion for those who unwittingly made films with him and women were were allegedly harassed by him.
In an interview with The Guardian, an anonymous ex-staffer of the Weinstein Company shed light on this particular issue: “We weren’t safe either,” the source said. In addition, a former screenwriter who collaborated closely with Miramax penned a blistering diatribe, saying that everyone who worked with Weinstein knew about his lecherous behavior.
The anonymous T.W.C. employee is a woman who was in her early 30s when she worked closely as an assistant in the London office in the last five years. Per The Guardian, women who worked for Weinstein were “regularly exploited and manipulated.”
“It was an abusive relationship on every level,” the source said, later claiming that everyone who worked for Weinstein was made to do humiliating tasks and keep his alleged philandering under wraps. Even so, the allegations that are being made now by multiple women—allegations that include sexual misconduct and rape—are far worse than the staffer imagined. She never thought that she and her co-workers were complicit in helping Weinstein allegedly commit crimes.
“He had manipulated everyone in his path with that one purpose, and that was for sex,” she said. “It’s awful. I should have walked out. I should have said something.”
Even if the source was not aware of the alleged misconduct, “sex was a daily part of my life working for him,” she said. “It was about enabling him in so many ways. It’s really disgusting.” Part of her job was to allegedly keep women whom Weinstein had slept with away from his wife, Georgina Chapman, at events. (Chapman has since announced that she and Weinstein are separating, in the wake of the landslide of allegations. In a later interview, Weinstein said he is “profoundly devastated” and would like to “apologize to everyone who has been hurt by my actions,” adding that he believes all his encounters were consensual. His spokesperson Sallie Hofmeister said that he “unequivocally denies” any allegations of non-consensual contact.)
At his company, Weinstein created a culture of “breaking” employees down to the point of dizzying vulnerability, the employee said, adding that Weinstein preyed “on young, vulnerable people he can manipulate.” Weinstein terrified her, she said, and would tell her to “fuck off” whenever he wanted to be alone with a woman.
The anonymous employee isn’t the first person to shed light on Weinstein’s aggressive nature at work. That’s been explored at length in books likeDown and Dirty Pictures and in interviews with other former staffers, many of whom have also chosen to remain anonymous in the wake of the current scandal. Another former assistant told CBS that his employees all knew about Weinstein’s alleged affairs, but never of the sexual misconduct. “We all knew that he was a philanderer, cheating on his, his wife,” the former assistant said. “Which was something that we all felt terrible about. But was sadly part of the job.”
Adding another perspective to the consuming chaos is screenwriter Scott Rosenberg, who began working with Weinstein during the “Golden Age” of Miramax, as he put it in a lengthy Facebook post (which has since been deleted, but can be found in full at Deadline)—the mid-1990s to early-2000s era when films like Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting were blowing up the indie film scene. Rosenberg, who wrote films including High Fidelity and Beautiful Girls, remembered being signed to an overall deal by the Weinstein brothers, praising them for being “fun and tough.” But even though he liked the pair, he knew Harvey reportedly had a darker side.
“Let’s be perfectly clear about one thing: Everybody-fucking-knew,” Rosenberg wrote. “Not that he was raping. No, that we never heard. But we were aware of a certain pattern of overly-aggressive behavior that was rather dreadful. We knew about the man’s hunger; his fervor; his appetite.”
Rosenberg went on to compare Weinstein to “a gluttonous ogre,” one who used his Hollywood cachet to sway actresses. Some of Rosenberg’s actress friends told him stories “of a ghastly hotel meeting; of a repugnant bathrobe-shucking; of a loathsome massage request.” (Many of Weinstein’s accusers tell similar stories: the producer would allegedly ask them to go to his hotel room, where he would show up in a bathrobe, then ask for a massage.) But nobody wanted to speak up against Weinstein until now, said Rosenberg, in part because Weinstein was so powerful and gave expensive gifts, like Super Bowl tickets and lavish stays in St. Barths.
Though he eventually lost touch with the brothers, Rosenberg claimed Weinstein called him a few weeks ago out of the blue, waxing rhapsodic about the “bygone days” and how it would be nice to get together again.
“When we hung up I wondered: ‘what was that all about?’” Rosenberg wrote. “In a few short weeks I would know.”
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
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