New York — Three women accused Harvey Weinstein of raping them in a story published by The New Yorker on Tuesday, significantly intensifying the scandal surrounding the disgraced movie mogul. A representative for the mogul vehemently denied the allegations in a statement to the magazine.
The expose, published online Tuesday, detailed allegations not just of sexual harassment but of three incidents involving rape. Actress Asia Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans went on the record to allege Weinstein forced himself on them sexually. A third woman spoke anonymously.
Evans, then a senior at Middlebury College, said Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 at the Miramax offices in Tribeca. She had been brought in for a casting meeting with Weinstein. Argento, an Italian film actress and director, said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999.
"I know he has crushed a lot of people before," Argento told the magazine. "That's why this story — in my case, it's twenty years old, some of them are older — has never come out."
Attorneys for Weinstein did not immediately return messages Tuesday. The New Yorker quoted Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister responding that "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. Mr. Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual," said Hofmeister. "Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance."
The story, written by Ronan Farrow, claimed that thirteen women have said Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them between 1990 and 2015. The incidents described range from unwanted groping to forced sex. Some of those incidents overlap with the eight allegations of sexual harassment previously reported by The New York Times, all of which resulted in financial settlements.
But they also go much further. In the article, Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino are among those who claim Weinstein sexually harassed them. Arquette described a 1990s incident at a Beverly Hills hotel in which Weinstein tried to make her give him a massage and then attempted to lead her hand to his penis. Afterward, the actress told the magazine, "He made things very difficult for me for years."
Representatives for the actresses did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The Italian news agency ANSA said it contacted Argento about the story, and said she responded with a text message that read: "It's all true, everything is written in the New Yorker. Now leave me in peace."
The New Yorker also reported that 16 former and current executives and assistants at The Weinstein Co. and Miramax either witnessed or knew of Weinstein's unwanted sexual advances. "All sixteen said the behaviour was widely known within both Miramax and the Weinstein Company."
Representatives for The Weinstein Co. didn't immediately respond to messages.
The New Yorker also revealed an audio recording made by the New York Police Department in 2015 in which Weinstein says he groped a model named Ambra Battilana Guitierrez. At the time, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced that an investigation didn't support criminal charges.
Listen to it here:
Weinstein was fired Sunday by the Weinstein Co., the studio he co-founded, three days after a bombshell New York Times expose alleged decades of crude sexual behavior on his part toward female employees and actresses, including Ashley Judd.
Weinstein responded to the report in a lengthy, rambling statement in which he pleaded for a second chance and apologised for the pain he had caused.
Since his firing, much of Hollywood has reacted with disgust and outraged, including Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, Jennifer Lawrence and George Clooney. Congressional Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, have given charities thousands of dollars in donations they had received from Weinstein.
"I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades," Ben Affleck wrote in a statement Tuesday. "The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick. This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn't happen to others.
"We need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers and daughters. We must support those who come forward, condemn this type of behavior when we see it and help ensure there are more women in positions of power," said Affleck, who won an Oscar for co-writing the Miramax-produced film Good Will Hunting.
Weinstein has not publicly commented since Thursday.