Harvey Weinstein Scandal: Total Accusers Pass 50 Women
The Harvey Weinstein sexual assault and harassment scandal continued to unfold on Monday. Here's the latest:
The Weinstein accuser count passes 50 women
As of Monday, the number of women alleging sexual misconduct, harassment, assault or rape by Weinstein surpassed 50 women, including 48 named women (listed here by Teen Vogue); Gloria Allred's new client, former actress Heather Kerr; and an unnamed 38-year-old Italian actress whose accusation that Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 2013 is being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.
The count is likely higher: The Guardian reports London police are investigating five accusations of sexual assault by Weinstein, and women who declined to go on the record were also cited by The New Yorker and The New York Times.
To put the growing numbers in context, it was a full year after Hannibal Buress' comedy act about Bill Cosby went viral that the women who came forward accusing Cosby of drugging and/or raping them reached a similar total. It's been just over two weeks since the Weinstein scandal broke.
Former assistant breaks non-disclosure agreement
Weinstein's former London assistant Zelda Perkins came forward with her story Monday, breaking an almost 20-year-old non-disclosure agreement.
Weinstein’s sexual misconduct began the very first day she ended up alone with him while working out of Miramax’s London office, Perkins told the Financial Times (via the New York Post). Weinstein came out in his underwear, she says, and asked if they could massage each other.
While she worked for him in her 20s, Perkins says Weinstein would often walk around the room naked and asked her to be in the room while he bathed. “This was his behavior on every occasion I was alone with him,” she said. “I often had to wake him up in the hotel in the mornings and he would try to pull me into bed.”
Her breaking point came when a colleague confided in her about similar treatment.
Now, Perkins said she is purposefully, publicly breaking her NDA. “Unless somebody does this, there won’t be a debate about how egregious these agreements are and the amount of duress that victims are put under," she said.
Julianne Moore has joined the call for laws to change around NDAs in the case of harassment.
The Weinstein Company is hit with subpoenas from the New York attorney general
In another blow to an already staggering company, legal scrutiny of The Weinstein Company expanded Monday when the New York attorney general announced he is opening a civil-rights investigation of the firm co-founded by the disgraced movie mogul.
New York state's top prosecutor, Eric T. Schneiderman, is looking into whether officials at The Weinstein Co., which has offices in New York City, violated state civil rights law and/or city human rights law in connection with the deluge of allegations made by dozens of women in recent weeks that Weinstein sexually harassed, coerced, assaulted or raped them in episodes dating back decades.
“No New Yorker should be forced to walk into a workplace ruled by sexual intimidation, harassment, or fear," Schneiderman said in a statement to USA TODAY. "If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know.”
A person familiar with the investigation but not authorized to speak publicly said the Attorney General's Civil Rights Bureau issued subpoenas seeking numerous documents, records and correspondence involving complaints of sexual harassment or other discrimination by employees of the company and information about how such complaints were handled.
The office is also seeking any documents and communications related to private out-of-court settlements struck with accusers, the person said.
After the Times and The New Yorker published investigative pieces earlier this month detailing accusations of sexual abuse by Weinstein against dozens of women, including major stars such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, the company he founded with his brother, Bob Weinstein, has been shattered by the fallout from the scandal.
Weinstein has been fired as co-president and he resigned from the board, and Bob Weinstein is now fighting sexual harassment allegations himself. Multiple board members have quit, many of its movie and TV projects are on hold, and Weinstein has been booted or is in the process of being expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild and the Directors Guild.
Meanwhile, employees of the company have gone public to declare they did not know about Weinstein's alleged behavior and they are not to blame.