The 5 Most Shocking Things About How Weinstein Got Away With It

Unbelievable new details about the producer’s web of co-conspirators hit the New York Times.

The mounting allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein opened the floodgates in Hollywood and elsewhere, revealing a systematic culture of men who had power preying on those who had little or none.

But Weinstein’s story isn’t just that of a catalytic moment for the movement that Time recognized in its Person of the Year issue. It’s a still-unfolding tale of a master manipulator, one who had a large network of increasingly visible co-conspirators, what The New York Times calls in a bombshell report published Tuesday night a “complicity machine.”

Working for the Times, Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor, Susan Dominus, Jim Rutenberg and Steve Eder detail an alleged pattern of assistance or disregard that allowed Weinstein not only to abuse women sexually without punishment, but silence them as well. Players included Hillary Clinton aides, top talent agents, journalists and his own employees. Some of them were actively and willfully complicit, the Times reports. Others appeared to be threatened or coerced into cooperation.

What’s clear is that the number of people who would have been in the position to have enough clear knowledge sufficient to stop Weinstein’s alleged predatory behavior was larger than perhaps any would have expected. Weinstein, of course, continues to deny all accusations.

Here’s what you need to know about the report.

1. Two people close to the Clinton campaign say they warned Clinton’s team about Weinstein’s alleged behavior

“I just want you to let you know that Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point,” Lena Dunham claims she told Kristina Schake, the campaign’s deputy communications director. “I think it’s a really bad idea for him to host fund-raisers and be involved because it’s an open secret in Hollywood that he has a problem with sexual assault.”

Dunham said she also spoke to Adrienne Elrod, a Clinton spokeswoman who led celebrity campaigner efforts. Both women deny that Dunham mentioned rape, Clinton’s communications director told the Times. Dunham herself has been complicit in an attempt to silence and shame a victim of sexual assault.

Magazine editor Tina Brown also told the Times she had warned Clinton’s inner circle about Weinstein in 2008. “I was hearing that Harvey’s sleaziness with women had escalated since I left Talk in 2002 and she was unwise to be so closely associated with him.”

Up until the accusations against Weinstein were first published, Clinton and Weinstein were planning a documentary TV series about her campaign, the Times reported.

2. Talent agents at Creative Artists Agency knew of Weinstein’s alleged abuse and assisted in either covering it up or supplying him with women

“At least eight talent agents were told that Mr. Weinstein had harassed or menaced female clients, but agents there continued to arrange private meetings,” the Times wrote. Clients of CAA told the Times that when they reported abusive encounters with Weinstein, they were told “That’s just Harvey being Harvey” or “to forget about it.”

CAA provided a statement of apology “to any person the agency let down for not meeting the high expectations we place on ourselves.” Weinstein also asked a CAA partner to “broker a meeting with a C.A.A. client, Ronan Farrow, who was reporting on Mr. Weinstein,” the Times said.

3. Weinstein had a web of journalists working for him

The New Yorker first published the involvement of American Media Inc.’s Dylan Howard with Weinstein to help undermine accusers, Ronan Farrow reported. (Howard has now been accused of sexual harassment himself.) But David Pecker, chief executive of AMI helped Weinstein remain “untouchable” in the tabloid industry, the Times said. Weinstein was known as “F.O.P.,” or “friend of Pecker.” Reportedly, AMI tried to buy the rights to at least one of Weinstein’s accusers’ stories, in a practice called “catch and kill.”

Weinstein also had A. J. Benza, a former New York Daily News gossip columnist, on a monthly retainer. The Times reported that “the producer relied on [Benza] to promote his entertainment empire and sometimes punish rivals or deflect threats.” A Weinstein spokeswoman told the Times the payments to Benza were for public relations work.

Weinstein “had book and movie deals with writers and editors at Fox NewsThe New York PostPremiere magazineVanity FairVariety and elsewhere,” the Times reported. “In Mr. Benza’s case, a book contract came immediately after he left The Daily News.”

4. Some Weinstein employees were willfully complicit; others were threatened and coerced

“His brother and partner, Bob, participated in payoffs to women as far back as 1990,” the Times said. And, “Some low-level assistants were pulled in: They compiled ‘bibles’ that included hints on facilitating encounters with women, and were required to procure his penile injections for erectile dysfunction.”

Ashley Matthau, a dancer in a Weinstein film, said that in 2004, an assistant set up a business meeting with her and Weinstein and waited outside the hotel room while Weinstein masturbated on her. Matthau said she cried leaving the room, but the assistant “wouldn’t even acknowledge me,” she told the Times. “It just seemed like a well-oiled machine.” Matthau reportedly reached a settlement with Weinstein.

Employees told the Times the human resources department also functioned as a shield for Weinstein, rather than a resource for his employees.

Other employees described a culture of sabotage, spying and threats. Amy Israel, Miramax’s former co-head of acquisitions, told the Times, “As a spectator to the abuse you were silenced by the fear that you would become the next target,” she said. “The only alternative seemingly was to quit — to throw away everything you had worked so hard for and walk out the door.” She told the Times of an instance where Weinstein allegedly harassed her, too.

One assistant said she confronted Weinstein about arranging private meetings with women in his hotel room. “It’s not my job, and I don’t want to do it,” she told the Times of what she said. She says he responded: “Your opinion doesn’t count,” and that she was fired soon after.

“His modus operandi was always to try to find something on someone else,” Irwin Reiter, who did finance and accounting work for Weinstein for 30 years, told the Times. Indeed, the Times reports that he told one employee that he knew her student-loan history, where her sister when to college and claimed that he could have her kicked out.

5. Weinstein had eyes everywhere

New York Times columnist David Carr, who died in 2015, received word about actor Rose McGowan’s accusations against Weinstein while he was working on a profile for New York magazine in 2001, his editors told the Times.

“Several weeks before the article was published, Kroll, a private investigative agency that did work for Mr. Weinstein, provided him with some details of Mr. Carr’s reporting, according to a former Miramax executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity,” the Times reported. “Mr. Carr wrote in the profile that Mr. Weinstein seemed to have ‘near-perfect visibility into my notebook,’ and told friends that Mr. Weinstein called him before publication to read a line he had written.”

A spokeswoman for Weinstein said the claims were an “urban legend.”




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Why Doesn’t the Corporate Media Say Roy Moore Is Accused of Teen Sexual Abuse in Their Headlines?

What he did was child abuse, and it’s time for the press to admit it.

Headlines typically attempt to draw in readers by including the most relevant or pertinent information, but in the case of breaking news Monday that President Trump had endorsed Roy Moore in next week’s Senate special election in Alabama, the single most important fact of the case—that Moore faces multiple sexual abuse charges—was omitted by the majority of outlets altogether.

  • LA Times (12/4/17): “Trump Fully Endorses Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore”
  • CNN (12/4/17): “Trump Calls Roy Moore to Offer His Endorsement”
  • New York Times (12/4/17): “Roy Moore Gets Trump Endorsement and RNC Funding for Senate Race”
  • Politico (12/4/17): “Trump Endorses Roy Moore, RNC Plans to Go Back Into Alabama Race”
  • Washington Post (12/4/17): “Trump: ‘We need Republican Roy Moore to Win in Alabama’”
  • Chicago Tribune (12/4/17): “RNC Restarts Support for Roy Moore After Trump’s Hearty Endorsement“

The fact that a Republican president would endorse a Republican for a Senate race is not really news. Under normal circumstances, it would be hardly worth a mention…but these aren’t normal circumstances. What makes it news—what justifies the entire reporting of the story—is that Trump is backing someone accused by multiple people, backed by years of circumstantial evidence, of sexual assault and child sexual abuse. The far more relevant framing is “Trump Backs Alabama Senate Candidate Accused of Sexual Abuse.” That’s what makes it a story.

Those that do mention the abuse often used a vague “sex allegation” framing. The instinct to downplay the charges can be seen in two New York Daily Newsheadlines (12/4/17). When the story is viewed full-sized, it has the awkward, redundant  headline, “Trump Officially Endorses Roy Moore, Despite Sexual Allegations Claims, With ‘Go Get ‘Em, Roy’ Message.” When the window is reduced, however, the story bears the more accurate headline, “Trump Endorses Moore Despite Sex Assault Claims.”

Similarly,  CNBC (“Trump Formally Endorses Roy Moore Despite Sex Allegations Against the Alabama Senate Candidate,” 12/4/17), Vice (“What Happens Now After the Roy Moore Sex Allegations? Here Are a Few Possibilities,” 11/9/17) andNew York Times (“Sex Allegations Against Roy Moore Send Republicans Reeling,” 11/9/17) framed the issue in terms of “allegations,” turning acts of violence into nebulous “sex” scandals.

NPR: RNC Restores Financial Support For Roy Moore As Trump Gives Full Endorsement

NPR (12/4/17) watered down this headline from the already euphemistic “Trump Endorses Roy Moore for First Time Since Sex Allegations.”

NPR’s original headline was in the same vein: “Trump Endorses Roy Moore for First Time Since Sex Allegations.” That was apparently deemed too specific for public radio, however, and was replaced by  “RNC Restores Financial Support for Roy Moore as Trump Gives Full Endorsement”  (12/4/17). Bloomberg (12/4/17), on the other hand, originally had “Trump Endorses Roy Moore for Senate, Despite Sex Allegations,” and later amended that to “Trump Endorses Roy Moore Despite Sexual-Misconduct Allegations.”

As Mary Elizabeth Williams explained (Salon, 6/29/12) in 2012, referring to sexual assault or attempted child rape merely as “sex” flattens the predatory nature and severity of the crime:

When you’re dealing with a story that involves rape or harassment or abuse or molestation or child porn or anything that falls under the rubric of criminal behavior, you should call those things rape and harassment and abuse and molestation and child pornography. You know what you shouldn’t call them? Sexy sexy sex scandals, that’s what…

A sex scandal is Mark Sanford ditching his state to cavort with his mistress. A sex scandal is Tiger Woods and a waitress…. But when the media uses the word “sex” within a story about something where there are alleged victims of assault, it’s a semantic failure on an epic scale. It diminishes crime. It sensationalizes it. It removes the distinction between a normal, consensual act and violence.

FAIR has repeatedly pointed out that only 40 percent of readers read past the headlines, which means most people form their worldview based on how a story is framed. Perhaps editors assumed readers were intimate with the allegations against Moore, that the antecedent was obvious. But recent polls show people are either ignorant or confused, with 89 percent of likely Alabama voters pinning the allegations on “newspapers and the media” and 10 percent having never heard of them at all. Certainly the fact of the president—himself accused by assault by multiple women—throwing his considerable weight behind someone running under a cloud of pedophilia should lead the story.

Editors perhaps want to avoid harsh or unseemly language. Which is a perfectly fine instinct, if such language is gratuitous or unrelated—but in this case, the depravity and visceral disgust of the crime in question is the story. By skirting the terms “child abuse” or “sexual assault,” media are burying the severity of the major issue at hand: that the most powerful person earth just endorsed a possible child molester. Newspapers aren’t meant to be managers of cognitive dissonance; in theory, they’re conveyors of truthful information. By burying and downplaying what makes this story news, they are protecting people’s feelings rather than plainly stating what’s at stake, and in doing so providing cover for an accused child abuser and his growing list of enablers.



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Republicans Were Always Going to Come Crawling Back to Roy Moore

The GOP considers all women suspect, but especially those who speak out.

In what may be the least surprising development ever, the Republican Party has decided to rally around Roy Moore, giving the man accused of multiple sexual assaults on minors campaign funds from the Republican National Committee funding and a glowing endorsement from Donald Trump, at last report the president of the United States.

The arc of Moore’s story precisely follows the one established by Republicans after the accusations against Trump during the 2016 campaign, which included a now-infamous recording of him bragging about sexual assault: An initial flurry of outrage, giving the conservative base a few weeks to hammer out their rationalizations and normalize the idea that sexual assault is no big deal, and then, when the coast is clear, a mass rush back to the accused sexual predator’s side.

Many people hoped or believed that this time it would be different. Trump’s election made it clear that Republicans don’t care about sexual assault of adult women, especially women they can write off as sexually immoral because they had jobs that put them in situations where they were alone with an obvious sleaze like Donald Trump. But this time, the accusers were underage girls at the time of the alleged incidents; the youngest was 14 years old when, by her account, Moore molested her.

It turns out it was naive to think that teenage girls were exempt from the misogynist social narratives perpetuated by the right, which divide women into “good” women deserving of protection and “bad” women whose deviance from restrictive patriarchal rules on female behavior means that they deserve whatever terrible things happen to them. The fact that these women stood up to Moore in the first place meant they were destined, in the eyes of many or most conservatives, to be categorized as “bad” women undeserving of trust, much less safety, protection and understanding.

Right-wingers are already in the habit of classifying minor girls as deviants who do not merit moral concern. Conservative politicians and activists are not only committed to forcing childbirth on minors through abortion laws, they have in fact targeted minors especially for forced childbirth, through parental notification laws for abortion and abstinence-only education that discourages sexually active teenagers from using contraception.

The idea that the women in question were “bad girls” who did not deserve the social protections that good girls get has already been hinted at by religious conservatives. In a piece at the Federalist calling on conservatives to vote for Moore, Tully Borland, a philosophy professor at Ouachita Baptist University, offered a half-hearted defense of Moore’s sexual pursuit of teenage girls, saying, “This practice has a long history and is not without some merit if one wants to raise a large family.” He hastened to add, “I have a 14-year-old daughter. If I caught him doing what was alleged, for starters I would kick him where it counts. “

If it was Borland’s daughter, that would be wrong. Someone else’s daughter? Eh — that’s up for debate. It’s worth remembering that Moore is alleged to have targeted girls who worked in the service industry, often late at night. In the case of Leigh Corfman, she was the daughter of parents going through a divorce at the time, something that no doubt still carried a noticeable stigma in 1970s Alabama. It’s easy to see how such girls could be written off as not-good girls in conservative eyes, especially compared to the purportedly obedient and well-behaved daughters of affluent evangelical Christians.

This mentality goes a long way, I’d argue, toward explaining the bizarre interview that anti-choice activist and Moore defender Janet Porter gave on CNN. During the entire segment, Porter keeps trying to change the topic away from Moore’s alleged misconduct and toward this good girl vs. bad girl framework. She kept bringing up the fact that Poppy Harlow, the host, was pregnant, and waxing poetic about the “unborn child” and suggesting that Harlow’s pregnancy should (for some reason) incline her to support Moore over his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones.

This sort of thing makes more sense in the good girl vs. bad girl framework. As Ilyse Hogue of NARAL noted when she was pregnant, anti-choice activists she encountered were unable to accept that her pregnancy was real and that she continued to be pro-choice. Having a baby is constructed, in religious right circles, as evidence of a woman’s compliance with patriarchal order — and therefore any woman who espouses feminist attitudes while pregnant is seen as a hypocrite.

At another point in the segment, Porter complains that there’s “a group of non-accusers, that have not accused the judge of anything illegal,” a comment that was mocked relentlessly on social media. No one believes Moore could possibly have molested every single girl that attended high school in Gadsden, Alabama, during the 70s.

But I suspect that Porter, in her inarticulate way, was trying to set up this good girl vs. bad girl competition again. She was identifying a group of women whose silence made them more virtuous than women who sully the good name of womanhood by speaking out, especially against a man who is such a stalwart defender of the patriarchy.

Porter also aligned the female accusers with “criminals,” which again suggests that she is focused on the idea that women who speak out about sexual abuse are disruptive and subversive forces. In her eyes, it is they, rather than a man who has been accused of repeated sexual abuse, who are the proper objects of outrage.

In a fascinating interview with Sean Illing of Vox, author and philosophy professor Kate Manne argues that misogyny is the mechanism that a sexist society uses to police women for insubordination.

“I think most misogynistic behavior is about hostility towards women who violate patriarchal norms and expectations, who aren’t serving male interests in the ways they’re expected to,” she says.

If Manne is right, as I think she very much is, then it was inevitable that Republicans would turn against Moore’s accusers. The very act of speaking out, as Porter’s weird ramblings about “non-accusers” indicate, makes a woman suspect. Good girls simply don’t draw undue attention to themselves or make a scene like that. Whether or not they were actually victimized fades into irrelevance as an issue. Ultimately, the conservative worldview is one where a woman speaking out is more deviant than a man who still adhered to social expectations to be dominant and heterosexual, no matter how creepy his expression of those tendencies might be. Which is why Republicans will likely shun Moore’s accusers and reward him with a seat in the U.S. Senate next Tuesday.



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The Secret Epidemic of Sexual Assault at One of the Country’s Most Popular Spas

More than 180 women say they were abused at Massage Envy locations.

An investigative report from BuzzFeed News found that more than 180 women have accused massage therapists at Massage Envy franchise locations of sexual assault while the company has done little to address the allegations.

Some of the allegations include nonconsensual digital penetration, nonconsensual vaginal licking and groping.

BuzzFeed uncovered a pattern of inept responses from poorly trained Massage Envy spa managers and routine failure to address sexual assault allegations in any meaningful way.

Massage Envy doesn’t require its locations to report assaults to police. The company cited the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) in leaving the decision to report assaults to the authorities with assault survivors. RAINN, which has no connection to Massage Envy, told BuzzFeed that Massage Envy was misrepresenting its position.

Corporate policies reported by BuzzFeed were oriented toward crisis management.

Melanie Hansen, general counsel of Massage Envy Franchising, said, “As a franchisor of a service brand, we are not experts in investigating criminal acts” and said the organization advises spas “to secure expert help as needed to investigate incidents.” This guidance did not appear in training materials reviewed by BuzzFeed.

Last year, Rep. Pat Meehan (D-PA) introduced bipartisan legislation requiring spa employees to report sexual assault allegations to police.

Eight women have filed a suit against a Massage Envy spa for its handling of sexual assault. The case is scheduled to go to trial in January.


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Alabama’s Largest Newspapers Call Out Roy Moore for Sexual Abuse of Children and a ‘Pathological Fixation’ on Sex

Alabama newspapers called on voters over the weekend to reject Republican Senate Roy Moore.

A consortium of Alabama newspapers called on voters over the weekend to reject Republican Senate Roy Moore because of his alleged history of abusing women and children.

In a column Saturday, the editorial board argues that the “election is a turning point for women in Alabama.”

“Every day new allegations arise that illustrate a pattern of a man in his 30s strutting through town like the cock of the walk, courting and preying on young women and girls,” the editorial board writes.

The piece notes that has independently investigated the claims of women who report that they were sexually abused by Moore at ages as young as 14.

The seriousness of these incidents, including one involving a 14-year-old child, cannot be overstated. Nor can the growing number of accusations — from the women who were at the receiving end of unwanted adult male overtures as teens, to those who say they were physically assaulted — be parsed with talk of statutes of limitations or whether proof has been recorded on a stone tablet. In the American system, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a consideration for the courtroom, not the ballot box. It is our job as voters to look closely at the candidates and make up our own minds.

“This election has become a referendum on whether we will accept this kind of behavior from our leaders,” the paper continues. “We each know someone in our lives who is a survivor of sexual assault or child abuse. Many of us are still searching for the words needed to tell our own stories and some may never find that voice. This election is about them.”

The editors add: “This utter disregard for people unlike himself, his pathological fixation on sex, and the steps he’s taken to actively diminish other people’s freedoms, is more than enough to have disqualified him from this office long before these women stepped into the public eye.”

In the end, the editors of suggest that voters cast their ballots for Democratic candidate Doug Jones or write in a candidate other than Moore.

Read the entire editorial here.


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Al Franken Accused of Kissing and Groping a Los Angeles News Anchor Without Her Consent in 2006

Leeann Tweeden says she felt “embarrassed” and “violated.”

Leeann Tweeden, a longtime broadcaster who works with station KABC, has accused Sen. Al Franken of kissing and groping her without her consent in 2006.

Writing at KABC, Tweeden reveals that Franken made inappropriate advances toward her when the two of them were on a USO tour 11 years ago. Specifically, she says that Franken first made advances on her when he wrote a part for her in one of the skits he’d written to entertain the troops.

“Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along,” she writes. “When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.”

Franken insisted on practicing the kiss for the skit, however, and during practice Tweeden says he tried shoving his tongue down her throat.

She told him to back off and said she would not be so nice if he ever tried pulling such a move again.

Franken subsequently responded by treating her childishly, Tweeden alleges.

“Franken repaid me with petty insults, including drawing devil horns on at least one of the headshots I was autographing for the troops,” she write.

Then, on an airplane flight, Franken snuck up on her while she was sleeping and groped her breasts. In fact, Franken even had someone snap a photo of him doing it while he looked at the camera with a big smile on his face.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she writes. “He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?”

Franken has not yet responded to Tweeden’s allegations.



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