Harvey Weinstein stands accused—by more than 40 women—of being a predator in private. He was also a notorious bully in public. Weinstein “has never done anything in his life that was consensual. He makes people do things. He assaults people in every way,” a source who worked with him for years tells WHO of Weinstein’s abusive behaviour in the magazine’s new cover story.
At work, says another longtime colleague, “it was human harassment at every level. Mass intimidation, constant threats—to men and women—about losing your job. It was mocking people about their physicality, about their age. One of his favourite lines was, ‘I’ll fire you on the cover of Variety.’”
The movie executive behind Shakespeare in Love and The King’s Speech was fired from his own studio, the Weinstein Company, last week and resigned from the board on Tuesday. He has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
From the movie industry to the media and beyond, Weinstein’s reputation for bullying was epic—but he “was romanticised as an old-style movie mogul,” New York magazine writer-at-large Rebecca Traister tells WHO. “That was seen as a good thing.”
She experienced his temper firsthand at a 2000 book party, when, she says, she asked Weinstein a probing question about the marketing of a movie and he exploded, calling her a “c---,” dragging her then-boyfriend Andrew Goldman onto the street in a headlock and yelling, “I’m the f---ing mayor of this f---ing lawless piece of shit town!”
Another former coworker, a female producer, says, “everyone in the industry knew” Weinstein, 65, pursued young women, “just as everyone who came in contact with him knew about his temper.”
Yet stars continued to work for the producer, who also knew how to wield his temper in their favour. “He launched campaigns for you, not just for Oscar nominations, but he went out there and banged the drum for you on other films,” says the source.
As one of his longtime colleagues explains, “It’s easy to write off someone who’s ignorant, but when they’re well-read, charming and intellectual like Harvey, you make excuses somehow, because you’re in denial.”
That denial surrounded Weinstein for three decades—as even those who witnessed his tirades say they didn’t know about the alleged sexual assaults and misconduct.
“I don’t know why no one saw it, why we didn’t know. No one really wanted to think about what was happening behind closed doors,” one of the sources who worked with him for years tells WHO. “We were naive. We thought his abuse stopped in the office.”
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