Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is alleged to have sexually harassed a number of women and three women have gone on the record to say he raped them. The allegations go back decades. How was it all kept quiet? There were a number of factors, but the media played a critical role.
Last week, The New York Times published an expose detailing what is considered one of Hollywood’s open secrets: Weinstein has been paying off people who accuse him of sexual harassment for years.
The Times report was the tip of the iceberg. On Tuesday, The New Yorker published an report detailing more of Weinstein’s predatory history, including three women who went on the record saying Weinstein had raped them.
The New York Times also reported Tuesday that mega-stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie said Weinstein had harassed them as well. The Times reports that Paltrow confided in her boyfriend Brad Pitt, who she says confronted Weinstein at the time, but Pitt never came forward publicly.
So high-profile, powerful men who knew about Weinstein’s harassment are complicit in protecting Weinstein. But what also became clear Tuesday is that the media has been complicit in protecting a sexual predator as well.
In Tuesday’s New Yorker expose, Ronan Farrow writes, “Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein’s advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them. Multiple sources said that Weinstein frequently bragged about planting items in media outlets about those who spoke against him.”
The New Yorker also published a recording of Weinstein admitting to groping model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. In 2015, Gutierrez alleged as much publicly, and in the days following her allegation, it’s clear Weinstein was planting hit pieces about her in the gossip pages of a The New York Post.
“The beautiful Italian model who claims she was traumatized by Harvey Weinstein’s wandering hands wasn’t upset enough to surrender a primo seat for his new Broadway show — which she attended less than a day after the alleged incident,” a Page Six story from March 31, 2015 led.
Minutes later, the Post published another story about Gutierrez.
“This stunner is no stranger to sexually charged lawsuits,” the second story said. “Harvey Weinstein’s accuser, Ambra Battilana, once sued a 70-year-old sugar daddy, claiming he sexually assaulted her, according to Italian reports.”
Three days later, the Post ran yet another hit piece on the model.
“The Italian model who accused Harvey Weinstein of molesting her tried to use the claim to score a movie role from him, sources told The Post on Thursday,” the story says, adding that unnamed sources said Gutierrez was refusing to “cooperate” with authorities because she was trying to “cut a deal” to get into one of Weinstein’s movies.
Gutierrez’s lawyer denied the claim, which the Post doesn’t note until nearly halfway through the story.
The stories all feature highly sexualized photos of Gutierrez and rely on unnamed sources and work in snide remarks about the model, including noting that she “has ties to disgraced former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi” without explanation.