LOS ANGELES – A feminist attorney who is serving as an adviser to a major Hollywood producer accused of sexually harassing women for decades acknowledged Friday that her client had acted inappropriately and possibly even illegally.
Lisa Bloom, a prominent feminist attorney, made her remarks about her client, Harvey Weinstein, during an interview with ABC News.
“This is a real pattern over 30 years. This is like textbook sexual harassment,” the host of ABC News’ “Good Morning America” program, George Stephanopoulos, said in reference to the sexual misconduct allegations contained in a New York Times article on Thursday.
“It’s gross, yeah,” replied Bloom, who is known for representing women accusing powerful men of sexual harassment.
“It’s illegal,” Stephanopoulos claimed.
“Yes. You know, I agree,” Bloom responded, without using the term sexual harassment to describe her client’s behavior.
“You have to understand, yes, I’m here as his adviser. I’m not defending him in any sexual-harassment cases. There aren’t any sexual-harassment cases. I’m working with a guy who has behaved badly over the years who is genuinely remorseful, who says, ‘You know, I have caused a lot of pain,’” she said.
Asked by the Times to clarify her comments in the interview, Bloom said, “The New York Times allegations, if true, would constitute sexual harassment. However, Mr. Weinstein denies many of them and was not given a fair opportunity to present evidence and witnesses on his side.”
But a Times spokeswoman, Danielle Rhoades, said Weinstein had been given two days to respond to the allegations before the paper ran the story on Thursday.
“We included all relevant comments from Mr. Weinstein in our story and published his entire response,” she said. “Mr. Weinstein and his lawyer have confirmed the essential points of the story. They have not pointed to any errors or challenged any facts in our story.”
The accusations against Weinstein date back to his glory days at the helm of the Miramax entertainment company (which he co-founded) in the 1990s but also include more recent allegations leveled in 2015.
The daily reported that 20 years ago Weinstein invited actress Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what she thought was a breakfast business meeting.
Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where the producer – dressed only in a robe – asked her if she wanted him to give her a massage and suggested that she watch him while he had a shower.
In 2014, Weinstein allegedly invited Emily Nestor, a former temporary employee of another company of he co-founded, The Weinstein Company, to that same hotel, where he said he would give her career a boost if she acceded to his sexual advances.
The Times, citing two Weinstein Company officials speaking on condition of anonymity, said the producer had reached at least eight settlements with women after being confronted with allegations including sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact.
Weinstein, the co-producer of blockbuster hits such as “Pulp Fiction,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Chicago,” has apologized for his misbehavior but also says he plans to sue the Times over the report.
The story was “saturated with false and defamatory statements,” Weinstein’s attorney, Charles Harder, said in a statement on Thursday.
“We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish. We are preparing the lawsuit now. All proceeds will be donated to women’s organizations,” Harder said.