(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

GWYNETH PALTROW, 45

When the actress was 22, she got a role that would make her a star: Film producer Harvey Weinstein hired her for the lead in the 1996 Jane Austen adaptation, Emma.

On a trip to Los Angeles, she received a schedule from her agents for a work meeting in Weinstein’s suite at The Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel.

There was no reason to suspect anything untoward because “it’s on the fax, it’s from CAA”, she said, referring to Creative Artists Agency, which represented her. The meeting began uneventfully, but ended with Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages, she said.

She immediately left, she said, and remembers feeling stunned as she drove away. “I thought you were my uncle Harvey,” she recalled thinking, explaining that she had seen him as a mentor.

After she confided in actor Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time, he approached Weinstein at a theatre premiere and told him never to touch her again. Pitt confirmed the account to The New York Times through a representative.

Soon after, Weinstein called Paltrow and berated her for discussing the episode, she said. (She said she also told a few friends, family members and her agent.)

“He screamed at me for a long time,” she said, once again fearing she could lose the role in Emma. “It was brutal.” But she stood her ground, she said, and insisted that he put the relationship back on professional footing.

Even as she became known as the “first lady of Miramax” and won an Oscar for Shakespeare In Love in 1999, very few people knew about Weinstein’s advances. “I was expected to keep the secret,” she said.

LUCIA EVANS

The former aspiring actress met Weinstein before her senior year in college. Knowing the rumours about his behaviour, she agreed to meet only a casting executive for a reading. But when she arrived at Miramax, she was taken to an office with just Weinstein.

According to her account to The New Yorker, he said she would “be great in Project Runway” if she lost weight and told her about two other potential scripts for her.

Then, she said, he forced her to perform oral sex on him. “I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,’” she said. “I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him. He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.”

At a certain point, she said, “I just sort of gave up. That’s the most horrible part of it and that’s why he’s been able to do this for so long to so many women – people give up and then they feel like it’s their fault”.

She said her encounter with him deeply affected her. Her schoolwork and relationships suffered, she had an eating problem for years and friends told her to see a therapist “because they thought I was going to kill myself”.

ANGELINA JOLIE, 42

The Oscar-winning actress said that during the release of Playing By Heart in the late 1990s, Weinstein made unwanted advances on her in a hotel room, which she rejected.

“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth and, as a result, chose never to work with him again and warned others when they did,” she said in an e-mail message to The New York Times. “This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”

ROSANNA ARQUETTE, 58

In the early 1990s, Weinstein asked the actress to stop by The Beverly Hills Hotel to pick up a script for a role.

Born into a family of actors, she had already starred in a hit film, Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), and in New York Stories (1989). At the reception desk, she was told to head upstairs, which she found odd.

Weinstein was in a white bathrobe, complaining of neck pain and asking for a massage. Arquette said she tried to recommend a professional masseuse, but Weinstein grabbed her hand and pulled it towards his crotch. She immediately drew away, she said.

He boasted about the famous actresses he had supposedly slept with. “Rosanna, you’re making a big mistake,” he said, she told The New York Times.

“I’m not that girl,” she recalled telling him on the way out. “I will never be that girl.”

The part went to someone else and Weinstein’s representative pointed out that he did not produce the movie. Later, Arquette was in the Miramax film Pulp Fiction (1994), but said she avoided Weinstein.

MIRA SORVINO, 50

The actress won an Oscar for her role in Mighty Aphrodite (1995), which was released by Miramax. She told The New Yorker she was promoting the film in Toronto when she ended up in a hotel room with Weinstein.

“He started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around,” she said.

Weeks later, she said, he called her late at night, saying he had marketing ideas, and showed up at her apartment. Fearful, she had called a male friend to come over and although he had not arrived, she told Weinstein that her new boyfriend was on his way over. Dejected, Weinstein left, she said.

When she told a female Miramax employee, the reaction “was shock and horror that I had mentioned it”, the actress said.

ASIA ARGENTO, 42

The Italian actress-director is one of three women – two on the record – who told The New Yorker that Weinstein raped them.

She said she had maintained her silence until now for fear that he would “crush” her. She said that as a 21-year-old in 1997, she was invited to a French hotel for a Miramax party, only to find Weinstein alone in a room.

She alleged that he changed into a bathrobe, appeared with a bottle of lotion and asked for a massage. She reluctantly gave him one and then he forcibly performed oral sex on her, she said.

Weinstein, who has weighed up to 300 pounds (136kg), “terrified me and he was so big”, she said. “It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.”

At some point, she said, she stopped saying no and feigned enjoyment because she thought it was the only way the assault would end.

Over the following five years, she did submit to his advances, feeling “obliged” and had consensual sex with him, saying she knew this would be used to undermine the credibility of her allegation.

“Just his body, his presence, his face, bring me back to the little girl that I was when I was 21. After the rape, he won,” she said.

JUDITH GODRECHE, 45

When Weinstein invited the French actress to breakfast at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996, she had no idea who he was.

At 24, she was already a star in France and a new film she was in, Ridicule, was opening the festival. He had just acquired the movie.

They had breakfast at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, joined by a female Miramax executive. After the executive left, Weinstein invited Godreche up to his suite to see the view and to discuss the film’s marketing and even an Oscar campaign, she said in an interview.

“I was so naive and unprepared,” she said.

Upstairs, he asked to give her a massage, she said. She said no. He argued that casual massages were an American custom – he gave them to his secretary all the time, she recalled him saying.

“The next thing I know, he’s pressing against me and pulling off my sweater,” she said. She left the suite.

She later called the female executive, who told her not to say anything, lest she hurt the film’s release. “They put my face on the poster,” she said. “This is Miramax. You can’t say anything.”

NYTIMES, WASHINGTON POST

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