Liberal king-maker and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is suing the New York Times over an explosive new story documenting decades of sex abuse.
As many as 8 women, including Ashley Judd, have stepped forward to claim Weinstein used his power to pressure female actresses and employees to have sex or perform other sex acts with him.
Weinstein, a major donor and pal to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, is reportedly “lawyering up” and is accusing the NYT of dishonest reporting. But the testimonials against him are sickeningly credible.
More from Variety:
Harvey Weinstein has hired a high-powered team of attorneys to push back on soon-to-be-published bombshell stories from the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing sexual allegations and improper workplace behavior against him. Some women making the charges are believed to be on the record.
Weinstein, the indie mogul and founder of the Weinstein Company, has retained star litigator David Boies, as well as attorneys Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder in an effort to rebut the claims. Jodi Kantor, an investigative reporter who wrote about harsh working conditions at Amazon, is working on the story for the Times, along with Megan Twohey, who wrote a piece about Weinstein’s questionable charitable work for amfAR, a charity involved with AIDS research. Ronan Farrow, the former MSNBC host, is doing the story for the New Yorker, according to multiple individuals with knowledge of the situation. One individual said that at least one of the stories could be published as early as this week.
In a brief interview on Wednesday, Weinstein declined to comment on the charges.
“Why don’t I get, since I must have these high-priced lawyers, let me get them back to talk to you,” said Weinstein.
Weinstein later issued a statement through a spokesperson, as did Bloom. “The story sounds so good I want to buy the movie rights,” said Weinstein.
“Harvey Weinstein is obviously excellent at assembling a legal team,” said Bloom.
The Weinstein Co. is bracing for the impact of the stories, but most employees are largely unaware of the details. Weinstein is trying to retain the services of Lanny Davis, a former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, to help advise him on public relations strategy, according to one insider. He has also reached out to several crisis PR firms in recent weeks.
A spokesperson for the New York Times declined to comment. The New Yorker also declined to comment.
The Weinstein Company’s films include Oscar-winners such as “The Artist” and “The King’s Speech,” as well as box office hits such as “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Django Unchained.”