If the first words that come to mind when you think of a disgraced former film producer accused of sexually assaulting more than 80 women are not “thank you, Harvey Weinstein,” it will probably come as a shock to learn that that’s exactly what the erstwhile Hollywood kingmaker thinks he deserves to hear.
Speaking to the New York Post in his first public interview since the allegations against him first came to light in October 2017, Weinstein said that he feels “like the forgotten man,’’ in the aftermath of his alleged victims going public, sparking the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements seeking to eradicate sexual assault and power abuses in Hollywood in the process.
“I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago. I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it!” Weinstein reportedly told the New York Post's Page Six. “It all got eviscerated because of what happened,’’ Weinstein added. “My work has been forgotten.’’
As a refresher, Weinstein’s work has been overshadowed — by the many dozens of actors, film crew members and Weinstein company employees who have come forward in recent years to accuse the high-powered mogul of using sexual favors and outright assault as currency to boost the careers of women in Hollywood. But now, Weinstein seems to be claiming that, in spite of those allegations, he deserves praise for his pioneering attempts to instill gender parity in Hollywood.
“Gwyneth Paltrow in 2003 got $10 million to make a movie called ‘View from the Top,’ ” Weinstein said, referring to an actress who has publicly accused him of soliciting sexual massages from her when she was a 22-year-old up-and-comer. “She was the highest-paid female actor in an independent film. Higher paid than all the men,” he said.
The entire interview appears to have been engineered to dispel suspicions that Weinstein, who showed up to a recent Manhattan court appearance looking haggard and using a walker, is exaggerating his ailments. On December 11, the New York Times reported that Weinstein and his now-bankrupt film studio, The Weinstein Company, had reportedly reached a $25 million civil settlement deal that would reportedly bring to an end nearly every legal action being brought against Weinstein by his accusers, all while legally absolving him from publicly or privately admitting to any wrongdoing.
On Monday, 23 of the women who have made public accusations against Weinstein issued a sharply-worded letter rebuking the former producer’s attempt to rehab his image.
"Harvey Weinstein is trying to gaslight society again,” the letter reads, in part. “He says in a new interview he doesn't want to be forgotten. Well, he won't be. He will be remembered as a sexual predator and an unrepentant abuser who took everything and deserves nothing. He will be remembered by the collective will of countless women who stood up and said enough. We refuse to let this predator rewrite his legacy of abuse."