Film producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, including actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, over the span of three decades, according to a New York Times exposé published Thursday.
The Times reports that Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women and that McGowan reached a settlement with the producer following an encounter at a hotel in 1997.
While McGowan declined to comment for the story, Judd told the New York Times of an incident she personally experienced in a hotel room with Weinstein 20 years ago. She recalled how Weinstein proposed a business breakfast at a Beverly Hills hotel—but that it ended up taking place in his suite. There, she said that he asked her to give him a massage, and then for a shoulder rub, and then if she would watch him shower.
“I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” Judd told the Times. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”
"How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?" Judd said, recalling that she felt "panicky" and "trapped."
The Times found numerous records of accusations made against him from businesses he ran, Miramax and the Weinstein Company.
After these allegations came to light in the report, Weinstein gave a statement to the Times that said he would be taking a "leave of absence" from work.
“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it," the statement read. "Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”
Weinstein added that he is working with therapists and plans to take time away to “deal with this issue head-on.” Read the full statement here.
His lawyer Lisa Bloom also gave a statement that read, "He denies many of the accusations as patently false."
On Thursday afternoon another of the producer's attorneys, Charles Harder, told The Hollywood Reporter by email that Weinstein plans to sue the Times for its report.
"The New York Times published today a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein," the message read. "It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by nine different eyewitnesses. 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."
Weinstein has been married to Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman since 2007. The couple has two children, and Weinstein has also three children from his previous marriage to Eve Chilton.