What we learned from the Harvey Weinstein documentary Untouchable


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Some of the women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault tell their stories in a new documentary, which sheds light on the power he held over them and the rest of Hollywood.

Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein is on BBC Two on Sunday and Hulu in the US from Monday. In it, some contributors, including accusers and former colleagues, speak on camera for the first time.

The 67-year-old former film mogul denies all allegations of non-consensual sex and criminality, and refutes claims that he retaliated against women for refusing his advances. He has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges and is due to face a trial in New York in January.

Here are six insights and allegations from the documentary.

1. His accusers were terrified

Half a dozen female actors appear on camera giving first-hand accounts of how they say they were raped or sexually assaulted by the media mogul.

“He pulled my dress up and I was just terrified,” Paz de la Huerta​ says, adding that she “was intimidated by him and his power”.

“The way in which he overpowered me left me no way out,” she says. “I didn’t go to the police because I was terrified he would destroy me and he would say it was consensual, and he would say that I was a whore and I was lying.

“You put on a happy face but inside you’re dying.”

Caitlin Dulany​ says she was similarly “terrified”, while Hope d’Amore​ tells of how “he just pushed and pushed”.

Noting how large he is, she says: “I weigh about 100lbs, probably about 110 then. I don’t know how to explain it. I just thought, if I just shut up it will be over in a few minutes.”

2. They believed he could end their careers

After getting an audition, Nannette Klatt went to read for the director, but said he asked her to show him her breasts.

When she refused, he apparently replied: “Do you know who I am? You know I can make your career or I can break your career? I can make it so you will never work in this business again. So show me your breasts.”

The actress, who suffers from night blindness, still refused and says she was told the building’s front doors were locked and was sent in the direction of a dark stairwell. “He knew when I went down there it was totally black.”

3. He tried to keep complaints quiet

Harvey and brother Bob’s production company Miramax made Oscar-winning films including The English Patient and Shakespeare In Love.

Former Miramax London secretary Zelda Perkins remembers an assistant telling her Harvey Weinstein had raped her. After being confronted by Perkins, she says Weinstein and his people “bombarded” her with phone calls.

“I really need your help right now to sort this out,” he’s heard saying in one of a number of answerphone messages that are played in the documentary.

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Image caption

Harvey Weinstein in his Miramax Films office in New York in 1989

The film also shows what it says is a non-disclosure agreement she signed, which even barred them from talking about the incident with a therapist and “clearly stipulated” they would provide reasonable assistance in the event that any civil or criminal case was brought against him.

“We had guns pointed at us from every direction,” says Perkins.

4. Spies compiled dossiers about his accusers

Weinstein is compared to “a gangster” and accused of running his operation like “the Mafia”.

In 2016, after hearing that people were preparing to accuse him of sexual assault, harassment and bullying, he enlisted “a whole army” of journalists, lawyers and high-powered private investigation firms, the documentary claims. One such outfit employed former members of Israeli security service Mossad.

We see what is apparently a contract drawn up with that firm in order to “identity the entities behind the negative campaign” and put a stop to it. We also see a dossier the film says was compiled on actress Rosanna Arquette, who had refused his advances – being told at the time: “Rosanna, you’re making a very big mistake.”

The dossier reads: “The client suspects Rosanna is involved in the campaign being waged against him by disseminating fictitious allegations about him to media sources.”

5. He had power over the media too

Journalists Andrew Goldman and Rebecca Traister say Weinstein verbally and physically attacked them at a high-profile party for asking a question he didn’t like.

They say Weinstein told them words to the effect of “I’m glad I’m the sheriff of this town” before pushing Goldman down the steps and out the doors into the Manhattan street, where the producer got him in a headlock in full view of the paparazzi.

However, no pictures of the incident ever emerged and the story was buried, they claim.

“How can this not be the cover of the New York Post and the Daily News?” asks Goldman. “It’s the shot that every tabloid editor would be dreaming of – who wouldn’t put that on the cover? This is like Tinseltown magic.”

Traister confirms she was warned off commenting on the incident by a superior, who told her: “Harvey’s never going anywhere. Harvey’s Russia. Don’t write about it.”

6. Others in Hollywood knew what was going on

The “complicity of the Hollywood community” is called into question in the film by New Yorker journalist Ken Auletta.

“Agents were guilty of that, as were some studio heads, as were some producers and directors and actors and actresses, and staffers,” he says.

Bob Weinstein’s former assistant Kathy Declesis says she quit after opening a lawyer’s letter containing an allegation of sexual assault against Harvey.

“I had a choice to make – you either swallow it, ignore it… I’m not that person, I can’t do that,” she says. Her parting words to Bob Weinstein were: “I quit and your brother is a pig.”

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Others expressed regret at having not acted in a similar way.

“As I look back I can’t quite reconcile myself to just not up-and-quitting after my friend was sexually abused by him – so I live with that for sure,” says former Miramax chief financial officer John Schmidt.

In October 2017, The New York Times reported that more than a dozen women had accused Weinstein. After the story broke, Erika Rosenbaum was encouraged to speak out with her own allegation after hearing a line in the Wonder Woman movie.

Chris Pine’s character says: ‘If you see something wrong happening in the world, you can either do nothing or do something… and I already tried nothing.”

“I went, ‘Oh yeah that’s perfect,'” Rosenbaum says. “I can’t tell you what it means to me to see it coming into the light.”

Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein airs on BBC Two at 21:00 BST on Sunday.



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