When confronted by an ever-increasing avalanche of sexual harassment and assault allegations, Harvey Weinstein opted for a rehab clinic and a promise to shape up. The allegations have gotten worse, prompting criminal investigations of rape in Los Angeles, New York, and London, but Weinstein doesn’t appear to have changed much at all. According to Page Six’s Emily Smith, Weinstein has not done much except to assert his privilege and claim conspiratorial persecution:
Harvey Weinstein is already being belligerent at sex addiction rehab — barking into his banned mobile phone and remaining in denial about his alleged sex attacks, insisting each and every one was consensual, Page Six has exclusively learned.
The movie mogul, who volunteered to go to rehab after a wave of allegations of sexual harassment and rape against him from women in Hollywood, isn’t exactly in his element in therapy, falling asleep in sessions or talking on his phone, a source tells Page Six. …
The source told us, “In one group therapy session, Harvey arrived 15 minutes late. Then, when it was his turn to speak, he launched into a speech about how this is all a conspiracy against him.”
As Smith explains, the rehab facility bars the use of cell phones on its grounds. Those rules don’t apply to Weinstein, apparently, which sounds … pretty familiar in this saga. Weinstein has checked into a nearby hotel rather than remain residential at the facility, which also sounds pretty familiar in this saga. Given that hotel rooms play a key role in many of the allegations of harassment and assault, how wise is it for the facility to allow him to hole up outside their control?
NBC News reports on an even more revealing episode in Weinstein’s exercise of power. Last year, Weinstein threatened to dig up dirt on board members of a global AIDS organization after their attorney started digging into a deal they had made with the Hollywood mogul:
A raging Harvey Weinstein threatened the board of the world-famous AIDS charity amfAR last year because he believed a lawyer working for the organization was digging into his sex life, according to a document obtained by NBC News.
Minutes of an October 2016 amfAR board meeting, obtained Wednesday, include an update from board chairman and shoe designer Kenneth Cole about his dealings with the movie mogul. …
Weinstein told Cole he had a letter that said Ajamie “was representing a famous nonprofit to investigate Harvey’s financial irregularities as well as his sex life,” according to the minutes.
“Harvey reiterated that it was inappropriate and slanderous and that he would personally investigate each person on the amfAR board and the committee,” the minutes said.
Cole and the board didn’t quite grasp Weinstein’s harsh reaction, he tells NBC in a follow-up e-mail. “We thought it was Weinstein with his typical angry, litigious response.” On the other hand, Ajamie tells NBC that he did uncover reports of “sexual misconduct by Mr. Weinstein,” and furthermore Ajamie “passed those along to the amFAR chairman.” Cole says he has “absolutely no recollection” of that.
There is plenty more in the NBC report, but this part of the episode demonstrates why Weinstein’s victims — and others in the know — remained reluctant to publicly accuse the mogul. Weinstein didn’t just have a near-endless supply of money; he also had key political and cultural connections, which could have guaranteed a life in Oblivion for anyone who dared cross him. Cole admits later that Weinstein’s previous largesse to amFAR overrode concerns about his behavior and over questionable transactions between the two. Cole later suggested that the board sign non-disclosure agreements to keep Weinstein happy. The default impulse in Hollywood and in the broader culture was silence, and legally enforceable silence at that.