Harvey Weinstein accused of rape in New Yorker story

'The New Yorker' obtains audio of Weinstein sting
'The New Yorker' obtains audio of Weinstein sting

Harvey Weinstein stands accused of rape by multiple women, according to an explosive new story by The New Yorker magazine.

One of the accusers, Asia Argento, confirmed her account to CNN.

She also commented on the mountain of allegations against Weinstein by various actresses, saying, "This is our truth."

Argento told reporter Ronan Farrow that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her, and she's been haunted by the encounter ever since.

"Just his body, his presence, his face, bring me back to the little girl that I was when I was twenty-one," she told Farrow. "When I see him, it makes me feel little and stupid and weak. After the rape, he won."

A spokeswoman for Weinstein denied the rape allegations in a statement provided to CNN.

"Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein," the statement read. "Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances."

Farrow wrote that "three women -- among them actress Asia Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans -- told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex." The New Yorker did not provide any details of the third rape allegation.

The story, 10 months in the making, also included new allegations of harassment and other improper behavior -- along with assertions that people at Weinstein's film company knew about his misconduct.

The story came two days after Weinstein was fired from his company in the wake of a New York Times story detailing numerous incidents of alleged sexual harassment over a period of three decades.

Later on Tuesday, The Times published a followup story with quotes from Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and other Hollywood actresses.

Both Paltrow and Jolie said Weinstein made unwanted advances in the 1990s.

Weinstein's spokeswoman had no comment.

The New Yorker story generated widespread shock and condemnation on Tuesday. It included an audio recording of a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015.

The sting was set up after a young model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, told authorities that she was groped by Weinstein.

Gutierrez and Weinstein met up at a hotel in Manhattan. On the tape, he was heard pleading with her to come up to his hotel room and she was heard resisting him.

At one point, Gutierrez asked him, "Why did you touch my breast?"

Weinstein responded by saying sorry and "I'm used to that." A moment later, he added, "I won't do it again."

The NYPD confirmed that it investigated a "misdemeanor sexual abuse complaint against Harvey Weinstein" in March 2015. The tape was handed over to the District Attorney in Manhattan. The D.A. office said Tuesday that the recording is "horrifying," but it was insufficient to prove a crime had occurred.

"If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have," the office said.

Representatives for Weinstein said they had no comment on the audio tape.

Farrow's article also advanced the widely-held theory that some of Weinstein's colleagues knew about misconduct.

"Sixteen former and current executives and assistants at Weinstein's companies told me that they witnessed or had knowledge of unwanted sexual advances and touching at events associated with Weinstein's films and in the workplace," Farrow wrote. "They and others describe a pattern of professional meetings that were little more than thin pretexts for sexual advances on young actresses and models."

He described, in chilling detail, a culture of fear that surrounded Weinstein.

"Many said that they had seen Weinstein's associates confront and intimidate those who crossed him, and feared that they would be similarly targeted," Farrow wrote. "Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein's advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them."

Sorvino said on Twitter on Tuesday, "Very proud of my sisters in spirit who had the courage to break the silence. Very hard for me -- more so for others. We took our power back!!"

In response to the new set of allegations, Weinstein's spokeswoman also said, "Mr. Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual."

The statement continued, "Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance."

Late Tuesday, The Weinstein Company's board issued a statement indicating its members were "shocked and dismayed by the recently emerged allegations of extreme sexual misconduct and sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein."

"We are committed to assisting with our full energies in all criminal or other investigations of these alleged acts, while pursuing justice for the victims and a full and independent investigation of our own," the board said in a statement.

In recent days, Weinstein has told friends that he is seeking help, but he has also blamed the situation on his brother Bob, the co-founder of The Weinstein Company, implying that his brother leaked information to damage him.

"Harvey is convinced that this was a takedown," a longtime friend of Weinstein's told CNN on Monday.


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