From Seth Meyer’s joke to Entourage: How Hollywood hinted at Harvey Weinstein scandal
Hollywood’s has not just woken up to the sexual harassment allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. The knowledge of it flowed in an undercurrent through the industry, seeping out often.Updated: Oct 15, 2017 13:55 IST
The sexual abuse accusations now deluging Harvey Weinstein have bubbled up before as inside jokes and sly asides, tributes to the movie producer’s capacity to inspire both fear and loathing in Hollywood.
US media have resurrected scenes from films and TV series, or interviews in which Weinstein’s name and unsavory reputation are on clear display.
Through his representatives, Weinstein has asserted that all the sexual encounters revealed over the past week were consensual.
At the Oscars in 2013, comedian and writer Seth McFarlane joked after announcing the nominees for best supporting actress: “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
He explained Wednesday on his Twitter account that in 2011 the actress Jessica Barth, with whom he had acted in the Ted films, confided in him about Weinstein’s “attempted advances.”
“It was with this account in mind that, when I hosted the Oscars in 2013, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a hard swing in his direction.
“Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing and anger,” he wrote, even though he was smiling when he made the comment, which drew laughs from the Oscars audience.
In the New Yorker magazine, which on Wednesday published a long investigative piece about Weinstein, Barth said the movie mogul had asked her to give him a naked massage in bed.
- ‘Three occasions... out of five’ -
In 2012, in an episode of the television series “30 Rock,” the character played by actress Jenna Krakowski says, “Oh, please, I’m not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions out of five.”
The following season, her character says: “I know how former lovers can have a hold over you long after they’re gone. In some ways, I’m still pinned under a passed-out Harvey Weinstein, and it’s Thanksgiving.”
Tina Fey, the series’ creator, has yet to comment on the scandal.
In 2007, the actor Maury Chaykin played the role of Harvey Weingard, a producer who is full of himself, angry and given to threats, in the HBO series Entourage, which tells the story of two young actors in Hollywood. The scriptwriters did not include any sexual indiscretions.
According to the British daily The Telegraph, Weinstein sent a message to the producers through one of the actors: “Tell them if they ever mention my name again, they’re dead.”
Instead, the show used the phrase in the next episode and Weinstein is said to have called the showrunners directly to say he was happy with it.
Italian actress and director Asia Argento told the New Yorker she was raped by Weinstein in 1997 in a hotel room on the Cote d’Azur, which she described as a “horrible trauma.”
She said she had other sexual relations with the producer until 2002. Those were consensual but she said she nonetheless felt obligated to submit to his advances.
- Coercion -
She revisited the rape in a scene of her 2000 film Scarlet Diva. In it a producer asks a young actress played by Argento for a massage and them throws himself upon her. “People would ask me about him because of the scene in the movie,” she told the New Yorker.
In 1998, Late Show host David Letterman asked actress Gwyneth Paltrow if she had been coerced to come on the show.
“Do you count Harvey Weinstein as a coercer,” Paltrow replied, smiling.
“I do all my movies for Harvey Weinstein, that’s Miramax, and I’m lucky to do them there but he will coerce you to do a thing or two.”
Four years earlier, in a Los Angeles hotel suite, Weinstein asked Paltrow for a massage and tried to draw her into his bedroom, she told The New York Times.
The actress, who was 22 at the time, refused. She told her then boyfriend Brad Pitt, who later confronted Weinstein and warned him never to touch her again.
The movie mogul was infuriated but Paltrow made up with him, and went on to win the Oscar for best actress in 1999 for her role in the Weinstein-produced Shakespeare in Love.
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First Published: Oct 15, 2017 09:54 IST