Disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein’s Feb. 24 rape and criminal sexual assault conviction left many wondering exactly how many celebrities and big name people knew about his behavior prior to the public accusations.
The first wave of accusations hit the media in October of 2017 after the New York Times published an article titled “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers For Decades” which detailed decades of sexual abuse by Weinstein against aspiring actresses. Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd were among the women included in the article.
Celebrities across the board feigned surprise at the accusations with many denying they never knew anything about it. Yet recent reporting given by investigative reporter Ronan Farrow in his book “Catch And Kill” claimed there were many who knew about the accusations and decided to turn the other way.
Actress Rose McGowan said she ran into famed actor Ben Affleck after the meeting with Weinstein where he allegedly raped her.
“God damn it, I told him to stop doing this,” Affleck reportedly told McGowan at the time.
Weinstein helped Affleck rise to fame with the 1997 film “Good Will Hunting,” and McGowan and the actor were working together on “Phantoms” when the encounter allegedly occurred.
After the accusations were first made public in the 2017 Times article, Affleck claimed he wished he knew what to do “to make sure this doesn’t happen to others.” McGowan slammed Affleck’s statement in a tweet shortly after.
@benaffleck “GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT” you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie.
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 10, 2017
“‘GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT’ you said that to my face,” McGowan tweeted. “The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is among the many who were informed of the way Weinstein behaved with women. Farrow reported that actress Lena Dunham informed Clinton of the accusations against Weisntein while she was running for president in 2016. (RELATED: ‘These Girls Had Been My Daughter, I’d Want To Beat The Sh*t Out Of You’: First Weinstein Defense Witness Fails)
“I just want to let you know that Harvey’s a rapist, and this is going to come out at some point,” Dunham confirmed to the Times that she told Kristina Schake, the campaign’s deputy communications director after becoming involved in the campaign. “I think it’s a really bad idea for him to host fund-raisers and be involved because it’s an open secret in Hollywood that he has a problem with sexual assault.”
This open secret was known to others because women had disclosed the encounters to others in the industry. Some of those celebrities have come forward and admitted they knew something.
Actress Sophie Dix disclosed to actor Colin Firth in the ’90s after Weinstein invited her to a hotel room, pushed her onto the bed and tried to take her clothes off. Dix claimed she fled to the bathroom where she later opened the door to see Weinstein masturbating on the other side.
“She told me she had had a distressing encounter with Harvey Weinstein,” Firth confirmed to the Guardian in October 2017. “I don’t think she went into all the horrific detail I’ve read in her interview. But I remember her being profoundly upset by it. To my shame, I merely expressed sympathy.”
“I didn’t act on what she told me,” he added. “It was a long time ago and I don’t know if she remembers telling me, but the fact that I had that conversation has come back to haunt me in the light of these revelations. It’s the only direct account of this kind of behaviour by Harvey Weinstein that’s ever been told to me.”
Director Quentin Tarantino expressed regret for not doing more than he should have after the allegations of sexual abuse were brought to light. Actress Mira Sorvino admitted to Farrow that Weinstein attempted to kiss her after massaging her shoulders at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival. Sorvino wondered if her then-relationship with Tarantino protected her from Weinstein’s advances.
Tarantino has publicly admitted he should have done more about his knowledge of Weinstein. He claimed he knew about the behavior before the articles were published in 2017. Sorvino had disclosed her encounters with Weinstein to him while they were dating.
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” Tarantino told the Times. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”
“I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard,” he added. “If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”
Meanwhile, other celebrities maintained they knew nothing about Weinstein’s pattern of sexual abuse including George Clooney and Meryl Streep.
Clooney claimed he knew Weinstein loved to hit on young, beautiful women, but that was the extent of his knowledge.
“A lot of people are doing the ‘you had to know’ thing right now, and yes, if you’re asking if I knew that someone who was very powerful had a tendency to hit on young, beautiful women, sure,” he admitted to the Daily Beast in 2017. “But I had no idea that it had gone to the level of having to pay off eight women for their silence, and that these women were threatened and victimized. I’ve been talking with a lot of people about this, and I don’t know many people who knew of that.”
Streep, who starred in multiple Weinstein-produced films, condemned his behavior after the reports surfaced, but came across as if she wasn’t aware of the alleged sexual abuse.
“The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported,” Streep began in a statement published by The Huffington Post. “The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes.”
“One thing can be clarified,” she continued. “Not everybody knew. Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally. I didn’t know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues.”
She received backlash for her statement. A street artist in Los Angeles hung posters of Streep and Weinstein with the words “She Knew” across the actress’ eyes. McGowan also slammed the actress for continuing to work with Weinstein despite rumors and his reputation.
“Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @goldenglobes in a silent protest,” McGowan wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted. “YOUR SILENCE is THE problem. You’ll accept a fake award breathlessly & affect no real chance. I despise your hypocrisy. Maybe you should all wear Marchesa.”
Weinstein was eventually arrested in May of 2018, roughly seven months after the allegations were first made public. He was charged with rape. Weinstein’s trial would begin in January of 2020 and end with two of five felony convictions, including rape in the third degree and committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree.
Weinstein also faces an upcoming trial in Los Angeles on separate charges.