Weinstein’s Behavior: What Did Hollywood Know and When Did It Know It?

Actress Rose McGowan is calling out those who claim ignorance — as more people keep coming forward with their experiences

Harvey Weinstein’s days of ruling Hollywood are over. After multiple explosive reports were released by The New York Times and The New Yorker alleging his decades of abuse against women and cover-ups through payoffs, the producer has been let go from The Weinstein Company (which he co-founded), informed of a divorce from his wife, lost his honorary degree from the University at Buffalo — and he’s now fleeing the country, supposedly to seek rehab.

The real question now is how deep does the knowledge of Weinstein’s history of abuse against women go? Many people who had worked with Weinstein have released public statements saying they were unaware of his behavior and now condemn it. Yet many who have had long-standing relationships with the producer remain silent, such as writer/director Quentin Tarantino, who has had every one of his films produced by Weinstein.

One former Weinstein colleague to publicly condemn him has also already been accused of being a “liar” by one of Weinstein’s many victims.

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Ben Affleck, who starred in numerous films for Weinstein early in his career, such as “Good Will Hunting” and “Phantoms,” put out a statement that he was “saddened” and “angry” about the actions of his former boss. He added, “I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others.”

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Hours after the release of his public statement, actress Rose McGowan (pictured above left), who was one of multiple women to receive payouts after run-ins with Weinstein, took to Twitter to say Affleck was at least partially aware of the producer’s behavior, as she had confided in him when they were promoting the 1998 Miramax film “Phantoms.”

“‘God****it! I told him to stop doing that!’ You said that to my face. The press [conference] I was made to go to after assault. You lie,” she tweeted to Affleck. She later, in another tweet, told him to “f*** off.”

McGowan has also suggested there are multiple others who were aware of Weinstein’s actions and did nothing over the years.

Michael Eisner, the former CEO of Disney (which bought Weinstein’s Miramax in 1993), released a tweet saying he had “no idea [Weinstein] was capable of these actions.” McGowan responded to that by saying, “I needed a laugh. Thank you.”

McGowan also revealed later that Harvey Weinstein’s brother, Bob, was trying to meet with her in light of public revelations about his brother. Bob co-founded and ran Miramax and The Weinstein Company with his brother. McGowan refused the meeting and suggested Bob had been aware of his brother’s despicable actions.

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While it’s entirely possible that many filmmakers who have worked under Weinstein over the years were unaware of their boss’s actions, it’s much harder to believe that higher-ups at the companies he worked at had zero knowledge about his actions. If Weinstein was giving payouts to women and many were coming forward and formally complaining — how could his brother and his own bosses not know? How could people at his own company and Disney be unaware of what was happening?

McGowan has called for the firing of all members of the board of directors of The Weinstein Company.

Sadly, Harvey Weinstein may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sexual harassment and assault problems in Hollywood.

After the release of Affleck’s statement about Weinstein, one Twitter user responded with, “[Affleck] also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breast on ‘TRL’ once. Everyone forgot though.”

Burton, the former host of “Total Request Live” and an actress from “One Tree Hill,” herself responded with, “I didn’t forget.” Burton was 21 years old at the time and a video can indeed be found of the incident. Though Affleck’s grab cannot be specifically seen, it’s clear he does something that makes Burton very uncomfortable.

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Hours after the allegations, Affleck took to Twitter to apologize to Burton. “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize,” wrote the actor.

Even men have come forward to say they have been harassed and assaulted in Hollywood. Actor Terry Crews took to Twitter this week to say he was groped at a party by a high-level studio executive, and he was fearful to speak out or retaliate.

“It’s rampant in the industry,” comedian and actor Rob Schneider told TMZ this week about sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood. “There’s not one actress who doesn’t have a story.” Schneider went on to tell the tale of an unnamed famous director harassing him — and trying to coerce him into sexual acts.

(photo credit, homepage image: Harvey Weinstein, desaturated, CC BY 2.0, by David Shankbone)