Harvey Weinstein has broken his silence for the first time since he was accused of sexual assault and misconduct by dozens of actresses.
“Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone,” Weinstein said to columnist Panagiotis “Taki” Theodoracopulos in an interview for The Spectator. “But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman.”
“I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get somewhere,” Weinstein told Taki. “You got lotsa girls, no girl looked at me until I made it big in Hollywood. “
Weinstein finally spoke out after months of silence in part to provide Taki with a “world exclusive,” which essentially amounted to an internet-worn theory that Anthony Bourdain killed himself after his girlfriend Asia Argento cheated on him; Argento is one of Weinstein’s alleged victims.
“Her friend [Rose] McGowan claimed that Asia and Anthony had an open relationship,” Taki wrote of McGowan’s open letter in defense of Argento. “It was obviously not true, says Harvey, but dead men tell no tales, so the girls made it up.”
Taki then wrote that he questioned “women who come out of the woodworks years later, or return for more after allegedly being raped by Weinstein, à la Argento, who went out with the movie mogul for close to ten years.”
McGowan tweeted in response to Taki’s point, “Being that I was in the middle of my second film for his company, having NEVER met him before the morning of my rape, and never worked for him again, this is a clear lie. Nice try, rapist.”
Soon after the interview was published, both Weinstein’s lawyer Ben Brafman and Taki stated that the disgraced producer was misquoted during the “social visit.”
“After 41 years as a Spectator columnist without a single retraction, I believe that I may have misrepresented Harvey Weinstein’s conversation with me in New York last month,” Taki said in a statement. “I[t] was my mistake. We were discussing Hollywood and I may have misunderstood certain things about the methods of that place. I had nothing to do with the headline of my article and I hope I have not damaged his case. [I]t was, after all, a social visit.”
Brafman added in a statement to Variety, “I was present for the conversation; it was not an interview, but a social meeting between old friends. Harvey and Taki did not discuss the case, nor would I allow him to. We talked about old Hollywood and the contrast to European culture, and I think Taki sees Harvey in that older light. Mr. Weinstein never said anything about trading movie roles for sexual favors. You have my word that Harvey did not say that.”