Harvey Weinstein: ‘I offered acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so does everyone – they still do’

He used to ring me via his assistants and make me wait on hold. It was normal; he was, after all, the biggest Hollywood tycoon of them all. This time he called me directly, there was no ‘Harvey Weinstein wishes to speak to you, please wait on the line’ stuff. The old growly voice was the same and he went straight to the point: “I’ve got a world exclusive for you, are you interested?” We agreed that I go to him, as I live in a very stuffy building on the Upper East Side of New York and Harvey’s reputation has taken a beating of late.

The last time we met I had gone to his downtown office where many of the alleged sexual assaults had taken place. Michael Mailer, son of Norman and a movie producer himself, had an appointment with Harvey to discuss the making of a film of my prison book Nothing to Declare. Harvey had a beautiful assistant keep us company for at least half an hour while we waited for the great man. After hearing us out, he proposed a documentary on my love life instead. Naming names and gory details. That was a no-no on my part, but we parted as friends. “You’re nuts not to do it, it’s a great story, just think of all the babes and stars you’ve had, you’ll be a star in no time…” or words to that effect.

This time there was no wait. His office is a small one just above Cipriani’s across Grand Central station. A pretty German secretary came down and took me straight to him. He looked the same, a bit paler than usual. Ben Brafman, his lawyer, joined us and Harvey gave me the exclusive. It was his take on Rose McGowan’s account of the ‘open borders’ nature of the relationship between Asia Argento, another woman who claims to be a Harvey victim, and Anthony Bourdain. Argento was canoodling with a Frenchman half her age and was photographed doing it before Argento’s boyfriend Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. Her friend McGowan claimed that Asia and Anthony had an open relationship. It was obviously not true, says Harvey, but dead men tell no tales, so the girls made it up. Harvey made a sketch of the twisted story for me and I couldn’t help feel sorry for him. He was, to use a terrible cliché, clutching for straws.

We then chatted about his life and how he had lost not only his business and reputation, but also his family, his homes, and was now facing prison. Actually he is facing life in prison because at 66 years of age and not in good health, even five years in an American jail is a death sentence. Here’s what he had to say to me: “You were born rich and privileged and you were handsome. I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get somewhere. You got lotsa girls, no girl looked at me until I made it big in Hollywood. Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone. But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman.” Call me naïve or stupid, but in a funny way I believe him. I’ve seen Harvey in action during my annual Christmas party, the one I throw every year in New York with Michael Mailer. He hits on every young woman but in a naïve way. “Will you give me your address and I’ll make you a star,” is the theme of the pickup. Some say yes, some say no. His reaction was always the same. Smile and laugh and hit on the next one.

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Although some will say I’m prejudiced, I have doubts about 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 (Argento has said the relationship continued for five years). The mood in America, however, makes a fair trial almost an impossibility. The #MeToo movement will bury any judge or jury that doesn’t throw the book at him. What I don’t get is, haven’t they had enough? He’s lost everything and is called a monster even by my concierge at a London hotel who overheard me discuss this story with my editor. Hollywood has always treated women like dirt. In my book the one that got caught should not pay for the rest of the bums that make these horrible films of today. At least Harvey made good ones. Very good ones at that.


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