Harvey Weinstein has given his first interview since being arrested and indicted on multiple rape charges by a grand jury. In a story written by Weinstein sympathist Taki Theodoracopulos, a former socialite and current writer for Spectator UK, the now-disgraced movie mogul was quoted making the startling admission that he offered women jobs in exchange for sex.
“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,” Weinstein allegedly told Theodoracopulos. “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.”
After the publication of the interview, however, Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman released a statement to EW in which Brafman confirmed he was “present for the conversation,” though “it was not an interview, but a social meeting between old friends.” He also stated, “Mr. Weinstein never said anything about trading movie roles for sexual favors. You have my word that Harvey did not say that.”
Brafman also released a statement to EW on behalf of Theodoracopulos, saying he had asked Brafman to send it for him. “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. It 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. It was, after all, a social visit.”
The story still appears on the Spectator‘s website, with the disputed quotation intact. Theadoracopulos could not be reached for further comment.
Weinstein is currently facing the possibility of a life sentence. The former head of the Weinstein Company plead not guilty to multiple counts of rape against two women in 2013 and 2004, respectively. But on July 2, he was charged with sexual assault against a third woman — a charge that could carry a maximum sentence, according to Manhattan District Cyrus Vance.
Numerous other women have come forward with allegations since The New York Times published the initial exposé in October 2017. Through a spokesperson, Weinstein has denied any allegation of non-consensual sex.
In his article for the Spectator, Theodoracopulos writes that Weinstein called him up in New York to say, “I’ve got a world exclusive for you. Are you interested?” He describes meeting Weinstein at his office near Grand Central station in the presence of Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman.
Theodoracopulos writes that Weinstein made a series of comments apparently intended to cast doubt on Argento’s and McGowan’s statements. “Argento was canoodling with a Frenchman half her age and was photographed doing it before Argento’s boyfriend Anthony Bourdain committed suicide,” Theodoracopulos wrote. “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.”
He’s referring to an open letter McGowan wrote in defense of Argento, who had faced blame after Bourdain’s death. She wrote, “Anthony and Asia had a free relationship, they loved without borders of traditional relationships, and they established the parameters of their relationship early on.”
Theodoracopulos also remarks how he has “doubts about women who come out of the woodworks years later, or return for more after allegedly being raped by Weinstein.”
McGowan responded to the article over Twitter. “Rapists are liars,” she wrote. “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.”
Argento also had a response. “I understand now who is behind the horrifying trolling and bullying directed against me and @rosemcgowan,” she tweeted with a link to Theodoracopulos’ article. “Weinstein, you f–ing monster rapist, still trying to damage and hurt us. Not for long. You’ll go to jail.”