By Maureen Lee Lenker
November 20, 2017 at 04:22 PM EST
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Many have wondered how Harvey Weinstein managed to maintain power for so long when there were rumors of his alleged sexual misconduct circling for years. A new report from EW sister publication Fortune alleges that Weinstein was protected by billionaire board members at The Weinstein Company.

Stories from that report suggest that Weinstein dismissed 2015 claims from 22-year-old Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez by calling her a “shakedown artist.” Gutierrez filed a complaint against Weinstein with the NYPD in 2015, which she says led the press to label her a “blackmailer.”

Weinstein apparently pushed the same story to his own board when they believed he was going to be arrested because of her police report. According to Weinstein board members Tarak Ben Ammar and Lance Maerov, Weinstein dismissed the charges as an incident “setup by a shakedown artist,” which he said was proven by the fact he wasn’t arrested. Weinstein paid Gutierrez a settlement, but he reportedly told the board she had signed an affidavit swearing the alleged groping in the police report had not occurred.

Gutierrez is just one of numerous women who has gone public with allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein over the last few months, following New York Times and New Yorker exposes on the disgraced movie moguls long history of alleged sexual abuse. Weinstein has long denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.

Read the full story on Fortune here.