‘He put his hand on the back of my neck… He started to touch himself under his shirt behind me,’ said Erica Rosenbaum. ‘Although my heart was pounding and I thought I was in a dangerous place, I stayed because I thought leaving would be worse.’
‘The way in which he overpowered me, left me no way out,’ said Paz de la Huerta. ‘I didn’t go to the police because I was terrified he would destroy me.’
‘He just pushed and pushed and then he just… you know he’s huge, I weigh about 100 pounds. I just thought if I just shut up it will be over in a few minutes,’ said Hope d’Amore.
These are just a few disturbing details revealed by the victims of the disgraced Hollywood producer in a new BBC documentary airing Sunday night titled, Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein.
Told through exhaustive interviews with Weinstein’s victims, former colleagues and journalists, the documentary chronicles how the former movie mogul ruthlessly threatened women and abused his power as a ‘starmaker’ throughout his entire career that started when he was working as music promoter in Buffalo, New York.
A new documentary, Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein, set to air on BBC Two Sunday, starts when the former movie mogul was a music promoter in Buffalo, New York in the late 1970s. Hope d’Amore,was studying philosophy at the University of Buffalo when she met Weinstein in 1978. Weinstein told her that he and his Bob were about to start independent film studio called Miramax, which was named after their parents. Above, Bob Weinstein, left, and Harvey Weinstein in New York City in 1989
Hope d’Amore said that Weinstein invited her to New York City in 1978 and they stayed at a hotel near Central Park. There was a ‘mistake’ and they would have to share a room. For a new documentary, d’Amore recalled how he got into bed with her naked. ‘He tried to cajole at first. Do you really want to make me an enemy for five minutes of your time? He just pushed and pushed and pushed. He’s huge,’ she said, while shaking her head. ‘I don’t know how to explain it. I just thought if I just shut up, it will be over in a few minutes… But I said no and I pushed him away – more than once and then I just stopped. I was so frightened.’ Above, Bob Weinstein, left in glasses, and Harvey Weinstein, at their Miramax offices with staff in 1989
When Hope d’Amore went back to Buffalo, she said she didn’t tell anyone what happened because Weinstein, a music promoter, had influence and money. In a new documentary, Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein, photos of Weinstein show him with Frank Sinatra, Mick Jagger, the Grateful Dead and OJ Simpson. ‘It’s the collateral damage,’ she said during the documentary. ‘But it does to relationships to people you love and they don’t know why. It steals something.’ Above, Harvey Weinstein in Miramax’s office in 1989
Harvey Weinstein co-founded independent studio, Miramax, with his brother Bob. Three movies helped to make Miramax a Hollywood powerhouse in the late 1980s and early 90s: Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Cinema Paradiso, and My Left Foot. One assistant to Bob Weinstein said those films changed everything. ‘We were the sh** then, excuse my French,’ she said during a new documentary set to air on BBC Two on Sunday. Above, Harvey Weinstein at party for the film Siren in 1994
Music was small beans for the Weinstein brothers who both shared a passion for cinema since their childhood growing up in a rent-stabilized apartment in Queens, New York. In 1979, they founded an independent film company named Miramax, named after their parents, Miriam and Max.
Hope d’Amore was invited by Weinstein to join on a Miramax business trip to New York City, under the expressed assumption they would stay in separate rooms. Once they arrived at their hotel for check-in, Weinstein pretended there was a mistake in the reservation process that left them with only one room between the two to share.
‘The worst I thought he would do would be to claim that he slept with me when he hadn’t,’ said d’Amore.
But when they got to the room, she said Weinstein forced himself on her. When she recoiled he told her: ‘Do you really want to make me an enemy for five minutes of your time?’ D’Amore eventually gave up. ‘He just pushed and pushed… I just thought if I just shut up, it will be over in a few minutes.’
Struggling to hold back tears, d’Amore turns away from the camera and explained: ‘It’s the collateral damage that it does to relationships with friends and people you love and they don’t know why.’
Hope d’Amore wouldn’t be the last of Weinstein’s victim’s and her harrowing experience would end up being eerily similar to dozens of women in the years to come.
Jack Lechner was hired as head of development for Miramax in the eighties. He told the filmmakers, ‘I remember meeting him and thinking this person can’t exist, he’s just such a caricature of a Hollywood mogul. I remember as a kid reading about moguls like Harry Cohn and Louis B Mayer and I thought it would be so amazing to work for one of those people.’
Like many other associates that worked with Weinstein at Miramax, Lechner has struggled to come to terms with a man he knew for many years: ‘I feel so conflicted about my experience with Harvey, my life is better for having worked with Harvey Weinstein, those of us who worked on the Harvey-train got a lot out of it. We were taken to all kinds of amazing places and got to do amazing things.’
Very quickly, Miramax turned into a movie-making juggernaut. The Weinsteins had a knack for picking movies that turned into blockbuster sensations and they were the center of New York City’s nightlife social scene. Harvey Weinstein became known for his temper and vitriolic outburst among his employees.
‘He was an overlord who lived by the most vicious methods possible to instill fear,’ said Mark Gill, who was president of Miramax. But he conceded: ‘The anger and the impulsiveness and the abuse of power are inseparable from the genius – that’s the tragedy.’
Very quickly, Miramax turned into a movie-making juggernaut. The Weinsteins had a knack for picking movies that turned into blockbuster sensations and Harvey Weinstein was the center of New York City’s nightlife social scene. Harvey Weinstein was one of the first who ‘campaigned’ for Oscars, and his movies won award after award. Above, Gwyneth Paltrow and Harvey Weinstein at the 1998 Oscars. Paltrow won for her role as Viola de Lesseps in Shakespeare in Love, which Weinstein produced. Paltrow later accused Weinstein of sexual harassment
At Miramax, Harvey Weinstein became known for his temper and vitriolic outburst among his employees. ‘He was an overlord who lived by the most vicious methods possible to instill fear,’ said Mark Gill, who was president of Miramax, in a new documentary, Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein. But he conceded: ‘The anger and the impulsiveness and the abuse of power are inseparable from the genius – that’s the tragedy.’ Above, Harvey Weinstein with Mick Jagger in 1996. The documentary show a photo of the pair when Weinstein was a music promoter in Buffalo
Harvey Weinstein donated to causes and candidates. Weinstein raised money for Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign. After The New York Times reported the allegations of sexual assault, Clinton told the BBC she was ‘shocked and appalled,’ Variety reported. Above, Clinton and Weinstein at the premiere of Finding Neverland, which was released in 2004, in Brooklyn
‘Everyone knew Harvey was cheating on his wife,’ said Weinstein’s former assistant, everyone ‘just assumed’ that young and ambitious actresses were choosing to sleep with Weinstein for ‘star making’ power.
‘If you’re Harvey and you’re a fat kid from Queens suddenly with power, I don’t have to imagine looking up at Lana Turner and Ava Gardner, maybe I could just have sex with them,’ said Ken Auletta, who wrote a 2002 profile on Weinstein for The New Yorker. ‘He was interested in power and abuse of power.’
Erica Rosenbaum was a wide-eyed actress looking to find her footing in Tinsel Town when she sat next to Weinstein at a Hollywood dinner party. ‘I really believed that I was seeing this genius who could just spot the next Gwyneth Paltrow,’ she recalled during the documentary.
Later that evening, Weinstein invited Rosenbaum back to his hotel room to continue the conversation. ‘I knew there was a risk but I also knew that you take risks when you’re young and hopeful and trying to make it in a seemingly impossible industry – you say yes,’ explained Rosenbaum. Like all his other victims, it started with a massage. Rosenbaum complied but refused to go further. ‘I thought he was going to help me, I wanted desperately to believe that.’
Journalist Andrew Goldman told a harrowing story of the time Weinstein threw him into a headlock at an exclusive party in New York City. Goldman was covering the event for the New York Observer with his, then girlfriend, Rebecca Traister, also a journalist. Things came to blows between Weinstein and Traister after she asked him a question about his adaptation of Othello that he didn’t like.
‘All of a sudden I hear him yelling at the top of his lungs, ‘who let this f****** c*** into this party?!’
In the documentary, Goldman plays a recording of the conversation he had with Weinstein that evening while trying to extract an apology on behalf of his girlfriend.
Weinstein replied: ‘I’m glad I’m the f*****g sheriff of this sh** a** f*****g town.’
Thousands of paparazzi flashes snapped the tense moment, and Goldman was certain it would be front-page news the next morning, but Traister said, ‘I’ve never seen a photograph from that night.’
Years after the traumatic incident, Traister reflected on Weinstein and his circle of powerful feminists friends. As a huge donor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign, he was photographed in pictures with Clinton and her associates. ‘I was looking at him with all these powerful feminist women and thought “you’re putting your money toward protecting yourself, positioning yourself as a feminist, positioning yourself as an ally to powerful women, this is all part of what your deal is and how you managed to suppress all this.”‘
In May 2018, Weinstein turned himself in at the NYPD’s First Precinct in Tribeca. Cameras were there as Weinstein walked into the station holding books. After being arrested for charges that included rape, he was released on a $1 million bail. Weinstein has plead not guilty to counts of rape and criminal sex act, which are two separate incidences that involve two different women. Above, Weinstein leaves New York Supreme Court on July 11 with his new legal team. The trial is slated to begin on September 9