Arts

‘It’s gross’: Harvey Weinstein’s adviser criticizes his behavior toward women

A lawyer advising Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer accused of sexually harassing several women over decades, said Friday that he had acted inappropriately and agreed with an interviewer who characterized Weinstein’s reported actions as illegal.

The acknowledgment by the lawyer, Lisa Bloom, came during an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’s “Good Morning America” in which he asked her about a New York Times investigation, released Thursday, into Weinstein’s behavior.

“This is a real pattern over 30 years. This is like textbook sexual harassment,” Stephanopoulos said.

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“It’s gross, yeah,” Bloom replied.

“It’s illegal,” Stephanopoulos said.

“Yes. You know, I agree,” Bloom said. “See, you have to understand that, yes, I’m here as his adviser. I’m not defending him in any sexual harassment cases — there aren’t any sexual harassment cases. I’m working with a guy who has behaved badly over the years, who is genuinely remorseful, who says, you know, ‘I have caused a lot of pain.’”

AP/File
Attorney Lisa Bloom.

Reached by The Times for additional comment Friday, Bloom said: “The New York Times allegations, if true, would constitute sexual harassment. However, Mr. Weinstein denies many of them and was not given a fair opportunity to present evidence and witnesses on his side.”

Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women after being accused of sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact over several decades, The Times reported Thursday.

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In a statement, Weinstein apologized for his past behavior, acknowledging that it had “caused a lot of pain” and vowing to “do better” moving forward.

He later said in an interview with The Wrap that he intended to sue The Times for failing to give him enough time to respond to the allegations in the report.

Danielle Rhoades Ha, a Times spokeswoman, said in a statement that Weinstein had two days to respond to the allegations before the story was published.

“We included all relevant comments from Mr. Weinstein in our story and published his entire response,” she said. “Mr. Weinstein and his lawyer have confirmed the essential points of the story. They have not pointed to any errors or challenged any facts in our story.”

In the interview Friday, Bloom said that she took issue with characterizations of Weinstein’s actions as harassment.

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“You’re using the term sexual harassment, which is a legal term,” she told Stephanopoulos. “So, I’m using the term workplace misconduct. I don’t know if there’s a real significant difference to most people, but sexual harassment is severe and pervasive.”

Bloom, who represented women who brought sexual harassment claims against former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, said she saw advising Weinstein as an opportunity, adding that she felt uniquely positioned to work with him.

“What Harvey Weinstein has done is wrong. He has caused pain,” Bloom said, adding: “Here was an opportunity of a guy saying, ‘Lisa, what should I do? I have behaved badly.’ I’m like, good, I’ll tell you what to do. Be honest, be real.”

Earlier this year, the rapper Jay-Z and the Weinstein Co. said they planned to work together on a series of television and film projects about the life of Trayvon Martin, based on a pair of books about the teenager, one of which was written by Bloom.

Gloria Allred, Bloom’s mother and a lawyer famous for defending women’s rights, said Thursday in a statement to The Wrap that she disagreed with her daughter’s decision to work for Weinstein.

“Had I been asked by Mr. Weinstein to represent him, I would have declined, because I do not represent individuals accused of sex harassment,” she said. “I only represent those who allege that they are victims of sexual harassment.”

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