Democratic Senator: Any Party Member Who Took Money From Harvey Weinstein Should Give It Back

Posted: Oct 09, 2017 12:50 PM
Democratic Senator: Any Party Member Who Took Money From Harvey Weinstein Should Give It Back

By now, you’ve probably read about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace. Weinstein, one of the industry’s heavy hitters in the producing world, was fired by his own company over the weekend after a slew of sexual harassment claims were reported by The New York Times. The details are lurid. The incidents are horrible. He was reportedly paying off his accusers for years, instituted a code of silence while he was at his production company, and made employees sign agreements that barred them from criticizing the company or its leaders in a fashion that could hurt the business. Still, the allegations are now known. Ashley Judd was asked by Weinstein to give him either a massage or watch him shower:

Two decades ago, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what the young actress expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview.

“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” Ms. Judd said she remembers thinking.

In 2014, Mr. Weinstein invited Emily Nestor, who had worked just one day as a temporary employee, to the same hotel and made another offer: If she accepted his sexual advances, he would boost her career, according to accounts she provided to colleagues who sent them to Weinstein Company executives. The following year, once again at the Peninsula, a female assistant said Mr. Weinstein badgered her into giving him a massage while he was naked, leaving her “crying and very distraught,” wrote a colleague, Lauren O’Connor, in a searing memo asserting sexual harassment and other misconduct by their boss.

“There is a toxic environment for women at this company,” Ms. O’Connor said in the letter, addressed to several executives at the company run by Mr. Weinstein.

An investigation by The New York Times found previously undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein stretching over nearly three decades, documented through interviews with current and former employees and film industry workers, as well as legal records, emails and internal documents from the businesses he has run, Miramax and the Weinstein Company.


Dozens of Mr. Weinstein’s former and current employees, from assistants to top executives, said they knew of inappropriate conduct while they worked for him. Only a handful said they ever confronted him.

Mr. Weinstein enforced a code of silence; employees of the Weinstein Company have contracts saying they will not criticize it or its leaders in a way that could harm its “business reputation” or “any employee’s personal reputation,” a recent document shows. And most of the women accepting payouts agreed to confidentiality clauses prohibiting them from speaking about the deals or the events that led to them.

Lauren Sivan, who was then a reporter for local station Long Island 12, had a more graphic encounter, which allegedly involved the producer masturbating in front of her:

Harvey Weinstein once trapped a woman in the hallway of a restaurant that was closed to the public and masturbated in front of her until he ejaculated, she says. The accusation comes a day after Weinstein was the subject of a bombshell New York Times report that revealed that he has settled at least eight sexual harassment claims.

The incident took place a decade ago, according to Lauren Sivan, who at the time was a news anchor on a local cable channel in New York, Long Island 12. She says the experience left her shocked, and that while she told friends privately what happened, she remained quiet because she was in a long-term relationship and fearful of the power that Weinstein wielded in the media.

Yeah, it’s getting nasty. As a result, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said on Sunday that any Democrat who has taken money from Harvey Weinstein should give it back (via Free Beacon):

 CNN's Jake Tapper asked Murphy about the donations received by Democrats from Weinstein and how—although Murphy never received any donations from Weinstein— the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) have received money from Weinstein which they have not fully returned or donated.

"Do you think that all of that Weinstein money, we're talking here about more than $400,000, needs to be returned or donated to charity by all the arms of the Democratic Party?" Tapper asked.

"Yeah, I think that probably makes sense," Murphy said. "I mean, this is a pretty bad guy who did some really awful things and, you know, if people need for that money to be returned in order to make it clear that the entities that received them want nothing to do with him and his behavior, then, you know, it's probably a smart move."

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) will give his Weinstein money to charity:

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., will donate $2,700 he received from film producer Harvey Weinstein for his reelection campaign to charity, a spokesperson for the senator said, after it was reported that Weinstein had allegedly sexually harassed employees and actresses for decades.

Weinstein had not just donated to Leahy, but to various Democratic politicians and liberal organizations during the past campaign cycle, including the re-election campaign of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who is the Senate minority leader; Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Votes PAC; and the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

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