Ben Brafman, the humiliated Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer, has claimed that his client was misquoted in an interview with the Spectator.
In the conversation with journalist Taki Theodoracopulos, who is also his friend, Weinstein defended his sexual behaviour and claimed that he never physically forced women to sleep with him. It is the first interview he is granting since 75 women accused him of sexual abuse.
He was quoted as saying: “I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get somewhere. 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.”
But Brafman argued that Weinstein’s words were taken out of context.
“I was present for the conversation; it was not an interview, but a social meeting between old friends,” Brafman said. “Harvey and Taki did not discuss the case, nor would I allow him to. We talked about old Hollywood and the contrast to European culture, and I think Taki sees Harvey in that older light. Mr Weinstein never said anything about trading movie roles for sexual favors. You have my word that Harvey did not say that.”
Meanwhile, actress Rose McGowan, who accused Weinstein of raping her in 1997 called Weinstein a liar after reading the Spectator interview.
She tweeted: “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.”
Weinstein may be sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of sexual assault. He was granted a $1m bail in June after pleading not guilty to the charges against him. He remains fitted with an electronic monitoring device after being accused of two initial charges of predatory sexual assault in New York. The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr, said Weinstein was charged with “some of the most serious sexual offenses” that exist under state law. Weinstein is also being investigated by federal prosecutors, the Los Angeles police department and police in the UK for a variety of alleged offenses.