Oscars Academy to hold talks on Weinstein allegations
The organisers of the Oscars are to meet to discuss their response to the mounting allegations of sexual harassment against the disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences added its voice to the growing chorus of disgust against the alleged behaviour of a man it awarded a best picture Oscar to in 1999 for producing Shakespeare in Love.
It said it would hold a special meeting on Saturday to discuss allegations against Weinstein amid speculation it could follow Bafta’s lead in suspending his membership.
“The Academy finds the conduct described in the allegations against Harvey Weinstein to be repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the Academy and the creative community it represents,” it said in a statement.
On Thursday, French actor Florence Darel became the latest star to accuse the producer of sexual harassment.
Darel, 49, who first came to notice in Éric Rohmer’s A Tale of Springtime in 1990, told French media that Weinstein had promised to help make her big in America if she became his “part-time” mistress.
She said she first had to reject his advances after Weinstein’s company Miramax bought the 1993 fashion industry comedy À La Mode in which she appeared.
“We had a little premiere in New York and he wouldn’t stop calling me so that I would come to the party afterwards. Because I could see what he was up to, I pretended that I was with the lead actor in the film so he would leave me alone,” she told Le Parisien newspaper.
The following year, pushed by her agent, she agreed to meet Weinstein in a Paris hotel.
“He talked to me about a film he wanted to make about World War II and then he began to tell me that he found me very attractive and wanted to have an affair with me,” Darel added.
“I told him I was very much in love with my partner, but he said that that didn’t worry him and he wanted me to be his mistress for a few days a year. That way we could work together. Basically, he said that if I wanted to make it in America, it would be through him,” the actor said.
“I told him I had to go and left,” she added.
Darel joins a string of other high-profile actors, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Léa Seydoux and Cara Delevingne, who have accused the producer of sexual harassment or assault. Three women have accused Weinstein of rape.
Weinstein denies allegations of non-consensual sex. In a statement issued on Wednesday in response to his wife’s decision to leave him following the allegations, Weinstein said: “I support her decision, I am in counselling and perhaps, when I am better, we can rebuild. Over the last week, there has been a lot of pain for my family that I take responsibility for.”
In video footage published on Wednesday, Weinstein told reporters: “Guys, I’m not doing OK but I’m trying. I gotta get help... You know, we all make mistakes….second chance I hope.”
The film industry is facing questions about why it did not act earlier to censure Weinstein. His reputation for sexual harassment was such an open secret in Hollywood that it was the source of sitcom jokes and a knowing reference at an Academy Awards nomination ceremony.
Announcing the nominees for best supporting actress in 2013, the comedian Seth MacFarlane said: “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
MacFarlane confirmed the joke was prompted by allegations made by Jessica Barth, one of more than a dozen women who have recounted sexual harassment by Weinstein.
The Palme d’Or-winning actor Seydoux also joined the ranks of Weinstein’s accusers this week, saying she had to defend herself after he allegedly jumped on her and tried to kiss her.
Writing in the Guardian, the star of Blue is the Warmest Coloursaid Weinstein stared at her “as if I was a piece of meat”.
She added: “We were talking on the sofa when he suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me. I had to defend myself. He’s big and fat, so I had to be forceful to resist him.”
British supermodel Delevingne also claimed Weinstein made unwelcome advances towards her in a hotel room.
In a statement posted on Instagram she said she was left feeling “very powerless and scared” when he invited her to his hotel room and tried to make her kiss a woman.
On Wednesday night, police in Los Angeles were called to a “family dispute” at the home of Weinstein’s daughter, a day after his British wife, Georgina Chapman, said she was leaving him over the allegations.
The Los Angeles police department said Weinstein was not there when officers arrived and no crime had been committed.