As we are all probably aware, a New York Times report from last week has seemingly exposed the much-celebrated and previously untouchable movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, as a man who has abused his position in Hollywood to assault more than 20 women for over two decades.
Actress Ashley Judd, one of eight women originally featured in the article, revealed that she was a victim of sexual harassment at the hands of the renowned film producer. In response to the many allegations made against Weinstein, he was fired from his own film studio, The Weinstein Company, his wife has left him and he has flown to Europe and checked himself in to a rehab for sex addicts. However, more damaging accusations have been fired towards the once-praised movie producer, as yesterday, both Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie revealed that Weinstein had made inappropriate sexual advances towards them in their hotel rooms. However, as it turns out, it’s not only the actresses of La La Land that have a stake in this alarming news. In 1996, actor Brad Pitt was dating Gwyneth Paltrow. During their romance, Paltrow allegedly had a deeply disturbing encounter with Weinstein which, according to reports, made it impossible for Pitt to keep quiet about the incident. So what exactly happened? Well, early in her career, a 22-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow was hired by Weinstein to star in the 1996 movie Emma. Weinstein then allegedly made inappropriate advances towards her in his hotel suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” Paltrow explained to the New York Times. As petrified as she was, she knew she could confide in her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt, but he didn’t let the incident slide. Before Emma had even premiered, Pitt confronted the multi-award winning megastar at a Hollywood party according to a source for People. “Brad threatened Harvey,” the source explained. “He got right in his face, poked him in the chest and said, ‘You will not ever do this to Gwyneth ever again.’” The source continued, “[Pitt] made it clear there would be consequences” if Weinstein continued to harass his girlfriend, and “described it as giving Harvey a ‘Missouri whooping’.” “He made it absolutely clear this was not going to happen again and it didn’t,” the source added. The source then described Weinstein’s reaction to the confrontation: “At first Harvey tried to explain, then he stopped and listened and got the message.” In 1995, Pitt was still establishing himself as a leading actor with the aim of truly breaking Hollywood, and as the source explains, he was “taking a big risk” by standing up to Weinstein. “He was a young guy in Hollywood taking a chance.” Finally, the source said, “He’s one of the only men in Hollywood who stood up and said something. That’s a fact.” After the incident at the party, Weinstein called Paltrow and told her in no uncertain terms to keep quiet about what he had done. “I thought he was going to fire me,” she told the New York Times. “He screamed at me for a long time. It was brutal.” However, now the Oscar-winning actress “feels relieved and pleased to have spoken out,” according to the source. In what may seem like an unthinkable turn of events, Pitt worked with Weinstein in the 2009 movie, Inglorious Basterds, 14 years after the alleged confrontation. The source claims: “He did Inglorious Basterds because of his relationship with Quentin Tarantino, and had nothing to do with Harvey.”
“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did,” Jolie explained to the Times in an email. “This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
The way in which Weinstein allegedly treated these women is totally and utterly alarming.
It just goes to show that what we know about sexual harassment really is just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows how many other young women he took advantage of simply because he believed he could get away with it.
Sexual harassment – not just in Hollywood – is a problem that has been going on for far too long, and it’s high time we took better action to combat it.
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