The flurry of investigations into the 65-year-old producer of films such as Pulp Fiction and The English Patient come as the number of women levelling accusations of assault or harassment at him continues to grow. On Thursday, Kate Beckinsale became the latest actress to accuse Weinstein of harassment, saying she managed to avoid his advances when she was just 17 by telling him she had school the next morning.
The criminal investigations and slew of allegations mark a dramatic change in fortune for somebody who for several decades was a titan of the film industry. For years he promoted and made stars, won awards and held an almost omnipotent position in Hollywood. Receiving an award in 2012, Meryl Streep referred to him in her acceptance speech as “God”.
Through a spokeswoman, Weinstein has denied all the allegations levelled at him. But he has been fired from his company, Miramax Films, headed to Arizona for therapy, and his British wife has left him.
Reports suggest rumours about Weinstein have abounded within Hollywood for decades. Yet it was just a week ago that the New York Times reported his company had allegedly been forced to pay eight women to settle sexual harassment accusations.
“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it,” Weinstein initially told the newspaper.
On Wednesday, he told TMZ: “We all make mistakes – second chance I hope. Guys I'm not doing OK but I'm trying; I've got to get help. I'm hanging in – I'm trying my best.”
Subsequently, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie joined the number of actresses, models and other women to accuse Weinstein of harassment – most of them saying it happened when they were starting out in their careers.
The New Yorker then said it had interviewed three women, two of whom it identified and a third who spoke to the magazine anonymously, who said Weinstein raped them. The magazine also obtained a recording from a 2015 sting operation conducted by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in which Weinstein admitted groping a young model, saying: “I’m used to that.”
The NYPD has said it was reviewing a case from 2004. Spokesman Peter Donald said separately that investigators were reviewing police files to see if any women previously reported being assaulted or harassed by Weinstein. The department is also encouraging anyone with information to come forward, he said.
The Daily Mail said in addition to this, the FBI had opened a probe into the allegations of rape and sexual assault.
A report said Attorney General Jeff Sessions, allegedly asked the bureau to open the investigation over fears the Hollywood producer would remain in Europe after his rehabilitation and avoid prosecution like film director Roman Polanski who was accused of sex with a minor but fled to France. It has since emerged Weinstein is heading to the The Meadows Centre in Arizona, located 60 miles from Phoenix.
The FBI did not immediately respond to inquiries. However, the reason for any federal investigation would be because Weinstein has been accused of crimes in multiple states as well as possibly the UK.
In London, the Metropolitan Police said it was investigating an allegation of sexual assault that was passed on from Merseyside Police. Police in Merseyside said they had received the accusation relating to an alleged incident in the London area more than 30 years ago.
The Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest police force provided few details. It said the allegation was being looked at by officers who deal with child abuse and sexual offences, though there was no indication the complaint was related to child abuse.
“The Met has been passed an allegation of sexual abuse by Merseyside police on Wednesday 11 October,” said a statement. “The allegation will be assessed by officers from the child abuse and sexual offences command.”
Weinstein, and his brother Bob, received an early break in their career from the British film industry. In 1982, The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball, the film of a London benefit concert featuring Sting, Bob Geldof and Eric Clapton, for which they obtained the US distraction rights, became his company’s first hit.
The company also produced Rockshow, a movie of Paul McCartney and his band Wings, performing live in the 1970s. The film was released in November 1980.
A spokesman for Weinstein, Sallie Hofmeister, said in a statement “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Weinstein”.
“Mr Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
She added: “He will not be available for further comments, as he is taking the time to focus on his family, on getting counselling and rebuilding his life.”
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