LA police begins probe on Harvey Weinstein case; Tarantino, Channing Tatum condemn the producer
As the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment row thickens, several Hollywood biggies of the likes of acclaimed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong'o and actor Channing Tatum speak up against the disgraced Hollywood producer.
The Los Angeles police is investigating a possible sexual assault case against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein — the first one involving him in the city.
According to police spokesman Sal Ramirez, the department has interviewed a sexual assault victim.
"The Los Angeles Police Department's robbery homicide division has interviewed a potential sexual assault victim involving Harvey Weinstein which allegedly occurred in 2013," officer Drake Madison said. "The case is under investigation."
The woman at the center of the case was not identified by the police, but several media outlets reported that she was an Italian model and actress.
Ramirez says the investigation is going on and he could not answer any questions about when the interview or incident took place.
The Los Angeles Times said police interviewed the woman for more than two hours on 19 October regarding the alleged assault that took place at a hotel.
Five other women have accused the disgraced movie mogul of rape or sexual assault. Authorities in New York and Britain have already launched probes into those claims.
"Mr Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but he unequivocally denies allegations of non-consensual sex," his representative Sallie Hofmeister wrote in a statement.
Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment or abuse by more than three dozen women, including several top actresses like Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Several of the incidents, according to the victims, happened at hotels in Beverly Hills, which does not have an open investigation into Weinstein.
-Nyong'o adds her experience-
Actor Lupita Nyong'o is the latest actor to speak against Harvey Weinstein for his alleged harassment of women spanning over three decades.
In an op-ed for The New York Times, the 34-year-old actor penned her harrowing experience of meeting the media mogul many a times and how he threatened to ruin her Hollywood career before she even began.
Nyong'o writes she first met Weinstein in 2011, when she was a student at the Yale School of Drama. She said she was forced to enter his bedroom after a lunch meeting at a hotel, where he insisted on giving her a massage.
"I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe. I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.
"I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation. Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that," she said.
Weinstein called Nyong'o "stubborn" and the actor was unsure about how to process the incident.
"I reasoned that it had been inappropriate and uncalled- for, but not overtly sexual. I was entering into a business where the intimate is often professional and so the lines are blurred."
Months later, Nyong'o again had another encounter with the producer. During a dinner meeting, she recalled Weinstein telling her, "Let's cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal."
The actor was stunned and told him off, saying, "I preferred to eat in the restaurant. He told me not to be so naive. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing."
When Nyong'o politely declined his offer, she said, his demeanour changed and their meeting was cut short abruptly.
The actor said she did not meet Weinstein until September 2013 for the Toronto premiere of 12 Years a Slave, her first feature film.
"At an after-party, he found me and evicted whoever was sitting next to me to sit beside me. He said he couldn't believe how fast I had gotten to where I was, and that he had treated me so badly in the past. He was ashamed of his actions and he promised to respect me moving forward. I said thank you and left it at that. But I made a quiet promise to myself to never ever work with Harvey Weinstein," she said.
Towards the end, Nyong'o said Hollywood needed to become a community where a woman can speak up about abuse, not suffer another abuse by not being believed.
Director Quentin Tarantino has said he knew about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment towards a number of women.
The 54-year-old filmmaker said he regrets about not doing enough to prevent the sexual misconduct that the females in the industry had to suffer at the hands of the disgraced media mogul.
"I knew enough to do more than I did. There was more to it than just the normal rumours, the normal gossip. It wasn't secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things. I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard. If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him. What I did was marginalise the incidents. Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse," Tarantino told New York Times in an interview.
The director has been Weinstein's frequent collaborator on films such as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, the Kill Bill films, Inglourious Basterds and The Hateful Eight.
Tarantino recalled when he was dating actor Mira Sorvino in 1995, she told him about Weinstein's weird behaviour, which included him giving a massage to her without asking, chasing her around a hotel room and even showing up at her apartment in the middle of the night - a story she recently shared with The New Yorker.
"I was shocked and appalled back then. I couldn't believe he would do that so openly. I was like: 'Really? Really?' But the thing I thought then, at the time, was that he was particularly hung up on Mira.
"She had won accolades for her performance in Mighty Aphrodite. I thought Harvey was hung up on her in this Svengali kind of way. Because he was infatuated with her, he horribly crossed the line."
Tarantino said he believed that the problem would fix itself - Weinstein will back off as Sorvino was in a relationship with him.
He added over the years he got to know about several female actor friends who told him a troubling story of unwanted advances by Weinstein in a hotel room.
When Tarantino confronted the producer, he offered the woman what he described as a weak apology.
He also knew actor Rose McGowan had reached a settlement with Weinstein after an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival.
Tarantino added, "I'm calling on the other guys who knew more to not be scared. Don't just give out statements.
Acknowledge that there was something rotten in Denmark. Vow to do better by our sisters. What was previously accepted is now untenable to anyone of a certain consciousness.
-Tatum turns away-
Actor Channing Tatum has decided to pull the plug on his upcoming movie financed by the The Weinstein Company (TWC) amid the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal. The project would have marked his directorial debut.
Tatum was initially set to helm the film along with Reid Carolin and he was also expected to star in it, reports deadline.com.
Based on Matthew Quick's young adult book called Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, the plot was based on a troubled teenager who deals with sexual abuse and plans to kill himself and his best friend.
"The brave women who had the courage to stand up and speak their truth about Harvey Weinstein are true heroes to us. They are lifting the heavy bricks to build the equitable world we all deserve to live in," Tatum posted on his Instagram account.
"Our lone project in development with TWC - Matthew Quick's brilliant book, Forgive Me Leonard Peacock - is a story about a boy whose life was torn asunder by sexual abuse. While we will no longer develop it or anything else that is property of TWC, we are reminded of its powerful message of healing in the wake of tragedy.
"This is a giant opportunity for real positive change that we proudly commit ourselves to. The truth is out - let's finish what our incredible colleagues started and eliminate abuse from our creative culture once and for all," he added.
The Weinstein Company also lost their projects at Amazon. The company was supposed to develop a series starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore and another titled The Romanoffs. However, Amazon decided to call off the former and move forward with the latter, but without TWC involvement.
(With inputs from agencies)
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