Reminder: Harvey Weinstein Sometimes Only Physically Assaulted People (Allegedly)
In case we needed a reminder that Harvey Weinstein has always been an alleged bully, in addition to his “alleged” history of sexual harassment and assault, a new story about his conduct broke this week. Producer David Parfitt, who worked with The Weinstein Company on the film My Week With Marilyn, has claimed that Harvey physically and verbally assaulted him after a test screening of the film. Here’s the kicker though: Harvey was allegedly mad that people liked the movie! According to Deadline, Parfitt spoke about the incident in a documentary that aired this week on the UK’s Channel 4 called Working With Weinstein:
“When we actually got through the main shoot and into the test, he decided it wasn’t enough Marilyn’s film and that he wanted more Marilyn,” Parfitt said in the documentary. “The scores came in at the end of the test and they were very good, and I think he’d expected it to be not good. In his fury about it doing so well when he thought it wouldn’t, he physically assaulted me. We were talking at the back of the theater after the audience had left, but the Miramax crowd were around, and he pinned me up against a Coke machine and threatened all sorts of stuff. It was very scary. But he was just furious that the film in our version had worked.”
What’s even stranger than the tale of a movie mogul allegedly attacking a producer for making a movie that people seemed to enjoy is the way that Weinstein disputed the claim. The statement provided through a spokesperson starts out normally enough, with the expected denial:
“Mr. Weinstein categorically denies Mr. Parfitt’s claims as provably untrue and outrageous fiction. Mr. Parfitt and Mr. Weinstein had creative differences and any conflict between them was solely over their different visions for the film. While they had a series of spirited arguments where Mr. Weinstein made a lot of stupid remarks that he wishes he could take back, nothing physical happened.”
And if the statement had ended there, then we’d just have a case of he said/ he said. But as has become apparent from the recent outpouring of stories about Harvey Weinstein, the dude just does NOT know when to stop. So of course, the official response continued in a truly bizarre fashion…
“The original version that Mr. Parfitt screened, didn’t include the musical numbers that Mr. Weinstein fought and personally financed to have included in the award winning film. In David Parfitt’s version, the movie felt like an ensemble piece. With Simon Curtis and Harvey Weinstein putting in the musical numbers, it felt like a Marilyn Monroe story.
Michelle Williams won the golden globe for her performance in the best musical comedy category and everyone that was associated with the movie, who saw it with the musical numbers, liked it better.”
Yup, even after the past few months, Weinstein still seems to think that people care whether he was creatively right! Like, even if the scenes he wanted in the movie did make it better, it doesn’t excuse verbal assault, let alone physical assault. And certainly the “he said/he said” in question here is NOT “which version of My Week With Marilyn did people like more.” This response is like a microcosm of Weinstein’s uniquely delusional hubris.
But that’s not the only Weinstein-related news this week. Deadline also reports that The Weinstein Company has filed to dismiss one of the class-action lawsuits against the company in the wake of all the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. In the filing, they seem to be primarily arguing that a) Harvey acted alone, and b) most of the incidents in the lawsuit happened over a decade ago and TWC is no longer liable. From their filing:
The six Plaintiffs in this action have filed a broad-sweeping Class Action Complaint (the “Complaint”), asserting fourteen separate federal and state law claims on behalf of themselves, and purportedly on behalf of a putative class of every woman who met Harvey Weinstein (“H. Weinstein”) in person in a wide variety of contexts (including both professional and purely social contexts) at any point in history. Virtually all of the alleged conduct about which Plaintiffs complain in the Complaint was committed by H. Weinstein, acting alone, between ten and twenty-five years ago.
Even though all of Plaintiffs’ claims are premised on the alleged conduct of H. Weinstein
and H. Weinstein only, Plaintiffs assert their claims against numerous other Defendants,
including TWC; Miramax, LLC; Miramax Film Corp.; and Miramax Film NY LLC; Robert
Weinstein (“R. Weinstein”) (H. Weinstein’s brother and former business partner); and nine
current and former Board Members of TWC. Plaintiffs attempt to hook these numerous other
individuals and entities into this lawsuit by asserting that all of them, as well as numerous law
firms, private investigator firms, and media participants (who are nevertheless not named as
parties to this lawsuit), were all part of a decades-long massive, yet secret, criminal sexual
enterprise, in violation of the RICO statute. According to Plaintiffs, this alleged RICO enterprise
remained undiscovered until very recently when The New York Times published an article in
October 2017 detailing multiple allegations of sexual harassment against H. Weinstein.
Plaintiffs Geiss and Thomas also seek to assert individual state common law claims against TWC
(and other Defendants) under traditional principles of vicarious liability.
The fundamental flaw with Plaintiffs’ case theory as it applies to TWC is that all of
Plaintiffs’ claims — both RICO and the state common law claims Plaintiffs Geiss and Thomas
assert against TWC — are time-barred. In other words, Plaintiffs’ own pleading on its face
shows that the claims are all based on conduct that occurred a decade or more ago, and therefore the limitation periods for all of Plaintiffs’ claims expired years ago. Furthermore, Plaintiffs’ own pleading demonstrates on its face that there is no legal basis on which the limitation periods should be tolled, and thus all of Plaintiffs’ claims against TWC should be dismissed at the outset.
For those of you that aren’t aware (I wasn’t!), the RICO statute being referenced is the “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act” which was designed to combat organized crime. Which… holy shit! I’m no lawyer, but I find that fascinating in this context. And look — perhaps the claims in this particular lawsuit did occur outside of the bounds of whatever “limitation periods” apply in this context. But David Parfitt’s story related to test screenings of a movie that was released only 7 years ago, and he made a point of noting that there were Miramax (or likely TWC) staff present who witnessed it. The New York Times noted back in October that the TWC board had been aware of the payouts Harvey made to accusers as of at least 2015, with a follow-up story noting that his brother Bob participated in payoffs to women as far back as 1990. That same story also quoted assistants who were made to help facilitate Harvey’s alleged encounters with women and even procure erectile dysfunction injections for him. So the idea that Harvey was “acting alone” is dubious at best.
It’ll be interesting to see how much of this can be argued in court, but I think we all know that The Weinstein Company knew something was wrong with their leader’s conduct, and didn’t act.