Harvey Weinstein: Oscars academy to hold emergency talks

Harvey Weinstein poses on the Red Carpet after arriving at the 89th Academy Awards (Oscars) in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2017Image copyright
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Dozens of films produced by Harvey Weinstein have won Academy Awards

The hosts of the Oscars are to hold emergency talks to consider the future role of film mogul Harvey Weinstein following claims of sexual misconduct.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein were “repugnant”.

Bafta, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, has already suspended his membership.

Weinstein strongly denies the allegations against him.

In another development, police in New York told the BBC they were looking to speak to an individual regarding an allegation against Weinstein dating from 2004. The NYPD did not provide further details.

The US academy, which has handed out 81 Oscars to films produced by Weinstein’s Miramax studio and the Weinstein Company, said it would meet on Saturday to “discuss the allegations against Weinstein and any actions warranted by the academy”.

Media captionIt was “an open secret” a producer tells the BBC

A statement has also been issued by Cannes Film Festival, which Weinstein has attended many times.

President Pierre Lescure said they have been “dismayed to learn of the accusations”.

“These actions point to a pattern of behaviour that merits only the clearest and most unequivocal condemnation.

“Our thoughts go out to the victims, to those who have had the courage to testify and to all the others. May this case help us once again to denounce all such serious and unacceptable practices.”

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EPA

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Harvey Weinstein attended Cannes Film Festival at times with his wife Georgina Chapman, who has now left him

Meanwhile, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told CNN she felt “sick” about the allegations surrounding Weinstein, pledging to donate money he had raised for her campaigns to charity.

Weinstein reportedly raised more than $1.4m (£1.05m) for Democratic groups, and Republicans have accused Democrats of not doing enough to distance themselves from him.

‘Powerless and scared’

A string of high-profile actresses, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, have come forward to accuse the movie producer of sexual harassment or assault.

British actress and model Cara Delevingne is one of the latest to accuse him of inappropriate behaviour. In a statement, she said he tried to kiss her as she tried to leave a hotel room.

“I felt very powerless and scared,” she said.

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Lea Seydoux starred in the Bond film Spectre

The French actress Léa Seydoux has written an article detailing her experience with Weinstein who she met at a fashion show.

She wrote in The Guardian about how he invited her to come to his hotel room for a drink.

“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. I left his room, thoroughly disgusted.

“I wasn’t afraid of him, though. Because I knew what kind of man he was all along.”

On Tuesday, Weinstein denied allegations of rape made in The New Yorker magazine. On the same day, his wife Georgina Chapman said she was leaving him.

Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening said Weinstein was well known in Hollywood for being “boorish”, but that she had not known the extent of his alleged behaviour.

“I certainly didn’t know that this was going on to the degree that it was,” she told BBC News. “It’s terrible. And it’s great that these women have come forward. I really respect them. Maybe it’s a tipping point. Maybe culturally this means that things will change.”

Media captionWatch Jez Butterworth’s message to Harvey Weinstein

On Wednesday, US prosecutors defended their decision not to take action against Weinstein after a woman complained about his behaviour in 2015.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said undercover audio of the complainant and Weinstein was “insufficient to prove a crime”.

Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, 22, had gone to police to accuse Weinstein of touching her inappropriately. She then agreed to meet the producer again while wearing a hidden microphone.

The district attorney’s office said police arranged the meeting without informing them.

“Prosecutors were not afforded the opportunity before the meeting to counsel investigators on what was necessary to capture in order to prove a misdemeanour sex crime,” they said.

Media captionThe New Yorker released audio of an alleged undercover sting operation by New York Police (UK users only)

They said the “horrifying” audio “was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law” which left prosecutors with “no choice but to conclude the criminal investigation without charges”.

In the recording, Weinstein can be heard asking Ms Gutierrez to come into his hotel room. The model asks the producer “why yesterday you touched my breast?” He apologises, saying he “won’t do it again”.

Weinstein’s spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister said: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein. Mr Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.

“Mr Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.

“Mr Weinstein has begun counselling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path.”

On Wednesday she declined to comment on reports that Weinstein was intending to travel to Europe to enter a rehabilitation facility.

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Harvey Weinstein: Oscars academy to hold emergency talks

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