Transcript for Harvey Weinstein accused of sexual harassment
We turn to the latest on Harvey Weinstein. "The New York Times" reporting allegations by numerous women who say the Hollywood mogul sexually harassed them. His alleged victims over nearly three decades include stars like Ashley Judd and rose Mcgowan. Now Weinstein is threatening to sue "The New York Times" for defamation and Lisa bloom defending Harvey Weinstein is standing by. First though we have ABC's linsey Davis with more on the story. Good morning, Amy. That lawsuit is reportedly for $50 million. "The New York Times" quotes Weinstein as saying I came of age in the '60s and '70s when all the rules about behavior in workplaces were different. That was the culture then. And now one of the most powerful men in Hollywood say he is taking a leave of absence to, quote, conquer his demons. He's the movie mogul behind some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters. Because I am so much crazier than you. Reporter: An industry legend for so many a-list stars. Harvey Weinstein who believed in us and maze the movie. My friends at miramax for making this especially Harvey. Reporter: Politically well connected to hosting a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton and hiring Malia Obama earlier but now "The New York Times" reporting bombshell allegations describing several accusations of sexual harassment against the studio executive worth $200 million and citing two anonymous company officials saying Weinstein reached at least eight settlements with accusers. The alleged victims as reported by "The times" are from an assistant to a model to a movie star. Ashley Judd. Somebody help me. Reporter: Judd tells "The times" in 1997 while filming "Kiss the girls" he invited her to a breakfast meeting at the peninsula hotel in Beverly hills and Judd tells the paper Weinstein requested she come to irs room where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower and said she felt panicky and trapped. Women have been talking about Harvey for awhile and it's simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly. Now Weinstein is speaking out to "The New York post" saying he bears responsibility for his past behavior but claims "The times" article is reckless reporting. Judd seen here at an academy awards party with Weinstein after the alleged incident went on to act in two more movies produced by his studio, 2002's "Freida" and 2009's "Crossing over." "The times" reports a legal document showed rose Mcgowan reached a $100,000 settlement with Weinstein in 1997. Oh, you want to play psycho killer. Reporter: As a result of and alleged episode in the sundance film festival. The settlement was not an admission by Weinstein. Mcgowan who declined to comment to "The times" tweeted after the article posted Thursday, women fight on. And to the men out there, stand up. We need you as allies. #Bebrave. The 65-year-old father of five seen in this "Daily mail" photo departing his New York City office as news broke told "The post" he wants to earn the forgiveness of Judd and his family stands by him married to Georgina Chapman since 2007. He told ABC news in a statement that I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain and I sincerely apologize it though I'm trying to do better. I know I have a long way to go adding he is taking a leave of absence from work and working with therapists. Weinstein is now hitting back at "The times" claiming the report is saturated with false and defamatory statements and vowing to file that lawsuit. He's now hired hulk hogan's lawyer would won him a $140 million settlement against Gawker. "The New York Times" tells ABC news they are confident in the accuracy of their reporting. George. Okay, linsey, thank you joined by attorney Lisa bloom advising Harvey Weinstein. I have to say I'm surprised you're here this morning. You've been here and represented women who have taken on bill Cosby and Bill O'Reilly, Donald Trump, sexual harassment cases. Why did you switch sides in this case? I've known Harvey for about a year and these rumors have swirled around him for a long time. And I said to him, you know, what's going on? This is not okay and Harvey and I had a lot of frank conversations about this and when this "New York Times" story was about to break and Harvey expressed to me the same remorse that you see now, I said, we have to throw out the old playbook, okay. You're not going to be attacking women. You're not going to be disrespecting women. You're not going to be digging up dirt on them and embarrassing them. That's the tired old way to go. If you are genuinely remorseful, say so, admit what you've done wrong, apologize and let's have your actions speak for themselves. Did he sexually harass women. I think Harvey has acknowledged, yes, there was misconduct over a period of years. He has a bad temper a. He is well known for that. A big, loud guy. People are intimidated by him. I'm not. You know, I'm a big mouth lawyer myself. I'll stand up to him but if I'm a 23-year-old in his workplace, of course, they're intimidated. The question is is it sexual harassment. His lawyer says fwhshth "New York Times" story is saturated with Faust and defamatory statements. Ashley Judd said she went to are a business meeting. He proposed a massage and asked if she would watch him shower. Is she lying? No, no, I have great respect for Ashley Judd and so does Harvey. While they have a little different perspective on what happened, what happened 20 years ago, okay, this is not about attacking any of the women. I'm glad they come forward. I encourage them to come forward. Harvey has authorized me to say that. I mean, this is a very different day. What do you do if you have behaved badly for 30 years? Are you going to continue? Or are you going to start, you know, a different approach? That's what he's doing. He reached a settlement with rose Mcgowan. I can't talk about whether there are any settlements. I can tell you generally when there are settlements confidentiality is always a term so people can't talk about it. Here's the problem. "The New York Times" says in interviews eight women described varying behavior by Mr. Weinstein appeared naked or nearly or fully naked in front of them requiring to be present while he bathed or asking for a massage or initiating one himself. A real pattern over 30 years. This is like textbook sexual harassment. It's gross, yeah. It's illegal. Yes. You know, I agree. So you have to understand, yes, I'm here as his adviser. I'm not defending him in any sexual harassment cases. There aren't any sexual harassment cases. I'm working with a guy who has behaved badly over the years who is genuinely remorseful who says, you know, I have caused a lot of pain. Why is he suing "The times." He has a different lawyer handling that because a lot of allegations, there are witnesses who said those things did not happen and "The times" did not take into account. Some people said I think he was having an affair with this other woman when that other woman was contacted she said absolutely not. You just acknowledged the stories where people come forward publicly, Ashley Judd's story, you don't think she's lying. I'm not accusing Ashley Judd of lying. I'm glad she's come forward and spoken her truth. Emily menestor came forward -- What Harvey Weinstein has done is wrong. He has caused pain. He said that. I have said in my statement, listen, you know, I've done a lot of cases on behalf of women and often thought, gee, I wish I could get on the other side and smack that guy around a little bit verbally. Here was an opportunity of a guy saying, Lisa, what should I do? I have behaved badly. I'm like, good, I'll tell you what to do. Be honest, be real. Okay, he's admitted to you he sexually harassed women. You're using a legal term. I'm using the term workplace misconduct. Sexual harassment is severe and pervasive and so telling somebody they look nice in a dress, for example, is not sexual harassment and that is one of the allegations against him. If you have sex with me you'll do better in your career. That is absolutely sexual harassment. That's what's alleged in the article. That is true. You know, yes, that is true. Boy, you're being very forthright here. I'm telling you Harvey has authorized me to be very forthright because he is ashamed of his behavior. I appreciate that and take your word for it. Another lawyer is suing "The new York Times" saying they're lying. Some of the allegations he contends are -- I don't think it's inconsistent. This was a very long article with a lot of allegations where they refused to take into account witnesses who said some of this stuff is untrue but that doesn't really matter to me. What matters to me and what I said to Harvey behind the scenes you have a long history here. You've got a pattern. You say you're very sorry, you say you're embarrassed and want to respect women and do better, that starts right now. You say you're tutoring him. What does that mean? It means I explain to him things about the way you talk to your guy friends when going out for a beer is not appropriate in the workplace. You can't have a lot of cursing. You can't tell sexual stories. You can't hit on women in the workplace. Not only is it illegal, it's wrong because it causes pain to women. And it needs to stop right now. 65-year-old man, shouldn't he know that. Of course, he should. But you believe he's going to change now? I hope so. It's an effort. I think he has changed in the year that I've known him and been talking to him, you know, in this very hard-hitting way behind the scenes. There haven't been any allegations for him then. His biggest problem is anger. Been in therapy and working on for ten years and still has a long way to go on that. He gets very angry. He is a big guy with a loud voice. And I think that's a big part of the problem. We should also say as a matter of disclosure he's also producing a docu-series based on one of your books. That's how I came to know him about a year ago. My book "Suspicion nature" was optioned for a film and said to him, look, there is a lot of rumors about you. Can we talk about it? I was very surprised he said, yeah, I've been stupid. I'm embarrassed, Lisa. Tell me what to do now. Lisa bloom, thanks for coming in today.
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