A report published today by The New Yorker details how Harvey Weinstein “used money from his brother and elaborate legal agreements to hide allegations of predation for decades,” according to the publication. The report focuses on secret settlements that enabled Harvey Weinstein to circumvent allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
“Ronan Farrow reports that Bob Weinstein, who has repeatedly said he was unaware of his brother’s alleged sexual misconduct, personally paid £250,000 — equivalent to about $600,000 today — to settle two claims against his brother in the 1990s during their time running Miramax,” Variety reports. “The money was supposed to be split between Harvey’s former assistant Zelda Perkins and another female employee in the U.K. alleging sexual harassment and assault.”
The New Yorker adds: “The funds came from Bob Weinstein’s personal bank account — a move that helped conceal the payment from executives at Miramax and its parent company, Disney, as well as from Harvey Weinstein’s spouse.”
Bob Weinstein acknowledged his role in the payout in an interview with The New Yorker, but said Harvey misled him about what the payout was for.
Bob Weinstein told The New Yorker: “Regarding that payment, I only know what Harvey told me, and basically what he said was he was fooling around with two women and they were asking for money. And he didn’t want his wife to find out, so he asked me if I could write a check, and so I did, but there was nothing to indicate any kind of sexual harassment.”
The story notes, however: “A former senior Miramax executive said that it was implausible that Bob Weinstein did not know about the nature of the allegations, which were reported to the company.”
Variety quotes Bob Weinstein’s attorney Bert Fields saying of the payout: “So far as Bob knew, it had nothing to do with misconduct or abuse of any kind.”
Fields added that Bob Weinstein “put up money to protect his brother” by keeping Harvey Weinstein’s wife from learning about his affair. “He was by no means encouraging or being complicit with anything else to do about sexual harassment,” Fields told Variety.