Hollywood harassment ‘widespread', says lawyer in wake of Weinstein's downfall
Harvey Weinstein is not the “exception” in Hollywood as many other sexual harassment allegations are being kept secret because of confidentiality agreements, a prominent Los Angeles lawyer has said.
Gloria Allred, who has represented Bill Cosby’s accusers, said on Friday she had won deals for “many” women against “high-profile figures” but these are hushed up by non-disclosure agreements.
She made the remarks at a press conference she held for former actress Heather Kerr, who said Weinstein forced her to touch his genitals during a meeting in 1989 when she was an aspiring actress in her 20s.
Ms Kerr, now 56, said Weinstein suggested if she wanted success she would have to sleep with him, and said she gave up her career shortly afterwards.
“He’s not the exception, I can assure you of that because I’ve represented many women in Hollywood against high-profile figures,” Ms Allred said.
“There have been many, many confidential settlements and that’s the reason you don’t hear more about this.
“I can say to an absolute certainty that it is widespread.”
Ms Allred, whose daughter Lisa Bloom stepped down as Weinstein’s adviser, said “numerous” women had approached her with allegations about Weinstein, with at least one being in New York.
The conference came a day after the Los Angeles Police Department interviewed an Italian actress and model who claimed Weinstein had raped her in a hotel near Beverly Hills in 2013.
This added to police investigations going on in New York and in the UK, where the Metropolitan Police is investigating five allegations against Weinstein spanning from the late 1980s to 2015.
Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual abuse and harassment by dozens of women, has “unequivocally denied” allegations of non-consensual sex.
He has been fired from his position at The Weinstein Company and resigned from its board.