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Harvey Weinstein to take leave of absence amid sexual harassment accusations

UPI News Service, 10/05/2017 

Harvey Weinstein said Thursday he's taking a leave of absence from his production company after an investigative report laid out years of sexual harassment allegations against the film executive.

The New York Times detailed multiple accusations, including one from actor Ashley Judd, who said Weinstein asked her to give him a massage or watch him shower in a Beverly Hills, Calif., hotel room.

"How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?" she said she thought during the incident 20 years ago.

Other former employees of Weinstein Co. and Weinstein's former company, Miramax, made similar allegations.

The Times viewed documents indicating he settled with at least eight of his accusers.

Weinstein, 65, issued a statement to the Los Angeles Times apologizing for his actions "with colleagues in the past [that] has caused a lot of pain."

"I so respect all women and regret what happened. I hope that my actions will speak louder than words," he added, saying he is trying to change his behavior.

"Trust me, this isn't an overnight process. I've been trying to do this for 10 years and this is a wake-up call. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them."

Weinstein's lawyer, Charles Harder, threatened to sue The New York Times, whose article he said was "saturated with false and defamatory statements."

"It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by 9 different eyewitnesses," Harder said.

"We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish. We are preparing the lawsuit now. All proceeds will be donated to women's organizations."

David Shankbone

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