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Hollywood powerhouse Harvey Weinstein taking leave of absence after sexual harassment claims

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer, at a party in Los Angeles, Jan. 10, 2016. An investigation by The New York Times has found previously undisclosed allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein. [New York Times]

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer, at a party in Los Angeles, Jan. 10, 2016. An investigation by The New York Times has found previously undisclosed allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein. [New York Times]

Harvey Weinstein will take a leave of absence from his eponymous film company after the publication of a news report detailing decades of sexual harassment accusations against him.

The story, published by the New York Times on Thursday, said that Weinstein has over the years reached at least eight legal settlements with women over alleged harassment.

The allegations were levied by actresses including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, and former employees of Weinstein Co. and the executive's former company, Miramax.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Weinstein, 65, reiterated some comments made to the New York Times, apologizing for behavior "with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain" and said he would take a leave to deal with his issues "head on."

"I so respect all women and regret what happened. I hope that my actions will speak louder than words," said Weinstein, who also cited a lyric by rapper Jay Z about needing to be a better person and added that he has already changed 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, a powerhouse in the indie film world who co-founded Miramax in 1979, is known for producing, alongside brother Bob, Academy Award-winning films including "Shakespeare in Love" and major hits such as "Chicago," which grossed more than $300 million worldwide.

The brothers sold Miramax to Walt Disney Co. in 1993. They left Miramax 12 years later and went on to found their namesake company.

In a statement, Weinstein's attorney, Lisa Bloom said that her client denied many of the accusations in the New York Times story "as patently false." Bloom said that Weinstein had asked her to perform a "comprehensive review of his company's policies and practices regarding women in the workplace."

Representatives for Judd and McGowan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hollywood powerhouse Harvey Weinstein taking leave of absence after sexual harassment claims 10/05/17 [Last modified: Thursday, October 5, 2017 3:59pm]
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