Stories of assault and abuse are unfortunately not uncommon in Hollywood, but that does not change the fact that no matter how many times we hear them, we're still taken by surprise. The accusations brought against celebrated film executive Harvey Weinstein this week are no different.
Eight women, including actress Ashley Judd as well as some of Weinstein's former employees, have come forward with claims of sexual harassment spanning decades.
In a New York Times exposé, Judd revealed that Weinstein showed up to their business meeting in a bathrobe and requested that she give him a massage before asking her to watch him shower.
The Ruby in Paradise actress told the newspaper that in that moment she felt "panicky" and "trapped."
“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” Judd said. “I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” she continued. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”
Emily Nestor, who worked for Weinstein's company as a temporary employee, backed Judd's claims saying that she only worked for the executive for one day because he invited her to the same hotel and offered to help advance her career if she agreed to his demands.
Another former employee, Lauren O'Connor, also came forward with a number of incidents that occurred during her time at the company, and ways in which Weinstein abused his position of power.
“There is a toxic environment for women at this company,” O' Connor wrote in a letter.
Soon after news about the accusation broke, the Oscar-winning producer released a statement addressing the allegations.
Weinstein, who is known for producing blockbuster hits like Scream, announced that he will be taking a "leave of absence" from the company to "deal with this issue head-on."
In the statement, the movie mogul apologized for his "bad behavior" towards his colleagues, which he admitted caused "a lot of pain."
However, the apology doesn't mean that he isn't firing back. According to one of his attornies, Lisa Bloom, "he denies many of the accusations as patently false."
Weinstein's other attorney, Charles Harder, confirmed that he is working on filing a lawsuit against The New York Times for "false and defamatory" statements.
He gave his first interview following the first controversy, addressing the claims specifically and revealing that he has his wife's support.
“She stands 100 percent behind me. Georgina and I have talked about this at length,” Weinstein said. He confessed that his wife and his team of attorneys are "kicking my ass to be a better human being and to apologize to people for my bad behavior, to say I’m sorry, and to absolutely mean it."
The producer then blamed his temper for sometimes creating "too much tension" and "making people feel intimidated."
"In the past I used to compliment people, and some took it as me being sexual, I won’t do that again. I admit to a whole way of behavior that is not good. I can’t talk specifics, but I put myself in positions that were stupid, I want to respect women and do things better,” he added.
Specifically speaking about Judd's accusations, Weinstein said he "never laid a glove on her," but he will still try to "earn her forgiveness."
“I know Ashley Judd is going through a tough time right now, I read her book. Her life story was brutal, and I have to respect her. In a year from now I am going to reach out to her.”
This isn't the first time Weinstein is caught up in the midst of a scandal. He reached a settlement of $100,000 with actress Rose McGowan after an encounter in a hotel room in 1997. He clarified that the payout was "not to be contrued as an admission." It was done to "avoid litigation and buy peace."
According to reports, Weinstein has already reached a settlement with many of the women involved in the case.