Harvey Weinstein made headlines, again, after the Spectator published a column on Friday that claimed the disgraced former Hollywood movie producer had admitted that offered women acting jobs in exchange for sex.
"Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone," Weinstein said, according to the column written by Taki Theodoracopulos.
But now, Taki, who only goes by his first name, has retracted the interview.
The columnist alleged that Weinstein had opened to him up about his life, the accusations, and his take on the relationship between Asia Argento and the late chef Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide last month. Argento is among the dozens of women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
“After 41 years as a Spectator columnist without a single retraction, I believe that I may have misrepresented Harvey Weinstein's conversation with me in New York last month. It was my mistake. We were discussing Hollywood and I may have misunderstood certain things about the methods of that place. I had nothing to do with the headline of my article and I hope I have not damaged his case. It was, after all, a social visit," Taki wrote in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter.
In late May, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office indicted the 66-year-old Weinstein on first and third-degree rape charges stemming from accusations by two women. He posted $1 million bail and ordered to wear an ankle monitor. Weinstein pleaded not guilty to the charges.
What did the column say?
The original column said that Weinstein called up Taki and offered him an exclusive, which he accepted.
They agreed to meet at Weinstein's small office on Wall Street across from Grand Central Station. His lawyer, Ben Brafman, joined them.
Here's what Weinstein allegedly told Taki, according to the published column.
You were born rich and privileged and you were handsome. I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get somewhere. You got lotsa girls, no girl looked at me until I made it big in Hollywood. Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone. But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman.
What did Weinstein's lawyer say?
Weinstein's lawyer called their meeting a social visit.
“I was present for the conversation; it was not an interview, but a social meeting between old friends," Brafman said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "Harvey and Taki did not discuss the case, nor would I allow him to. They talked about old Hollywood and the contrast to European culture, and I think Taki sees Harvey in that older light. Mr. Weinstein never said anything about trading movie roles for sexual favors. You have my word that Harvey did not say that.”
What did he say about Argento and Bourdain?
Taki wrote in the column that Weinstein brought up the comments made by Rose McGowan that Argento and Bourdain had an "open borders" relationship. McGowan was one of the first to come forward with her accusations against the former movie mogul.
"It was obviously not true, says Harvey, but dead men tell no tales, so the girls made it up. Harvey made a sketch of the twisted story for me and I couldn’t help feel sorry for him," Taki wrote in the original column.
A photographer had captured images of Argento dancing and hugging journalist Hugo Clement in Rome, just days before Bourdain's death, which some speculated may have led to his suicide.
What's Taki's view on Weinstein?
Taki, also noted in the piece that he's known Weinstein for many years, said in some "funny way" he believes him.
"I’ve seen Harvey in action during my annual Christmas party, the one I throw every year in New York with Michael Mailer. He hits on every young woman but in a naïve way. 'Will you give me your address and I’ll make you a star,' is the theme of the pickup. Some say yes, some say no. His reaction was always the same. Smile and laugh and hit on the next one."
The columnist admitted that he has "doubts when women come about women who come out of the woodworks years later, or return for more after allegedly being raped by Weinstein, à la Argento, who went out with the movie mogul for close to ten years (Argento has said the relationship continued for five years)."
"The #MeToo movement will bury any judge or jury that doesn’t throw the book at him," Taki continued. "What I don’t get is, haven’t they had enough?"
He added that Weinstein's called a monster and lost everything he had.
"Hollywood has always treated women like dirt," Taki wrote. "In my book the one that got caught should not pay for the rest of the bums that make these horrible films of today. At least Harvey made good ones. Very good ones at that."