As scope of Weinstein conduct widens, questions arise: who knew what and when?

From CBC - October 11, 2017

As the grim scope of Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual abuse has continued to expand withCara Delevingne andLaSeydoux among the latest to come forward about harassmentattention is turning to the question of who knew about the film's mogul's behaviour.

British model and actress Delevingneposted via Instagram that Weinstein brought upsexual subjects during more than one business meeting and also triedto get her to kiss another woman in front of him. Meanwhile French actress Seydouxwrote in The Guardian about an alleged incident with the mogul at a hotel.

"We were talking on the sofa when he suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me. I had to defend myself," she wrote.

"He's big and fat, so I had to be forceful to resist him."

A key and potentially volatile component of Tuesday's New Yorker expos was the claim that "a culture of complicity" has existed at both The Weinstein Co. and his previous film company, the Walt Disney-owned Miramax. "Numerous people throughout the companies [were]fully aware of his behaviour but either abetting it or looking the other way," the magazine reported.

More celebrities pulled in

Further scrutiny has followed the contention that Weinstein's conduct was "an open secret" in Hollywood. Focus has turned, in part, to not just the workplace environments Weinstein operated in, but the stars who may have had some knowledge of Weinstein's alleged behaviour but who failed to raise any alarms.

Ben Affleck was called out Tuesday by alleged victim Rose McGowan. In a tweet, the actress accused Affleck of lying after issuing a statement that he was "saddened and angry" about the Weinstein revelations.

"'GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT' you said that to my face," McGowan wrote on Tuesday. "The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie."

Actress Hilarie Burton also renewed an earlier allegation that Affleck groped her during a visit to MTV's TRL, which she was hosting in 2003. A Twitter user recalled the incident, noting "everyone forgot." Burton replied, "I did not forget."

Affleck tweeted an apology on Wednesday: "I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize."

The ongoing fallout poses potentially severe legal issues for the companies involved.

The Weinstein Co., which fired its co-chairman on Sunday, has moved to continue forward with plans to change its name. In a statement Tuesday night, the Weinstein Co. board of directors strongly denied that it knew about Weinstein's behaviour.

"These alleged actions are antithetical to human decency. These allegations come as an utter surprise to the board. Any suggestion that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false," the four-member board said in a statement.

Given all the information that's coming out now, I would find it highly implausible that the board was not aware.- Angela Reddock-Wright, labour law attorney


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