A new report from Cassie da Costa from the Daily Beast explores Hillary Clinton’s disturbing Harvey Weinstein ties.
Per Refinery29, Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal assault on February 24 in a landmark decision in New York.
While Weinstein’s conviction represents a major victory in the eyes of the #MeToo movement and for sexual assault survivors, his time in court isn’t over.
The disgraced movie mogul’s New York trial was one of at least two, if not more, trials representing only a fraction of 90+ women who accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, assault, and rape.
de Costa writes:
In liberal establishment circles, not much is made of Hillary and Bill Clinton’s ties to Harvey Weinstein. The Clintons deny knowledge of Weinstein’s reputation in the industry, though there was a decades-long rumor mill in Hollywood and prolific whisper network amongst employees at Miramax and subsequently The Weinstein Company, where the producer enmeshed his assistants and executives in his sexual assault plots. But ahead of the March 6 Hulu release of the television docuseries Hillary, which was originally slated to be produced by Weinstein right up until the bombshell allegations against him were published by The New York Times and The New Yorker—and which conveniently overlooks their mutually beneficial relationship—it’s time to give their alliance a second look. (Full disclosure: I was a member of The New Yorker’s editorial team when Ronan Farrow’s initial reportage came out.)
Who politicians take money from, especially when those politicians are willing to seek out lavish donations and lip service from the rich, is of interest to the public; and by avoiding scrutiny into exactly what these politicians know about who they associate with, we condone a political system swept up in cynical corporatism as well as abuse. In response to an October 2017 follow-up story about the network of powerful enablers surrounding Weinstein, Hillary’s lawyer Robert Barnett told the Times that talks about the docuseries ceased once allegations about Weinstein were published, but it’s easy to imagine that the Clintons must have at least caught wind of these allegations, as well as the idea that they were likely to become public, much earlier. (On Feb. 24, a New York City jury found Weinstein guilty on one count of rape in the third degree and one count of a criminal sexual act.)
As many outlets have reported, Weinstein has strong ties to both the Clintons and the Obamas, as well as to the Democratic Party establishment overall. Weinstein has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats since the ‘90s, and has hosted fundraisers for candidates and even a birthday party for Hillary in 2000, during her candidacy for senator of New York. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was a Republican but is now in the race for the Democratic presidential primary, also had a “years long, mutually beneficial relationship” with Weinstein, as reported by Fox Business. (Bloomberg’s “company, through its male managers and employees from Chief Executive Officer Bloomberg on down, engaged in a pattern and practice of sexual harassment, sexual degradation of women,” according to one lawsuit; that multi-billion dollar corporation has had several women sign NDAs.)
Weinstein’s politics goes hand in hand with his business dealings. In his bizarre statement responding to the allegations reported by the Times and The New Yorker, Weinstein said that he intended to direct his anger (presumably about his bad behavior) towards the NRA; he also quoted Jay-Z, who he produced a docuseries with on Kalief Browder.
The Times has also reported that political allies tried to warn Hillary Clinton about his behavior. Both Lena Dunham and Tina Brown (former editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast) allege that they told Hillary’s aides about the stories going around about Weinstein—Brown says she did so in 2002, and Dunham in 2016, during Hillary’s presidential campaign. There’s also reporter Ronan Farrow’s claims to BuzzFeed that Hillary refused to meet with him about another, unrelated book once her team caught wind of his investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Weinstein.
Weinstein is especially proud of his connection to the Clintons, and before the allegations against him became public, both parties did what they could to hand favors back and forth. These indulgences included a Weinstein TV appearance where he interviewed Bill, as well as an appearance on CBS News during Hillary’s 2016 primary campaign that the Clinton team coached him for, according to leaked emails. (As revealed via screenshots by conservative writer Alexandra DeSanctis, in 2012, beloved Hollywood director and former public relations mogul Ava DuVernay tweeted that she had “heard all the Harvey stories over the years” but was “still a fan,” based on this interview with the former president.)
The Obamas also cashed in on their Weinstein connections while the air was clear. In February 2017, Barack Obama’s daughter Malia interned at The Weinstein Company mere months before the allegations against the producer were published. Before that, during the summer of 2015, Malia interned on the set of Dunham’s HBO TV show Girls; Dunham told the Times that, in 2016, during the Clinton presidential campaign, she warned Hillary’s aides—including the campaign’s deputy communications director Kristina Schake and spokeswoman Adrienne Elrod—that Weinstein was a rapist and known throughout the industry to be a predator. According to Dunham, Schake said they would share this information with campaign manager Robby Mook, who is now a political pundit on CNN. Both Elrod and Schake deny that Dunham “mentioned rape,” and Hillary’s current communications director Nick Merrill implied to Times reporters that Dunham should’ve contacted the police, not Hillary’s aides, about the allegations
Read more here.