x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 December 2017

Harvey Weinstein: New York police open investigation into 2004 allegations

The New York Daily News reported that the case involved aspiring actress Lucia Evans. The New Yorker magazine reported on Tuesday that Ms Evans said Mr Weinstein had forced her to perform oral sex on him

Model Cara Delevingne, pictured here attending the Glamour Women Of The Year 2016 awards at NeueHouse Hollywood in Los Angeles on November 14, 2016, is one of the latest stars to make a claim of sexual harassment about Harvey Weinstein. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images
Model Cara Delevingne, pictured here attending the Glamour Women Of The Year 2016 awards at NeueHouse Hollywood in Los Angeles on November 14, 2016, is one of the latest stars to make a claim of sexual harassment about Harvey Weinstein. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

New York police said on Thursday they had opened an investigation into allegations of a 2004 sexual assault by the hugely influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

It came as the organisers of the Oscars announced they would hold emergency talks on Saturday to consider their response to the crisis roiling Hollywood after Mr Weinstein was accused of predatory behaviour and a string of sexual assaults.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences described the allegations against the movie mogul as "repugnant".

A spokesman for the New York Police Department confirmed to Agence France-Presse it was investigating the 2004 case, but provided no details. New York state has no statute of limitations on most serious felonies, including rape.

The New York Daily News reported that the case involved aspiring actress Lucia Evans.

The New Yorker magazine reported on Tuesday that Ms Evans said Mr Weinstein had forced her to perform oral sex on him. The magazine quotes two other women as accusing him of rape.

In 2015, the New York police opened an investigation into a complaint by Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who said Mr Weinstein had sexually attacked her in a hotel room. Police asked her to make a secret recording, in which Mr Weinstein could be heard repeatedly insisting that she come into his room, which she refused to do.

But prosecutor Cyrus Vance said there was insufficient proof to pursue charges.

The slew of sleazy accusations has sent Hollywood actors, studios and directors scrambling to condemn the 65-year-old producer after a string of exposes revealed the full extent of how he forced himself on women, often young actresses trying to get a start in the film business.

Mr Weinstein has apologised for his actions but denied the most serious allegations, which include rape.

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Read more:

The Hollywood stars at the centre of the Weinstein allegations

Harvey Weinstein's downfall comes after decades of Hollywood silence over harassment

Hollywood mogul Weinstein fired after sex harassment claims

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Mr Weinstein has been fired by the company he founded, politicians are turning his donations over to charity and his name is being removed from future productions. At least one major British financier is reported to have demanded the return of a multimillion dollar investment from the Weinstein Company.

But the film industry must still come to terms with how such a prominent figure was able to abuse women for so long.

The Academy, which has awarded 81 Oscars to films produced by Mr Weinstein's Miramax studio and the Weinstein Company, said it would meet on Saturday to discuss any possible actions.

“The Academy finds the conduct described in the allegations against Harvey Weinstein to be repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the Academy and the creative community it represents,” the organisation said.

For his part, Mr Weinstein is believed to be seeking treatment for sex addiction at a rehab centre in Arizona.

"I gotta get help, guys,” he told members of the press when he was spotted in Los Angeles on Wednesday. “You know what, we all make mistakes. Second chance, I hope."

A string of A-list actresses, including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment or assault.

Cara Delevigne, who appeared in the 2012 adaptation of Anna Karenina and more recently in Suicide Squad, became the latest star to make a claim about Mr Weinstein on Tuesday, saying he tried to kiss her as she left a hotel room.

“I felt very powerless and scared,” she said in an Instagram post.

Rumours about Mr Weinstein’s behaviour around young women had circulated in Hollywood to the point where they even appeared as jokes in the hit television comedy 30 Rock and in the form of a recurring character in Entourage.

Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has always taken a tough stance on women’s rights and who condemned her then rival Donald Trump’s misogynistic behaviour during the election last year, was one of the Democratic politicians who received campaign donations from Mr Weinstein.

She told CNN on Wednesday she had no idea about Mr Weinstein’s behaviour.

"I was appalled. It was something that was just intolerable in every way," she said. "And, you know, like so many people who've come forward and spoken out, this was a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past."

She said she would pass his campaign donations — at least US$26,000 (Dh95,505) — to charity. More difficult for the party will be sifting through the more than $1 million he was responsible for “bundling” from dozens more donors and distributing to Democratic campaigns and causes.

US film producer Harvey Weinstein is pictured here with his wife, Georgina Chapman, at a screening of 'Hands of Stone' during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2016. Ms Chapman says she has left her husband following a string of sexual harassment and assault claims against him. Ian Langsdon / EPA
US film producer Harvey Weinstein is pictured here with his wife, Georgina Chapman, at a screening of 'Hands of Stone' during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2016. Ms Chapman says she has left her husband following a string of sexual harassment and assault claims against him. Ian Langsdon / EPA

Meanwhile, all around the world, cinema bodies and politicians are trying to remove any lasting references to Mr Weinstein.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts said it was suspending his membership and senior political figures are demanding that his appointment to CBE, one of the UK’s orders of chivalry, be reversed.