From the New York Times:
The producer Harvey Weinstein relied on powerful relationships across industries to provide him with cover as accusations of sexual misconduct piled up for decades.
By MEGAN TWOHEY, JODI KANTOR, SUSAN DOMINUS, JIM RUTENBERG and STEVE EDER DEC. 5, 2017
… A master of leverage, Mr. Weinstein parlayed his films into relationships across the worlds of entertainment, politics, publishing and beyond, achieving a stature that at times proved useful in intimidating others and protecting himself. “I know the president of the United States. Who do you know?” Mr. Weinstein, a Democratic fund-raiser, would say during the years Barack Obama was in the White House, adding expletives. “I’m Harvey Weinstein,” he used to say. “You know what I can do.”
In late September, emails show, he was discussing a documentary television show he was working on with Hillary Clinton. He had long raised campaign cash for her, and her feminist credentials helped burnish his image — even though Tina Brown, the magazine editor, and Lena Dunham, the writer and actress, each say they had cautioned Mrs. Clinton’s aides about his treatment of women. Now, Mr. Weinstein exchanged questions about distribution rights for the show. “I am hopeful we can get a good price for this,” Robert Barnett, Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer, replied.
… The Celebrity Shield
If Mr. Weinstein built his wall of invulnerability from many varied bricks, it was covered with a sheen of celebrity. He created stars through his movies, but he also acquired famous friends through his other activities, including in the Democratic politics that dominate Hollywood.
Chief among them were Bill and Hillary Clinton. Over the years, Mr. Weinstein provided them with campaign cash and Hollywood star power, inviting Mrs. Clinton to glittery premieres and offering to send her films. After Mr. Clinton faced impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he donated $10,000 to Mr. Clinton’s legal defense fund. Mr. Weinstein was a fund-raiser and informal adviser during Mrs. Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, a guest in her hotel suite when she won and a host of an A-list victory party. He was an early backer of both her presidential bids.
Mr. Weinstein’s political activity — he provided consistent support for Mr. Obama as well — boosted his image as a man with friends in high places and close ties to the country’s leading female politician. It is not clear if rumors of his record of sexual misconduct had ever reached them.
But two prominent women said they warned Mrs. Clinton’s team. In 2016, Lena Dunham, the writer and actress, said she was troubled by the producer’s visible presence during Mrs. Clinton’s presidential run, hosting fund-raisers and appearing at campaign events. … So in March last year, Ms. Dunham, a vocal Clinton supporter, said she warned the campaign.
“I just want you to let you know that Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point,” Ms. Dunham said she told Kristina Schake, the campaign’s deputy communications director. She recalled adding, “I think it’s a really bad idea for him to host fund-raisers and be involved because it’s an open secret in Hollywood that he has a problem with sexual assault.”
An anonymous commenter asks: “Is Lena Dunham an NY Times correspondent-at-large? How else does she get a favorable story about herself on the flimsiest pretext of “I knew this would happen, I had a feeling”? Alarming to note, the troubling silence from Greg Packer on H’wood sex crime.”
Apparently, Lena is considered the Most Interesting Woman in the World for reasons that escape me. Her only competitor is Hillary.
Earlier, during the 2008 presidential race, Tina Brown, the magazine editor, said she cautioned a member of Mrs. Clinton’s inner circle about him. “I was hearing that Harvey’s sleaziness with women had escalated since I left Talk in 2002 and she was unwise to be so closely associated with him,” Ms. Brown said in an email.
Ms. Dunham said that Ms. Schake seemed surprised at her warning, and that Ms. Schake said she would tell Robby Mook, the campaign manager, Ms. Dunham recalled in an interview.
With the Democratic National Convention approaching in summer 2016, Ms. Dunham said she also warned Adrienne Elrod, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton who was leading efforts with celebrity campaigners. As far as Ms. Dunham could tell, the campaign had not responded to her concerns about Mr. Weinstein. Weeks before Election Day, the producer helped organize a star-packed fund-raiser: an evening on Broadway with Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway and others. …
While Ms. Dunham says she has “an incredible allegiance to Hillary,” and does not believe the reports ever traveled to Mrs. Clinton, she remains troubled by what had happened. “A year and a half ago, on one of the most progressive campaigns in history, this wasn’t a problem,” she said, referring to the allegations about Mr. Weinstein. …
Days after Mrs. Clinton’s election loss, the Clintons had dinner with Mr. Weinstein, Mr. Boies, the lawyer, and their wives at Rao’s restaurant in Harlem, Manhattan.
Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Weinstein began planning a documentary TV show about her campaign. Discussions about the project stretched out for months with her lawyer, Robert Barnett, who emailed with Mr. Weinstein on Sept. 28 about potential European buyers.
In a statement, Mr. Barnett said that “talks were ongoing until the allegations surfaced, at which point all discussions ceased — completely and permanently.”
If Hillary had been elected, Weinstein would be at this moment chasing starlets around the Lincoln Bedroom.
On the other hand, maybe Obama really knew nothing: he sent his daughter to intern under Harvey. You might think that if you are President, you’d have access to a lot of information. But Obama generally gave the impression he didn’t want to know. Look at how he played his 333 rounds of golf with absolute nobodies like his ski bum body man Marvin Nicholson. And he played dozens of rounds with, hilariously, Marvin’s brother.