According to US media reports on Tuesday, the web of abuse and victim-silencing surrounding Harvey Weinstein has now ensnared his brother and business partner, Bob Weinstein.
The Weinstein brothers founded powerhouse production company Miramax together in 1979, and continued to operate the company with a great deal of freedom even after it was acquired by Disney in 1993. The brothers left the firm and founded the Weinstein Company together in 2005.
After initially escaping the media scrutiny relatively unscathed, an explosive new report from the New Yorker alleges that Bob paid for several large settlements to his brother's victims in order to hide Harvey's behavior for decades.
The New Yorker reported on several instances of large pay-outs from Bob Weinstein's personal bank account, including a 250,000 pound ($330,000) settlement that was split between two female employees in England who accused Harvey Weinstein of assault in the 1990s.
"The funds came from Bob Weinstein's personal bank account—a move that helped conceal the payment from executives at Miramax and its parent company, Disney, as well as from Harvey Weinstein's spouse," the magazine wrote.
Bob Weinstein: Harvey misled me
Bob Weinstein acknowledged that he had compensated several victims, but claimed that his brother had misrepresented his conduct.
"Regarding that payment, I only know what Harvey told me, and basically what he said was he was fooling around with two women and they were asking for money," he told the New Yorker. "And he didn't want his wife to find out."
However, as one former Miramax executive pointed out, it doesn't make any sense that Bob Weinstein would not have known the true story of the allegations – as they were disclosed to the company.
The report also detailed how Harvey Weinstein used intimidation, high-profile lawyers and non-disclosure agreements to intimidate his victims into silence.
One victim, Zelda Perkins – a former assistant who received a pay-out from Bob Weinstein and signed a non-disclosure agreement 20 years ago – said she was even contractually obligated to try and silence anyone around her who might try to tell the public what she had been through and heard from other women who had been assaulted by Weinstein.
Another victim, the Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, said she was pressured into signing a settlement that was extensive and dense despite her very limited English.