In 1984, Harvey Weinstein was 32 years old and making one of his first real feature films, on location outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania. It was a comedy called “Playing for Keeps,” featuring a not-yet-famous Marisa Tomei, and the mood on set was anxious. Weinstein was foul-mouthed and domineering. He sparred routinely with his younger brother, Bob, his co-director. At one point, they wanted to shoot two versions of each scene because neither would compromise his vision.

One day, a young female crew member came to the office of lead producer Alan Brewer, an old high school friend of Harvey’s from Queens, and started crying.

Weinstein had asked her to come to his hotel room, ostensibly for work reasons, she told Brewer, but then kissed her. She resisted. Weinstein overpowered her. He forced her on the bed and attempted to perform oral sex on her. Eventually, she got him to stop.

Brewer asked if she wanted to file a police report. (Another crew member heard the woman’s account separately at the time, and corroborated Brewer’s memories.) No, she said, shaking. She wanted to keep the job – but she wanted the co-director to stay away from her.

Weinstein would go on to become the toast of Hollywood, building a mini-empire and a towering reputation as a cultural kingpin – and then it would all come crashing down with a series of damning stories over the past several days, by the New York Times and New Yorker, alleging years of harassment and criminal sexual abuse against women he encountered in his work as an A-list film producer. On Saturday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors voted to expel Weinstein from the academy, a major denunciation of someone who helped shape Oscar races for decades.


In interviews with 67 people currently or formerly in Weinstein’s orbit, The Washington Post found three previously unreported allegations of sexual or physical assault – and a striking pattern, going back to the dawn of his career, of ruthlessness and manipulation.

He was violent toward women and men, and his abuse came in many forms – from screaming and berating to character assassination and nonconsensual advances. His behavior was both an open secret and a secret ritual.

When presented with the accounts in this report, Weinstein’s representative Sallie Hofmeister reiterated previous statements: “Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of those relationships were consensual,” she said in an email. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”

Some, who have known and worked with him for years, are still trying to fathom the severity of the accusations.

“I’m sad, I’m disgusted,” said publicity executive Cindi Berger, who represented Weinstein’s films over the past two decades but says she never heard of any abusive sexual behavior. “I learned so much from Harvey. . . . When people say he was a modern-day Louis B. Mayer, he was.”

“Everyone knew these stories,” one Hollywood publicist said. “Not the specifics. But people knew it was a hostile work environment, and that he was a bully to people. Because he could win you an Oscar, we were all supposed to look the other way.” (Several sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly or who fear Weinstein’s wrath even now, spoke on the condition of anonymity.)

Brewer, Weinstein’s long-ago producer, is now 64 and living in Hermosa Beach, California. On Tuesday, when the New Yorker published a 2015 audio recording of Weinstein trying to lure a model into his hotel room, Brewer was stopped cold.

It took him back to the day before the “Playing for Keeps” premiere, in Miramax’s cramped Manhattan office. Weinstein, enraged that he had been out of pocket for a few hours, lunged at him and began punching him in the head, Brewer said; the skirmish tumbled into the corridor and then the elevator. By the time Brewer reached the street, intent on never associating with the Weinsteins again, he said, Harvey was pleading for him to stay and help ensure that their film got launched.

“Listening to the audiotape, it gave me this visceral reaction to my experience that day,” Brewer said by phone Thursday. “This alternating between violence, threats, commands and then begging, mock-crying, trying anything – any angle to get what he wanted.”

Through sheer force of ambition, Weinstein, now 65, transformed himself from a pudgy kid from Flushing, Queens, into a wealthy mogul who could bend reality to his will. He was a college dropout who turned multiplex audiences on to foreign films and quirky indies; a genius of promotion who persuaded Oscar voters to pick his lighthearted “Shakespeare in Love” over epic front-runner “Saving Private Ryan” as best picture in 1999.


He grew up an unathletic honors student sharing a room with his brother in a lower-middle-class housing development. At 15, Harvey started going to foreign films at art-house cinemas. He played cards on Saturday nights with other boys who couldn’t get dates. He had a “funny, whiny” voice, and was often bullied, according to former classmates, but he was persistent, sure of himself, an operator.

Once, he crashed a Simon and Garfunkel concert with a friend, knocking on doors to the box seats until someone let them in.

“He was supremely confident, and not worried about any repercussions,” the friend recalled. “It was like, ‘Eh, if they catch me, so what, I’ll do it again.’ ”


After attending the University of Buffalo, Weinstein went into business with his brother, first as concert promoters and later, in 1979, in a small film-distribution company that they dubbed Miramax – a fusion of their parents’ first names. Around that time, Lauri Githens was fresh out of college and working as a disc jockey. She remembered some unwritten rules of the Buffalo music scene in the early ’80s.

“Don’t mention the competition on the air. Don’t put two car ads in the same segment,” she said this past week. “And, if you’re a young woman, don’t be alone with Harvey Weinstein.”

His job then wasn’t to make movies but to discover them and get them into theaters. His forcefulness was a boon for independent and foreign films that lacked bankable names. He would be their star, their champion, deploying a brassy, fearless persona to conduct cutthroat negotiations and impassioned publicity campaigns.

“Playing for Keeps” flopped with critics, but Miramax rebounded by seeking out promising projects, buying their rights and packaging them as must-sees for the masses. Miramax distributed the debut features of Steven Soderbergh in 1989 and Quentin Tarantino in 1992.

By the time “Pulp Fiction” exploded a few years later, Miramax had expanded into development and production, and its logo symbolized the vanguard of edgy, independent cinema.

All the while, Weinstein was on the prowl.

In 1993, Washington arts patron Kay Kendall met Weinstein at the home of the novelist William Styron on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. She told the producer – fresh off a sensational marketing campaign for “The Crying Game” – that her 23-year-old daughter Katherine was an aspiring actress. Weinstein offered to help her career.

Within a week, Katherine Kendall had a meeting at Weinstein’s New York office. He invited her to his apartment, where she said he took off his clothes and asked for a massage. Horrified, she said that she made up a story about meeting her boyfriend and tried to leave, but Weinstein insisted that he go with her.

“Harvey has a bargaining quality, a back-and-forth bullying that makes you just go ‘OK,’ ” she explained. She jumped out of their taxi blocks later and ran inside a bar, begging the bartender to pretend that he was her boyfriend.

Weinstein sat in the cab, watching.

Katherine Kendall didn’t tell anyone in a position of authority. “There were no cuts or bruises, so what recourse did I have?” she said. “So I thought immediately: ‘I better shut up. No one is going to care.’ ”

Show business is known for its comically unbalanced ratio of supply and demand: Hordes of young, aspiring actors and filmmakers scrap over every grunt-level Hollywood position for a toehold in the industry, hopefuls will endure bad parts, low pay, long hours and a level of mistreatment that might not stand in other professions.

Several people interviewed by The Post said that a desire to keep working in the business would prompt many of their colleagues to stay silent about any mistreatment they experienced. And that Weinstein’s immense talent and vast power allowed him to keep going.


As difficult as Weinstein was in private, in public he presented himself as a champion of liberal political campaigns and overlooked causes and he was seemingly everywhere:

White House state dinners, fundraisers alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, the premiere of “Shakespeare in Love” with Hillary Clinton on his arm.

He called her “the first lady of all our hearts,” the New York Times reported at the time.

She called Weinstein “my friend Harvey.”

His personal giving was dwarfed by that of many other showbiz moguls – only $1.8 million since 1979. But when President Bill Clinton sought help for his legal-defense fund during the Monica Lewinsky saga, Weinstein cut a $10,000 check.

“It would be almost impossible not to go to something that he convened over the years; he just did so much,” said longtime Clinton donor Alan Patricof. “I did a lot of fundraising for the Clintons over the years, but I was throwing pancake breakfasts. His were not pancake breakfasts.”

On Oct. 5, as the first allegations of sexual harassment broke in the New York Times, Weinstein issued to the paper a rambling statement of apology that seemed crafted to remind readers of his liberal bona fides, joking about his wish to give President Trump “a retirement party” and vowing atonement through political work.

“I’m going to give the National Rifle Association my full attention,” Weinstein wrote, adding that he would establish a $5 million scholarship foundation at the University of Southern California for women directors.

“It will be named after my mom,” he wrote, “and I won’t disappoint her.”