Los Angeles police investigate Harvey Weinstein sex assault allegation
Nyong'o, Tarantino open up about Hollywood mogul, as L.A. police investigate alleged 2013 incident
Los Angeles police say they are investigating a possible sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein — the first involving the producer in the city.
Police spokesperson Sal Ramirez said the department has interviewed a possible sexual assault victim who alleges that an incident occurred in 2013. He said he could not offer any other details about a continuing investigation.
Police in New York and London are also investigating Weinstein over allegations of sex abuse in those cities.
"Mr. Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but he unequivocally denies allegations of non-consensual sex," his representative, Sallie Hofmeister, wrote in a statement.
Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment or abuse by more than three dozen women, including several top actresses, among them Oscar-winners Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and, most recently, Lupita Nyong'o.
He was fired from The Weinstein Co., the film company he co-founded, earlier this week after several harassment allegations were detailed in the New York Times. Additional allegations, including from three women who said Weinstein sexually assaulted them, were included in a subsequent article by The New Yorker. Two of the women, including Italian actress Asia Argento, were named while the third accuser wasn't identified.
Argento told the magazine that in 1997 Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at a hotel in France when she was 21 years old.
The New York Police Department said last week it was investigating an allegation of sexual assault from 2004 against Weinstein.
The Los Angeles Times newspaper said Thursday that the allegation made to the LAPD came from an unnamed well-known Italian model and actress, who told police detectives that Weinstein raped her in a room at a Beverly Hills hotel after a film event in February 2013. The L.A. Times says the woman told them Weinstein grabbed her by the hair, "dragged me to the bathroom and forcibly raped me."
LAPD spokesperson Kevin Maiberger told Reuters he could not verify the details reported by the Los Angeles Times of the alleged victim or the incident, but also said an active investigation was underway.
Weinstein, 65, resigned from the board of directors of his former company earlier this week. He has not been seen in public since last week. The Oscar winner has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America has started the process of expelling him.
'A pivotal moment'
Nyong'o, who starred in and won an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, accused Weinstein of several incidents of harassment in an op-ed piece published by the New York Times on Thursday, including a 2011 incident when she was a drama student and the mogul tried to give her a massage at his Connecticut home. She refused, instead giving the mogul a massage and leaving when he said he wanted to take off his pants, she wrote.
"He was one of the first people I met in the industry, and he told me, 'This is the way it is.' And wherever I looked, everyone seemed to be bracing themselves and dealing with him, unchallenged," she shared in the Times.
"I hope we are in a pivotal moment where a sisterhood — and brotherhood of allies — is being formed in our industry. I hope we can form a community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed.
"Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing. I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence."
Quentin Tarantino, who has partnered with Weinstein on most of his films from Pulp Fiction to The Hateful Eight over the past 20 years, told the New York Times on Thursday that he "knew enough to do more than I did."
Tarantino had heard first-hand from his then girlfriend Mira Sorvino about Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment, and had known about the settlement reached with Rose McGowan, he told the paper. He'd also heard stories from another actress whom he declined to name.
He said it was impossible that anyone who was close to Weinstein had not heard about at least one incident. He also said he had continued to hear stories second- and third-hand.
"I chalked it up to a '50s-'60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk," Tarantino said. "As if that's OK. That's the egg on my face right now."
Tarantino went on to compare Hollywood's treatment of women to a "Jim Crow-like system that us males have almost tolerated."
He called on other men to "vow to do better by our sisters" and not just issue statements.
"What was previously accepted is now untenable to anyone of a certain consciousness," Tarantino said.
With files from Reuters and CBC News