As more and more women continue to step forward and accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment, years-old comments about the producer have also taken on new meaning. For example, a 1998 interview in which Gwyneth Paltrow and David Letterman talk about Weinstein now seems more sinister when watched with the knowledge that Paltrow has since said she too was harassed by the producer in the 1990s.
The interview, which resurfaced thanks to Death and Taxes, took place on November 25, 1998, the day before Thanksgiving. After the then-26-year-old Paltrow joked that it wasn’t her choice to delay her family’s holiday celebrations by participating in the interview, Letterman asked if she was in his studio of her “own free will.” “Do you count Harvey Weinstein as a coercer?” Paltrow asked with a laugh.
Letterman then quipped about Weinstein’s past. “He used to be some kind of junior mob kind of guy. He was, like, in the mob auxiliary,” he said, to which Paltrow replied, “I do all my movies for Harvey Weinstein—that’s Miramax for all of you,” she explained to the audience. “And I’m lucky to do them there, but he will coerce you into doing a thing or two.” When Letterman asked, “In return, what will Harvey do for you?” Paltrow paused before saying, “Nothing,” and laughing.
There’s no way to know exactly what her comments were referring to, of course, but given this week’s growing list of bombshells, her words are especially telling.
On Tuesday, a few days after The New York Times published its initial explosive report about Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse accusations, the newspaper released another article in which Paltrow, among others, opened up about her own harrowing experience with the Hollywood mogul. She told the paper that, shortly after being hired by Weinstein to play the lead in Miramax’s Emma adaptation when she was 22, he invited her to his hotel suite for a “work meeting.”
Once there, he reportedly placed his hands on her and suggested they move to the bedroom for massages. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” Paltrow said, adding that she was luckily able to refuse his advances and escape the hotel room. “I thought he was going to fire me.” (In a statement previously provided to CNN, Weinstein’s spokesperson said, “Any allegations of non consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”)
Paltrow added that after she told her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt, her agent, and several friends and family members about the incident, “[Weinstein] screamed at me for a long time. It was brutal.” Paltrow was able to maintain a strong professional relationship with Weinstein, and won her Best Actress Oscar in 1999 for Shakespeare in Love, which was produced by his company. As she became known as the “First Lady of Miramax,” Paltrow said to The New York Times, “I was expected to keep the secret.” But no longer: “We’re at a point in time when women need to send a clear message that this is over,” Paltrow, now 45, said. “This way of treating women ends now.”
Weinstein has since been fired from his company and is reportedly set to attend sexual addiction rehab.