THE Harvey Weinstein story is a deeply depressing one — and the final act is yet to play. It is not until next January that the man for whom the title “movie mogul” seems to have been invented will face trial on multiple charges.
The story, broken a couple of years ago in the New York press, has now been told in forensic detail in Untouchable: The rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein (BBC2, Sunday).
The brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein created Miramax in 1979, naming their company in honour of parents Miriam and Max. Independent until it was bought out by Disney, Miramax was highly successful, releasing blockbusters such as Sex, Lies and Videotapes, Pulp Fiction, and Shakespeare in Love.
The brothers were ruthlessly ambitious. But the sleaze was always there, too. Hope D’Amore worked for Mr Weinstein when he was a concert promoter in Buffalo, New York, 40 years ago. She recalled sharing a hotel room with him, supposedly because of a mix-up over the booking, and that Mr Weinstein said that he would sleep in the chair, but climbed into bed and raped her.
“I said no, and I pushed him away, more than once. Then I just stopped,” she said. She thought if she just shut up, it would be over in a few minutes. Afterwards, she went home to Buffalo and told no one, aware that Mr Weinstein “owned” the local police.
Ms D’Amore was the first of the eight women with chillingly similar stories. What was striking was the bleakness of her expression; the pain and fear is etched deep into her face.
The other stories were just as harrowing: Weinstein had an ugly habit of setting up one-to-one meetings in his hotel room, promising aspiring actresses that he could help their careers. He would ask for a massage; sometimes he went into the bathroom only to emerge naked. Each woman spoke of her shock, and her fear of reprisals if she resisted.
The accounts, and the culture that could allow his behaviour to go unchallenged, paint an ugly picture. Colleagues turned a blind eye, we were told. His brother claims to have had “no idea”; surprising, given the payoffs and non-disclosure agreements negotiated over the decades. Mr Weinstein denies any non-consensual sex.
Grim viewing, perhaps, but important, surely, that collusion and abuse are put under the spotlight and exposed for what they are.
For light relief, what better tonic than a little light cake-making? Yes, The Great British Bake Off is back (Channel 4, Tuesdays), returning for its tenth year with a twist: there are 13 bakers, not 12; so at some point not one, but two, will be sent home. Apart from that, it is all comfortably silly. A diverse cast is assembled and set to work. Even a week in, the baker packing his bags (Dan: earrings and tattoos) is swearing undying friendship with his fellow-contestants. It can only get worse.