Harvey Weinstein is speaking publicly after news broke Thursday alleging decades of sexual harassment by the studio head.
In an interview with DailyMail.com Weinstein was apologetic, saying “I own my mistakes” and that “I have had tough conversations with my family, really tough ones but my family is standing with me.”
Weinstein also said that he must “earn the forgiveness” of actress Ashley Judd, who has accused the 65-year-old Weinstein Company chief of indecent proposals during a film shoot 20 years ago.
“I have a journey and I have to prove to every person that’s out there that I’m worthy of them and I have to prove to my family the same thing,” Weinstein added.
In a separate interview with the New York Post, Weinstein admitted he “bears responsibility,” and that “in the past I used to compliment people, and some took it as me being sexual, I won’t do that again. I admit to a whole way of behaviour that is not good. I can’t talk specifics, but I put myself in positions that were stupid, I want to respect women and do things better.”
That said, Weinstein has also hired a lawyer to sue the New York Times, which originally reported the story of the allegations, for $50 million.
Asked how the suit squares with his admission of responsibility, Weinstein said it came down to reporting methods. “What I am saying is that I bear responsibility for my actions, but the reason I am suing is because of the Times’ inability to be honest with me, and their reckless reporting,” he said. “They told me lies. They made assumptions.”
“The Times had a deal with us that they would tell us about the people they had on the record in the story, so we could respond appropriately, but they didn’t live up to the bargain,” he explained, adding, “The Times editors were so fearful they were going to be scooped by New York Magazine and they would lose the story, that they went ahead and posted the story filled with reckless reporting, and without checking all they had with me and my team.”
Weinstein is serious about his claims against the NYT, saying, “This is a vendetta, and the next time I see [NYT executive editor] Dean Baquet it will be across a courtroom.”
Regarding the reports that he has made several settlements with women, including actress Rose McGowan and Weinstein Company employee Lauren O’Conner, Weinstein said, “No company ever talks about settlements, and neither does the recipient, so I don’t know how the Times came to this conclusion, but it is pure conjecture, the reporters have made assumptions.”
Addressing Judd’s allegations again, Weinstein added, “I know Ashley Judd is going through a tough time right now, I read her book [her memoir ‘All That Is Bitter and Sweet’], in which she talks about being the victim of sexual abuse and depression as a child. Her life story was brutal, and I have to respect her. In a year from now I am going to reach out to her.”