Disgraced studio head Harvey Weinstein and his attorney Ben Brafman have already refuted an interview Weinstein conducted with personal friend/Greek shipping heir/The Spectator columnist Taki Theodoracopulos, published this morning. The Spectator bills the interview as “a world exclusive,” obtained when Weinstein reached out to Taki (who goes by his first name) to share damaging information on accusers Rose McGowan and Asia Argento, and in it, the embattled producer—who stands accused of rape, assault, or misconduct by dozens of women—admitted to trading film roles in exchange for sexual favors from actresses. Taki quotes Weinstein as saying:
“You were born rich and privileged and you were handsome. I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get somewhere. You got lotsa girls, no girl looked at me until I made it big in Hollywood. Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone. But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman.”
But just hours after the interview’s publication, Brafman told TMZ that Weinstein and Taki never even discussed the multiple sex crime charges Weinstein faces—because Brafman, who claims he was in the room when the interview happened, wouldn’t allow it.
“Harvey and Taki [the reporter] did not discuss the case, nor would I allow him to,” Brafman told TMZ. “They talked about old Hollywood and the contrast to European culture and I think Taki sees Harvey in that older light. Mr. Weinstein never said anything about trading movie roles for sexual favors.”
In a still more bizarre twist, TMZ reports that Weinstein’s people reached out to Taki, an odious figure in his own right, who apparently admitted the story was erroneous. “I believe that I may have misrepresented Harvey Weinstein’s conversation with me,” Taki said in a statement. “It was my mistake.” He gave a more elaborate explanation to the Hollywood Reporter, referring to their interview as “a social visit.”
“After 41 years as a Spectator columnist without a single retraction, I believe that I may have misrepresented Harvey Weinstein’s conversation with me in New York last month,” Taki said in his statement. “We were discussing Hollywood and I may have misunderstood certain things about the methods of that place. I had nothing to do with the headline of my article and I hope I have not damaged his case. It was, after all, a social visit.”
In his published piece, Taki goes on to wax nostalgic about occasions when, he implies, he witnessed Weinstein offer to trade movie roles for sex as if this were a charming quirk, rather than the behavior of an alleged serial predator:
Call me naïve or stupid, but in a funny way I believe him. I’ve seen Harvey in action during my annual Christmas party, the one I throw every year in New York with Michael Mailer. He hits on every young woman but in a naïve way. “Will you give me your address and I’ll make you a star,” is the theme of the pickup. Some say yes, some say no. His reaction was always the same. Smile and laugh and hit on the next one.
Was the admission that Weinstein propositioned actresses for sex indeed a misstep on Taki’s behalf, as he claims, or is this an instance of Weinstein’s lawyer trying to clean up a mess after the fact? You can read the interview that set off this whole strange saga here.