In a story published online Friday in the Spectator, columnist Taki Theodoracopulos defended Weinstein, and described the Hollywood producer as a “friend.”
Theodoracopulos said he went to Weinstein’s office in New York City for the interview, and the fallen Hollywood honcho’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, joined them.
Weinstein was quoted in the column as admitting publicly for the first time that he traded sex for movie roles, although he said he never “forced” himself on anyone.
“You were born rich and privileged and you were handsome,” Theodoracopulos quoted Weinstein as telling him. “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.”
Shortly after the story was published and went viral, Brafman released a statement through publicist Juda S. Engelmayer saying Weinstein was misquoted.
“I was present for the conversation; it was not an interview, but a social meeting between old friends,” Brafman said. “Harvey and Taki did not discuss the case, nor would I allow him to. 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. You have my word that Harvey did not say that.”
Brafman’s publicist included a retraction from Theodoracopulos in the same email.
“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,” Theodoracopulos said. “It was my mistake. 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 Spectator column, Theodoracopulos said Weinstein reached out to him with a “world exclusive” about actresses Rose McGowan and Asia Argento. The two women have accused Weinstein of rape and sexual assault.
Theodoracopulos criticized the #MeToo movement in his column, and said he has “doubts about women who come out of the woodworks years later, or return for more after allegedly being raped by Weinstein, à la Argento.”
“This is a clear lie,” McGowan tweeted, along with a link to the column. “Nice try, rapist.”
Argento added on Twitter: “I understand now who is behind the horrifying trolling and bullying directed against me and @rosemcgowan. Weinstein, you fu–ing monster rapist, still trying to damage and hurt us. Not for long. You’ll go to jail.”
Weinstein is facing life in prison after being indicted in May on rape and sex abuse charges in New York City. He pleaded not guilty to each count.
Earlier this week, he pleaded not guilty to three additional charges.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.