The film producer’s sexual advances caught on audio
AFTER the New York Times published a bombshell investigative story about the sexual misconduct committed by renowned Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, more details are beginning to emerge with more victims sharing their own stories.
Since the story broke last Thursday, October 5, it became publicly known for the first time that for three decades, Weinstein — who has since been fired from his company, The Weinstein Company — reportedly had multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations against him from a slew of actresses and colleagues; he had reached at least eight settlements.
Among the stories surfacing this week includes one from Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez who accused Weinstein of sexual assault, a story that broke on the morning of Tuesday, October 10 by The New Yorker.
Gutierrez, 24, was a finalist in the Miss Italy contest in 2015 when she met Weinstein at a reception for “New York Spring Spectacular”, a show he was producing at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
After the event, Weinstein emailed Gutierrez’s agent to set up a business meeting at his office in Tribeca. She sat with him in his office and, while reviewing her modeling portfolio, Weinstein reportedly stared at her breasts and asked if they were real. He then “lunged” at the young model and groped her breasts and attempted to put his hand up her skirt as she protested.
He backed off and invited her to see the Broadway musical he was producing, “Finding Neverland” with him. Instead of going to the show, Gutierrez visited the New York Police Department to report the assault. While sitting with investigators from the Special Victims Division, Weinstein called her and demanded to know why she didn’t come to the show.
With the help of investigators, she agreed to meet with Weinstein the next day at the bar of the Tribeca Grand Hotel where she would wear a wire and be guided by undercover officers.
After meeting with him at the bar, Gutierrez was invited to join Weinstein in his hotel room and watch him shower. She repeatedly refused, but Weinstein persisted. When they reach the hallway outside his room, a tense exchange ensues which was recorded.
She repeatedly said, “I don’t want to,” “I want to leave” and “I want to go downstairs,” before asking him directly why he had groped her the previous day.
“Oh, please, I’m sorry just come on in,” Weinstein replied, as heard in the audio recording. “I’m used to that.”
“You’re used to that?” Gutierrez asked, sounding horrified.
“Yes,” he replied. “I won’t do it again.”
If Weinstein would have been charged, the producer would have faced a count of sexual abuse in the third degree, an offense punishable by three months in jail.
But the police investigation was hindered as details of Gutierrez’s life began to surface in tabloids, including associations with controversial former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his notorious “bunga bunga” sex parties, according to The New Yorker report. She also made an allegation of sexual assault against an Italian businessman as a teenager, but refused to cooperate with prosecutors.
Two sources involved in the 2015 police investigation on Weinstein told The New Yorker that there was no reason to doubt the young model’s account, and that there was enough evidence to prosecute the high-profile film producer.
But the tabloid stories of Gutierrez’s life complicated the case for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, who later dropped the criminal charges. Since then, Gutierrez has been prohibited from discussing the incident with reporters due to a tightly-written nondisclosure agreement she signed with Weinstein’s lawyers, including an affidavit that stated that the events recorded on audio never happened. She also received an undisclosed payment.
Days after the Times’ initial report, the Manhattan DA defended their decision not to prosecute Weinstein. Chief Assistant DA Karen Friedman-Agnifilo told the NY Post that the recorded meeting between Gutierrez and Weinstein was done so “without our knowledge or input.”
“The seasoned prosecutors in our Sex Crimes Unit were not afforded the opportunity before the meeting to counsel investigators on what was necessary to capture in order to prove a misdemeanor sex crime,” she said. “While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent.”
“Mr. Weinstein’s pattern of mistreating women, as recounted in recent reports, is disgraceful and shocks the conscience,” she continued, adding that she urges all victims of sexual assault and misconduct to contact their local DA’s sex crimes hotline.
Other actresses that have come forward with their own stories include Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, among many others.